This week we studied how a pagan man like Naaman was converted to the truth. We read how God use people in that process.
“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” (2 Kings 5:1) Naaman had all he need both physically and socially: He was a general in the Syrian army. He was noble and very rich (“a great man”). The king held him in high esteem. He was being used by God. He was extremely brave. But he had a “small” problem: he was a leper. God used Naaman’s need for healing to lead him to those who could guide him to the eternal life. Jesus followed the same method with some other sick people during His ministry.
“And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.’” (2 Kings 5:2-3) “The parents had discharged their responsibility well, and the result was this wonderful testimony in behalf of Israel’s God in a land that knew Him not. Naaman learned of a power beyond the power of men because a faithful father and mother in Israel had brought up their child to love and trust the Lord.” SDA Bible Commentary, on 2 Kings 5:3
“So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.’” (2 Kings 5:8) Elisha was called to the prophetic ministry by Elijah, as God ordered him to do (1K. 19:16). Elisha received a special blessing when he saw Elijah leaving: “a double portion of your spirit” (2K. 2:9). He worked miracles with the power of the Holy Spirit. Some of those miracles were similar to Jesus’: resurrections, food multiplication, healing…). Elisha didn’t meet Naaman who came with pomp, splendor and riches. He instead sent him the message of Salvation. The glory of the miracle shouldn’t be to the prophet but to God.
“And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?’” (2 Kings 5:13) Naaman’s pride diminished after each step he took. When the prophet didn’t meet Naaman and asked him to bathe in the Jordan River instead of doing some magical act to heal him, he exploded in anger. In that moment, God use one of his servants (who was as pagan as him) to defeat his pride. 1.He accepted advice from a foreign slave. 2.He was misunderstood by the king of Israel. 3.The prophet didn’t meet him. 4.He was asked to bathe in a dirty river.
“And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, ‘Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel… for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord.’” (2 Kings 5:15, 17) Naaman was fully converted. Nevertheless, some reminiscence of his old beliefs remained (2K. 5:17-18). Naaman learnt two important lessons: having faith and obeying God. Naaman learnt a third lesson when Elisha rejected his gifts: salvation is by grace.
“The conduct of the captive maid, the way that she bore herself in that heathen home, is a strong witness to the power of early home training. There is no higher trust than that committed to fathers and mothers in the care and training of their children. Parents have to do with the very foundations of habit and character. By their example and teaching the future of their children is largely decided… The parents of that Hebrew maid, as they taught her of God, did not know the destiny that would be hers. But they were faithful to their trust; and in the home of the captain of the Syrian host, their child bore witness to the God whom she had learned to honor.” E.G.W. (Prophets and Kings, cp. 20, pg. 245-246)