Naaman is Healed of Leprosy (Week 28, Part 5/6) 2 Kings 2-7 | July 4- July 10 – powered by Happy Scribe
It seems like every other ad, especially on YouTube, describes some kind of miracle cure that will make you lose weight, solve your financial problems, or finally get rid of that stubborn belly fat. Most of these people claim to have found the miracle solution to the problems that plague us. And if we just subscribe or give them our money, they can show us the hidden secrets to solve all of our problems. We want to have some kind of grand miracle take place that will change our lives and finally solve all our difficulties. Those impulses aren’t new to human nature.
In Two Kings, chapter Five, we find Naaman, a captain in the Syrian army, who is afflicted with leprosy, one of the most deadly and degenerative diseases found in the Old Testament. Naman is advised by a little Israelite maid, a servant to his wife, that if he were to find the prophet Elijah in Israel, he could be healed of his disease. So Naomon took his soldiers and went to seek the help of Elijah. He must have made an impressive entrance when he arrived at the dwelling of Elijah with his chariot, his horses, and his soldiers all in tow. To a surprise, Elisha didn’t even come out to meet him.
Instead, he sent a messenger out to tell him to simply bathe seven times in the Jordan River and his leprosy would be healed. Naman was more than a little deflated by these instructions. I thought, he will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand oliver the place and recover the leper. He was expecting a miracle solution fire from heaven. An impressive show from the Israelite prophet that would smite his disease.
Instead, he received instructions to bathe in the Oliver Jordan. Not even the most impressive river in the land. Compared to the waters in Syria, the Jordan River was a muddy little stream, and Naoman wasn’t shy about his displeasure. Are not Abana and Papa rivers of Damascus better than all the waters in Israel? How could he be cleansed by simply bathing in this little mudhole of a backwoods nation like Israel?
It was at this point that one of Damon’s soldiers, never even given a name, shares one of the most profound statements in the entire Old Testament my father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much? Rather than when he say it to thee, wash and be clean? Sometimes we want a great thing rather than just simple and easy instructions. We all want a striking new solution, a great new approach, or some miracle of technology to solve our problems.
We’re like naming where the instructions given by the prophet just don’t seem grand enough to really solve our problems. In reality, the solution to our ills given by prophets in both ancient and modern times, are usually very simple and straightforward. Keep the commandments, read your scriptures, pray and ask the Lord for help with your struggles. Serve and love others. These things are so simple that they’re sometimes referred to sarcastically as the Sunday school answers to our problems.
The reason why they are repeated so often is because they actually work. Little simple acts of devotion and service usually can solve our spiritual maladies. I used to have a bishop who I served with, and when people would come into him with their spiritual problems, he would listen intently and then just simply ask, what’s the last time you studied the Scriptures and prayed? He told me it was amazing how often those who were struggling weren’t engaging in these simple spiritual practices. These simple acts of devotion keep us spiritually healthy, so that when we do catch a bad spiritual virus, we have a healthy testimony, a spiritual immune system, so the disease isn’t as deadly.
Now back to the story. Fortunately, Naman humbled himself and took seven dips in the tepid muddy waters of the Jordan River. This simple act of obedience healed him of his leprosy and gave him a new lease on life. It not only transformed his physical health, but his spiritual health as well. Behold.
Now, I know there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel, Naman testified, just like with naming, sometimes we expect some great thing from the Lord’s prophets. Occasionally, a grand gesture is called for. After all, Elijah called down fire from heaven. But most of the time, the Lord’s instructions to us through his servants entail small acts of devotion, simple daily acts that keep us spiritually healthy. These little acts might not be some great thing, but as another prophet testified by small and simple things are great of things broad to pass, and small means in many instances doth confound the whys.