Naaman’s story is our story.
Naaman, “commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a man important to his master and highly regarded ... a valiant warrior, but he had a skin disease” (2 Kings 5:1). He was a good guy, but he was dying of an incurable disease that also rendered him spiritually and ceremonially “unclean” (Leviticus 13). But that wasn’t all! He was also a Syrian, a Gentile, and an enemy of God’s chosen people!
Even if we are “important... highly regarded... and valiant,” “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10) and the disease that is common to us all is fatal. As “enemies” of Christ (Romans 5:10), “the wages of sin is death!” (Romans 6:23).
In the course of time, Naaman heard a servant girl’s testimony concerning a Gracious and Omnipotent God in Israel. “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease” (2 Kings 5:3). If we’re saved today, it’s because someone told us about the Savior.
Naaman, like so many today, tried everything conceivable to save himself. He first went to the Syrian king who was completely powerless to heal. Then he went to Samaria to the king of Israel. He too was impotent. He then tried to buy a miracle (2 Kings 5:5). He offered a small fortune, but that’s not how it works! “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift, not from works, so that no one can boast”(Ephesians 2:8–9). Naaman didn’t understand grace.
Just as Jesus came to “seek and save” (Luke 19:10), God took the initiative in Naaman’s case. Supernaturally, “Elisha the man of God heard that (because of Naaman), the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king: ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel’ ” (2 Kings 5:8). God miraculously directed Elisha to reach out to Naaman. God made the first move.
“So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, ‘Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your skin will be restored and you will be clean.’ ” (2 Kings 5:9-11). Naaman expected Elisha, the famed prophet of God, to pay him the respect he deserved. Surely, when Elisha heard that a great warrior from Syria was present, the prophet would come outside for a visit. Surely, he’d wave his arms and say “hocus-pocus.”
With a little prodding by his trusted servant, “Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean” (2 Kings 5:14).
Naaman’s story is our story. Our salvation wasn’t earned or bought, but by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. Only after we humbly acknowledge and accept the finished work of Christ at the cross, can we be washed and made forever new!
Naaman went home in peace! (2 Kings 5:19). ... The End.
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.