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READING: 2 Kings 5 – Naaman, the Leper 


Naaman was the commander of the Syrian Army, but he was a leper. His wife had a young Israelite servant girl who said, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went to his king and told him what the servant girl said; the king agreed he should go to Samaria, and he would write a letter to the Israelite king, which said, “I sent you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 

When the king of Israel read this, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy Justsee how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” 

When Elisha, the prophet of God the girl had spoken of, heard the king had torn his clothes, he sent a message to him saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”  

So Naaman went to Elisha’s home with his chariots and horses. Elisha sent a message out that Naaman should go dip in the Jordan River seven times, and he would be healed. Naaman turned away, saying, “I thought that for me he would come out and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!” He also complained that the rivers of Damascus were cleaner than the Jordan. He left in a rage. 

His servant spoke with him, “If the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more when all he said to you was, ‘Wash and be clean?’” So, he went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times as Elisha commanded, and he was cured; his flesh restored “like the flesh of a young boy.” 

Then he returned to Elisha’s home where he said, “I know there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” He offered Elisha presents of gold, silver, and rich clothing, but Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, I will accept nothing.” 

Naaman then asked if he could have two mule-loads of Israel’s soil, “For your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the LORD.” He did ask to be excused if his king went to worship Rimmon leaning on Naaman’s arm, may the LORD pardon this. 

Naaman was a changed man. He had become a Gentile servant of the LORD. His servant wisely said, “If he had said to do some difficult thing, you would have done it.” 

Why not do this simple thing? 

Many balk at being baptized, saying they want to be saved by faith alone. Why refuse the Lord’s command to follow a penitent faith with baptism? 

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PRAY FOR YOURSELF   

Father, I love the story of Naaman the Leper, something even Jesus referred to when He was in the synagogue in Nazareth. This shows You never intended Gentiles to be as excluded as many of the Jews thought they should be. In the new covenant, Father, you have opened the door wide to bring Gentiles in. That is good, but I would like to see more Hebrews come into Your Son’s kingdom. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name, AMEN! 

MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)      

Father, God, again I pray that each who reads this will think about Naaman and the lessons we can learn from him. Though a proud man, he humbled himself through the counsel of a mere servant. He also learned there is a real God in Israel, and that other gods are shams. He wanted to worship You and You alone, but he begged permission to go with his king to the house of Rimmon when his king leaned on his arm. I am confident you did not count that against him. I see your hand of mercy in this entire event. So, this is my prayer, for all who read this and for myself, in the Holy Name of Jesus, AMEN! 

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