An Instrument For Healing
Sickness can come to all people, including important people, as you can read in II Kings 5:1
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
However, a young girl in his household has the answer to his problem: Naaman should visit the prophet in Samaria, as you can read in II Kings 5:2-3
Now bands of Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
No doubt Naaman will already have been to every doctor in the land, but to no avail. All the medicine he has received up till this moment will only have made him worse rather than better. Very likely, that is why he decides to listen to this young girl’s advice. I doubt that he would have listened to her at any other time. In fact, he may not even have known of her existence in his household. But times are not normal for he is a very sick man and he knows it. Now Naaman has a very close relationship with his king so he goes to him and explains to him what the young girl in his household has suggested he should do. The king is only too pleased to do whatever he can to prepare the way for Naaman to be received with favour in Israel but he goes about it in the way that kings do by writing a letter to the king of Israel. After all, kings communicate with kings and not with ordinary people such as prophets, as you can read in II Kings 5:4-5
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, ten thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing.
And so Naaman sets off on his journey to meet with the king of Israel. However, God has not prepared the king of Israel to be His instrument of healing for Naaman. He has chosen the prophet to be that instrument, just as the young girl has said. Consequently, the king becomes very confused when he reads the letter of the king of Aram for God has not told him about his plans for Naaman, as you can read in II Kings 5:6-7
The letter that he took to the king of Israel read, “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you that you may cure him of his leprosy.” As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
Thankfully, someone does know what God intends to do for this important soldier of Aram, and his name is Elisha, the prophet. As soon as he hears about the distress of the king, he sends a message to him telling the king to have Naaman come to him instead. Very relieved, the king sends Naaman on his way to the true man of God, Elisha. Let him deal with this very sick person. Perhaps he can do something for him, as you can read in II Kings 5:8
When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message, “Why have you torn your robes? Make the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.”
As instructed by the king, Naaman travels down to Elisha’s home, expecting a special welcome from the prophet. No doubt, the prophet will meet him the moment he arrives and will perform his special brand of magic to bring about his healing. However, that does not happen. In fact, when Naaman arrives at the door of Elisha’s home Elisha does not even come out, but sends his servant with a message, as you can read in II Kings 5:9
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
The message states that Naaman is to wash himself in the river Jordan, and to do it not just once or twice, but to do it seven times! These words hurt the pride of Naaman so much that he flies into a rage and declares that he may as well go home and wash in one of the rivers in his own country, for they are so much better than the river Jordan, as you can read in II Kings 5:11-12
But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord His God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters in Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
He is about to leave when his servants begin to speak to him. Their care for him is very obvious from the way they address him as “my father.” They are able to calm him down and go to the river Jordan after all, as you can read in II Kings 5:13
Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, “Wash and be cleansed?”
When he gets to the river, he begins to dip himself into the water. It is true. He has been told he has to do it seven times. However, he hopes that he will already be healed after the first dip . But that does not happen for, when he comes up out of the water after the first time, he is still as leprous as ever. So he dips into the water for the second time. But still there is no change. He dips into the water for the third time. Still nothing has happened to his skin condition. He is about to give up but his servants encourage him to go on for, after all, he is supposed to dip into the water seven times. For their sake, he dips into the water for the fourth time. Again, no change. The fifth time, still no change. Even the sixth time, as expected, there is no change to his skin condition. He really would like to give up but, it is true, he only needs to take one more dip and so he goes under the water one more time. And when he comes up out of the water this time, everything is different, for this time his skin is as smooth and beautiful as that of a young boy, as you can read in II Kings 5:14
So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
The miracle has happened. He has been healed, just as the man of God told him would happen. Naaman rides back to Elisha’s home. This time his heart is no longer full of pride, but full of gratitude to the prophet, and to the God of Israel who has healed him. And he determines that from now on he will serve the God of Israel, as you can read in II Kings 5:15-19a
Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.” The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the Temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also – when I bow down in the Temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.” “Go in peace,” Elisha said.
It seems this story is primarily about two people: Naaman, the soldier, and Elisha, the prophet of God. However, they are not the reason why I have chosen for us to look at this story. I chose this story because of “a young girl in Israel”. You see, if not for this young girl, Naaman would not have known about the prophet of God and he would not have received his healing. Therefore, this young girl has a very important role to play in this story. Let’s read again what has been written about her in II Kings 5:2-3
Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
Now these are only a few lines but there is a story behind these few lines that is worth investigating. First of all, you can learn from these few lines that there is a young girl who once lived in a village or a town in Israel where she will have lived at home with her family. Every day she will have gone about her usual business of helping in the home. Then one day a group of enemy soldiers arrives in the village or town where she lives. No doubt, she will have hidden because she will have known that these men will have been up to do no good. But to no avail for she is snatched from her home and taken far away to a strange country, where the people speak a different language, have strange customs and most of all serve a false god. And, instead of being a beloved daughter of her parents, she has become a servant of the wife of a man named Naaman. Every day she will have cried as soon as she has gone to bed because she so desperately misses her mother and her father and her brothers and sisters. She will have worried about them for she does not know what has happened to them. She has often prayed to her God to bring her back home but He has not done so. However, she knows that He is taking care of her even in this strange land for He has given her kind people to serve. One day her master becomes ill with leprosy and his condition gets worse and worse. So eventually she dares to speak to her mistress about the prophet of God in her own nation who surely can bring healing to her master. She is very happy when her master does go to her country. And so she waits until his return. And then one day she hears voices outside the house, including the voice of her master and his voice sounds full of life and strength. So she knows God has healed her master. Right there and then in the middle of the room where she is cleaning she kneels down and thanks God for the miracle that only He could have performed….
Having shown this story from the young girl’s viewpoint, I would now like for us to look at it from a heavenly viewpoint, for God has His eyes on this young girl, as you can read in II Chronicles 16:9a
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him….
She may be a nobody in the eyes of the world but God delights in choosing the weak, as you can read in I Corinthians 1:26-29
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before Him.
And He has chosen the plans for her life, as you can read in Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
So God chose the place where she was to live, when she was to live there, and the family she was to be part of. He even allowed her to be abducted. But the abduction took place by a specific people selected by Him, who took her back to a nation selected by Him, where she came to live in a home selected by Him. He allowed the master of the household to become ill and used this young girl as His tool to bring healing and restoration to this man. In fact, God used this young girl to bring salvation to this household, for you have learned that this man after his healing decided to worship the God of Israel instead of the god of his own country. No doubt, he will have introduced the God of Israel to his whole household. Paul explains these principles in Romans 8:28
For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Therefore, if God can use a young girl from Israel, whose name who do not even know, but whose name was known by God, then you can believe that God can and wants to use you too. You may not be known by the world but you will be known by God by name. And that is what really matters. So, know that God is the One who has chosen for you the place where you were to be born, when you were to be born there and chose the family you were to be born into. And He has a plan and a purpose for you because He knows you and loves you. So allow God to use you just as He chose to use this young girl. Moreover, following God’s plan and purpose for your life will bring you a satisfaction beyond what you may have ever known.