Lessons from the Story of Naaman

Naaman was the commander of Aram.  He was well known and loved in his country for his military accomplishments.   He was also highly regarded by his superior, the king.  The one challenge that probably caused him some worry was the leprosy he had.

Naaman gets good news

In one of his army’s raids on Israel, they captured a young Jewish girl.  She worked as a servant helping Naaman’s wife with the household chores.  She hinted to her mistress that Naaman would be cured if he paid a visit to the prophet in Samaria.

Naaman goes to Israel 

Naaman was excited at this news, so he informed the king of what the young lady had said.  The king was happy too and encouraged him to go.  The king helped Naaman by giving him a letter to take to the king of Israel.  In addition, Naaman took silver, gold and clothing as gifts.

When the king of Israel read the letter, he became very angry thinking that the king of Aram was picking on him.

Naaman goes to the prophet’s house

Elisha the prophet later heard about the incident and asked the king to send Naaman to him.

On arrival at the prophet’s house, Naaman was greeted by one of the prophet’s attendants who told him to dip seven times in the River Jordan and he would be cured.

Naaman left upset because he expected that the prophet would have come out to him and perform a ritual of some kind over him.  He also argued that there were better rivers than Jordan that were available to him in Damascus.

Naaman is cured

Naaman’s servants, who came with him, waited for his anger to subside.  They then managed to convince him to do as the prophet instructed. He went and dipped in the River Jordan seven times.  The seventh time he came up healed.

Naaman and he servants went back to the prophet happy and thankful.  He tried to persuade the prophet to take a gift, but the prophet refused.

Gehazi becomes a leper

Naaman and his attendants left for home.  Gehazi, one of the servants of Elisha the prophet followed them with the intention of collecting a gift for himself.  After catching up with the group, Gehazi told Naaman that the prophet had sent him to get some silver, gold and clothing for two of their friends who were of the company of the prophets.

When Gehazi returned to the prophet’s house, he was confronted by Elisha.  Elisha rebuked him for his actions and pronounced on him the dreadful penalty of leprosy.

Here are the lessons we can learn from this story:-

  1. Turn your challenges into success

Naaman had leprosy, a disease that was shunned by everyone.  Naaman did not shut himself away from society thinking that there was nothing he could contribute to his country or family.  Despite his challenge, he became a successful and well respected commander.  Leprosy did not prevent him from having a wife and servants.

Our challenges whether physical, financial, or otherwise, should not prevent us from living a fulfilled life.  Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

  1. Let others know about God.

The young Jewish girl in Naaman’s house knew that there was a God in Israel who could help her master.  By informing Naaman of the help that was available in Israel, the Jewish girl succeeded in introducing Naaman and many others to her God. She did not have to preach a sermon, but her simple way led Naaman to say that he would never again make sacrifices to any god except the Lord (11Kings 5:17).

Every day we have opportunities to introduce others to our God.  Try something simple like this girl and see how God can accomplish something big through it.

  1. Be careful about your attitude towards others.

On receiving the letter from the king of Aram, the king of Israel flew into a rage and tore his clothes.  He thought that his counterpart in Aram was trying to pick on him. The king of Aram had no evil intentions toward Israel.  He was only trying to facilitate his commander in the quest for his healing.

Sometimes, we, like the king of Israel are hasty to judge the intentions of well-meaning people and think the worse of them.  The Apostle Paul reminds of the way we ought to be thinking.  He said that we should think on the things that are noble, right, pure, and lovely admirable, excellent and praise-worthy (Phil.4:8).  Our attitude to others should always be positive.

  1. Our way is not God’s way.

Namaan went to the prophet’s house with certain expectations in his mind.  When the prophet did not act according to his expectations, he became angry.

God does not need to create a commotion to heal and help his people.  God has his own way of doing things.  We can never anticipate how, when, where or what God will do in a given situation. All we need to do is to trust him.

  1. Obey God and receive his blessings

As much as Naaman had an issue with the instruction he received from Elisha, he did not receive what he wanted until he obeyed the instruction.

God’s instructions to us are found in his word – the Bible.  Our responsibility is to obey it.  We cannot expect God’s blessings and his favour unless we follow his injunctions.  Doing things our own way will only result in frustration on our part.

  1. Beware of greed

Gehazi was so materialistic in his thinking that he could not understand why Elisha had refused to take the gifts from Naaman.  Driven by greed, he violated the principles he stood for.  In the end he only succeeded in bringing a dreaded curse on himself.

True servants of God will always guard themselves against the curse of greed.  The Bible warns us to stay away from greed (Pro. 15:27) and from the obsession to gain material things (1 Tim 6:9; Heb. 13:5).