In my last post, we continued to explore the ministry of Elisha by looking at 2 Kings 5:1-10, where we learned about Na’aman who both Needed and Sought the Lord. In this post, we continue with Na’aman as he first Resists and Then Trusts the Lord in 2 Kings 5:11-15.
“11 But Na‘aman became angry and left, saying, “Here now! I thought for certain that he would come out personally, that he would stand, call on the name of Adonai his God and wave his hand over the diseased place and thus heal the person with tzara‘at. 12 Aren’t Amanah and Parpar, the rivers of Dammesek, better than all the water in Isra’el? Why can’t I bathe in them and be clean?” So he turned and went off in a rage. 13 But his servants approached him and said, “My father! If the prophet had asked you to do something really difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So, doesn’t it make even more sense to do what he says, when it’s only, ‘Bathe, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Yarden, as the man of God had said to do; and his skin was restored and became like the skin of a child, and he became clean.
15 Then, with his whole retinue, he returned to the man of God, went and stood before him, and said, “Well, I’ve learned that there is no God in all the earth except in Isra’el; therefore, please accept a present from your servant.” ~ 2 Kings 5:11-15 (CJB)
Resisting the Lord
If Na‘aman began his journey at Dammesek, then he had traveled over one hundred miles to get to Samaria, so another thirty miles or so shouldn’t have upset him. However, it did, for the great general became angry. The fundamental cause of his anger was pride. He had already decided in his own mind just how the prophet would heal him, but God did not work that way. Before sinners can receive God’s grace, they must submit to God’s will, as Scripture says: “The scornful He scorns,but gives grace to the humble.” ~ Proverbs 3:34 (CJB)
The Lord had already been working on Na‘aman’s pride, and there was more to come. King Yoram was not able to heal him, the prophet did not come to court or even come out to greet him, and he had to dip in the dirty Yarden River, not once, but seven times. Moreover, he a great general and second in command over the nation of Syria! People want to be saved from their sins by participating in a religious ritual, joining a church, giving money to the church, reforming their lives, doing good works, and a host of other substitutes for putting faith in Yeshua. “He delivered us. It was not on the ground of any righteous deeds we had done, but on the ground of his own mercy. He did it by means of the mikveh  of rebirth and the renewal brought about by the Ruach HaKodesh.” ~ Titus 3:5 (CJB)
Na‘aman had another problem: he preferred the rivers back in Dammesek to the muddy Yarden River. He thought his healing would come from the water, so it was logical that the better the water, the better the healing. He would rather have his way and travel over a hundred miles than obey God’s way and go thirty-two miles! He was so close to salvation and yet so far away!
Trusting the Lord
Once again, the Lord used servants to accomplish His purposes (vv. 2-3). If Na‘aman would not listen to the command of the prophet, perhaps he would heed the counsel of his servants. Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. ~ Isaiah 1: 18a (ESV). Elisha did not ask him to do something difficult or impossible, because that would only have increased his pride. He asked him to obey a simple command and perform a humbling act, and it was unreasonable not to submit. Faith that doesn’t lead to obedience is not faith at all.
When he came up from the water the seventh time, his leprosy was gone. His flesh was like that of a little child. By his obedience, he demonstrated his faith in God’s promise, and the Lord cleansed him of his leprosy. Na‘aman gave a clear public testimony that the Lord God of Israel was the only true and living God and was the God of all the earth. He renounced the false gods and idols of Syria and identified himself with Adonai. What an indictment this testimony was against the idol-worshiping king and people of Israel!
In my next post, we continue to explore the life of Elisha. In this post, we continue with our look at Na’aman in 2 Kings 5:15-19 as he Serves the Lord.
 Bath or pool with a flow of fresh water; used in Orthodox Judaism to this day for ritual purification. CJB.
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