"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." (II Kings 5:1)
Naaman was an honourable general in the Syrian army in Old Testament times, who despite his valour and might, had one problem that overshadowed his greatness, leprosy. He is like many accomplished and gifted people today who yet are infected with mankind's disfiguring spiritual problem called sin.
"Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy." (Verse 3b)
These are the words of a little maid who was taken captive out of Israel. Her meaning was obvious since she directed them to a prophet. Israel’s God could do anything, including healing leprosy. They needed to talk to the man of God.
“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 10 talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and 10 changes of raiment.” (Verse 5)
When Naaman’s boss, the Syrian king heard, he got the message a bit mixed up. He sent for help to Israel’s king instead of Israel’s prophet. We live in a day when it is common for people to make the mistake that the government or money can solve all our problems.
“So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.” (Verse 9)
When Naaman finally got directed to the prophet’s door, he thought he would make an entrance. But Elisha simply wrote him out God’s prescription.
“And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, ‘Go and wash in Jordan seven times.’” (II Kings 5:10a)
Naaman may have been a big man on campus in Syria, but before the God of Israel he was an unclean leper and the only hope was Israel’s River Jordan.
“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.’” (Verse 11)
He was used to a little more respect from the clergy of Damascus and preferred their hocus pocus to this simple, truthful, humbling message.
“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.” (Verse 12)
He was like a lot of people today who are offended at the message of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ and go away mad to try their own self-cleanup programs.
But through the patient reasoning of some servants, Naaman changed his mind.
“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.” (Verse 14)
This is a wonderful physical outward picture of the new life that comes to the one who trusts Christ called the new birth. You, too, can have a brand new heart from the Lord.