An Instrument For Healing
Our next story takes us to a country called Aram. The army of this country was commanded by a man named Naaman. He was greatly respected by the king of Aram. However, he had a serious problem, as we 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.
No doubt, Naaman would have been to every doctor in the land, but to no avail. All the treatments he had received up till then had possibly only made the situation worse, rather than better. What was he to do? It did look like the situation was totally hopeless, but then God stepped in and provided help. However, the help He provided came in a way that Naaman would never have expected. Let’s read 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.”
(The young servant girl) “I am very worried about my master Naaman for he is very ill with leprosy (II Kings 5:1). He has been to every doctor in the land. He has tried every potion that has been offered to him. But he has only gotten worse rather than better. I wish I could help him but I am only a young servant girl. So what can I do for him? I was not always a servant girl. In fact, I am not from this nation. I am from the nation Israel where I lived with my family, with my mother and father and brothers and sisters. But then one day soldiers from the nation Aram came to our town. I tried to hide from them but they found me and took me to their nation (II Kings 5:2). That is why I am here. Of course, I miss my family very much. And I used to cry every night before going to sleep. I no longer do that. But I still ask God if one day He will bring me back to my family. Yet, I sense that God is with me, even in Aram because He has provided me with a good and kind master. But now my master is so ill. So he is getting very depressed and so is his wife. I actually do know of someone who can help him. Maybe I should speak to my mistress and ask her to speak to her husband (II Kings 5:3). Perhaps she can persuade him to go to Samaria for that is where the prophet Elisha lives. And he can surely heal my master.”
Naaman was quite reluctant to take the advice of a young servant girl in his household. However, he knew that he was in a desperate situation for, so far, no-one else had been able to cure him of his leprosy, so he began to make preparations for his trip to Samaria.
(Naaman) “I may be a mighty soldier but I am in dire straits. And I know it for I am a very sick man (II Kings 5:1). That is why I decided to listen to the advice of this young servant girl in my household (II Kings 5:3). Normally speaking I would not ever bother to listen to her advice for what advice could she give me. After all, I am the commander of the army of Aram. And I am in high regard with everyone in the land, including the king (II Kings 5:1). But then, these are not normal days so I decided to listen to her advice and go to the prophet in Samaria. So I went to the king, asked him for some time off (II Kings 5:4). And he was very pleased to give it to me. He even wrote a letter for me to give to the king of Israel (II Kings 5:5). So tomorrow I will set off on my journey, go to the king of Israel and present the letter to him (II Kings 5:6).”
When the king of Israel received the letter he was very upset, for he knew he would not be able to cure Naaman of his leprosy (II Kings 5:7). Thankfully, the prophet Elisha heard of the king’s predicament and sent him a message telling him to send Naaman to him (II Kings 5:8). So Naaman travelled to the house of the prophet (II Kings 5:9). When he arrived, the prophet sent his servant to him, as we can read in II Kings 5:10 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.”
(Naaman) “I was furious when I received that message. Did the prophet not know who I am? That I am the commander of the army of Aram? And that I am very well respected in my nation, including the king? How dare he just sent his servant with a message. He should have come out of the house himself and perform his own brand of magic to bring me healing (II Kings 5:11). On top of that the servant told me to wash in the river Jordan. If I have to wash in a river, I might as well go back home and wash in one of the rivers back home. For the rivers back home are much better than the river Jordan (II Kings 5:12). Moreover, I was told to dip into the river not just one time but to dip into the river seven times. How ridiculous (II Kings 5:10)! I was ready to go back home. But then my servants pleaded with me and said to me, “Please, father, it is not too difficult to do (II Kings 5:13).” So for their sake, we set off for the river Jordan. And I went into the water and I dipped into the water for the first time. I expected a change. But there was no change. I dipped into the water a second time. I came up out of the water. Still no change. I dipped into the water the third time. Still no change. I was ready to give up and tell my servants, “This prophet is a false prophet. He has now power to change things.” But for their sake, I did not say anything. And I dipped into the water a fourth time. By this time I no longer expected to see any change. And I was right for I was still as leprous as ever after I came out of the water for the fourth time. I really wanted to give up but my servants pleaded with me and said, “Please, father, only three more times.” So for their sake, I dipped into the water a fifth time. No change. A sixth time. No change. A seventh time…. That is when the miracle happened. For when I came up out of the water after the seventh time and I looked at my skin, my skin was as clean and beautiful and smooth as that of a young boy (II Kings 5:14). Then I knew that the prophet is a true prophet and that his God is the true God. So I went back to the house of the prophet (II Kings 5:15a). And that is when I spoke with him. And I thanked him. I had no words, in fact, to thank him for what had happened (II Kings 5:15b-16). But this one thing I told him. I told him that from this moment on I will no longer worship the false god of my nation. But will worship the God of Israel for He has proven to be the true God (II Kings 5:17).”
And so Naaman made his way back home where, no doubt, his wife and his whole household, including the young servant girl, would have been anxiously waiting for him. (The young servant girl) “I have been praying for my master every day since he left for Samaria that my God would take care of him and would heal him (II Kings 5:6). And every day I would look out of the window to see if he had returned even though I knew he could not have returned as yet. But then yesterday he came back. And when I saw him, I knew that my God had answered my prayers. For my master’s skin looked beautifully smooth (II Kings 5:14). I am even more excited because my master has now told us that we are no longer going to worship his god but my God, the God of Israel (II Kings 5:17). Isn’t that wonderful?”
It seems this story is primarily about two people: Naaman, the soldier of Aram (II Kings 5:1) and Elisha, the prophet (II kings 5:8). However, this story is also very much about a young servant girl from Israel (II Kings 5:2) because, without her, Naaman would not have known about the prophet and he would, therefore, not have received his healing (II Kings 5:3, 14). So, this young girl has a very important role to play in the story. Let us now look at this story from a heavenly perspective, for God had His eyes on this young girl, as we know from 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 have been a nobody in the eyes of the world but God delights in choosing the weak, as we 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 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 had chosen the plans for her life, as we know from 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 of which she was to be part. 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 we have learned that this man, after he received his healing, decided to worship the God of Israel instead of the god of his nation. No doubt, he will have introduced the God of Israel to his whole household. The Apostle 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 we do not even know, but whose name was known by God, then we can believe that God can, and wants to, use us too. We may not be known by the world, but we will be known by God by name. And that is what really matters. So know that God is the One who has chosen each one of us to be born in the place where we were born, when we were to be born there, and chose the family into which we were to be born. And He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us, because He knows us and loves us (Ephesians 2:10).
So, we should allow God to use us, just as He chose to use this young girl. Moreover, following God’s plan and purpose will bring us a satisfaction beyond what we may have ever known.