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The Pastor's Blog

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Leprosy was an incurable disease that condemned its victim to an indescribably painful death! The infection would begin as an innocuous patch of dry skin or a tiny sore, but soon spread through the body. Open and oozing gangrenous sores would slowly overtake the body leaving behind the rank odor of decay. Fingers and toes, the nose and the ears, were consumed by the ravenous enemy, leaving the weakened and disfigured leper to die… alone.

Naaman was a leper, and as such, was the emblem of a man condemned to physical and spiritual death.

Naaman was also an outsider, a Syrian, an enemy of God and of God’s people. He had no right to seek a cure from God or His prophet. In the New Testament, Paul describes Naaman and every non-believer, every lost man, every non-Christian. “At one time you were Gentiles in the flesh … uncircumcised … you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11–12).

But in God’s providence, Naaman heard the testimony of a young Hebrew girl. She told him that there was a God in Israel with the power to heal his body and to restore his life. Surely, hope sprang up in Naaman’s dread-filled soul!

Soon, Naaman, a powerful military leader and a respected advisor to Syria’s king, was in Israel searching for Elisha the prophet, a man God had used to display His miraculous powers. Astride his glimmering chariot, accompanied by Syrian warriors riding powerful stallions, Naaman must have dreamed of the miracle-working prophet bounding from his home to bow in reverence, then wave his hands and chant mysterious and magical words.

That didn’t happen.

When Naaman arrived at the modest home of God’s servant, Elisha didn’t come out the door, but rather, he sent his servant. There were no incantations, only a simple message. “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your skin will be restored and you will be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).

Infuriated! Enraged! Incensed! “I could wash in Syria’s rivers. Why should I travel another thirty or forty miles to wash in Israel’s muddy Jordan?” (2 Kings 5:12). As he turned to ride away, his servant spoke. “We’ve come so far. Why don’t you give it a try? If the prophet had said you must climb the highest mountain, wouldn’t you have done so?” (2 Kings 5:13).

Naaman was willing to work for his salvation, but he wasn’t ready to humble himself.

When he did set aside his pride, God rewarded his humble faith. “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).

“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). Christ “saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16, 36; Romans 6:23).

After humbling himself before God, Naaman, the once condemned outcast, could faithfully and confidently proclaim, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15). Naaman had found “peace” with God! (2 Kings 5:19, Romans 5:1) … not by works, but by grace!


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