The ministry of Elisha to Naaman the Syrian. 2 Kings 5:1-19
Discovering the key event in the account of Naaman’s meeting with Elisha, the prophet of God.
The character of Elisha was testified to through his ministry unto the Lord in directing Naaman in simple belief in the power of God. We also learn through this account about the power of God over the unbelievers as well as believers. God gave the victory to Syria over the armies of Israel and he exalted Naaman as the commander of the Syrians in the victory.
We should note –
I. The triumph of Syria. Israel had been in a standoff with Syria.
Armed conflict often occurred due to the long standing tension between the countries.
A. King Ahab’s desire
1 Kings 22:1,2 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel. …And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
Be aware and learn the lesson that bitterness will seek conflict and reject the wise counsel of God through His Word –
B. King Ahab’s determination, even though warned of God.
1 Kings 22:17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
C. King Ahab’s death. Another proof that pride goeth before destruction –
1 Kings 22:34-38 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot. And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
We turn now to the situation of the captain of the forces that oppressed Israel, Naaman. Notice –
II. The Trial of Naaman, captain of the host of Syria.
2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
This great, honourable, mighty, valiant man had no close contact, no physical interactions, no comfort, and up to this time, no hope of a cure. We learn then why the Syrians were so excited at the prospect of healing!
III. The troubled King of Israel.
The following account gives us an idea of the expectations of the King of Syria and Naaman.
2 Kings 5:4-8 …And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me. And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
The northern tribes had rejected the Lord. They were apostate, worshipping the gods of other nations and had turned their backs on Jehovah. At this time the Lord was judging the nation through His prophets and those nations surrounding them. God’s plan led to one purpose, “…and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” There is only one God and He has a prophet in Israel! He was reminding Israel and the nations that He is in control.
IV. The trial of Naaman. 2 Kings 5:9-19
A. His supplication.
2 Kings 5:9-10 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
B. His surprise. Notice his expectations from his reaction –
2 Kings 5:11-12 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
Before God and His Prophet, Naaman’s position, power, prestige, and presents meant nothing! God has the highest position, God has all power, God is exalted above all creation, God owns all things. Naaman’s value is found in the grace of God, not in the things of man!
C. His submission 2 Kings 5:13-16
2 Kings 5:13-16 And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel:
In all of this the character of Elisha is revealed. He serves the Lord in simplicity determining that all glory is directed to the Lord who alone deserves it. He also teaches us that the world holds no reward for the service of the man of God.
…..now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.
The King of Syria could not purchase the blessings of God! God’s blessings are not for sale!
2 Kings 5:5 And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
We must notice a most important lesson comes from the testimony given, that without which, none of these events involving kings, nations, armies, would have happened.
V The Testimony of the Maid of Israel. 2 Kings 5:1-4
2 Kings 5:1-4 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress,
Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.
This young captive servant trusted the Lord and remained –
A. Faithful in her service.
B. Faithful in her witness.
C. Faithful to her God despite her circumstances.
Only the Lord knows what events will take place because of your testimony!
Whatever our circumstances, will we be faithful witnesses for the Lord. Will you believe and testify that He is the answer to man’s need – salvation and life everlasting.