There is an amazing story in 2 Kings 5 which speaks directly to God’s work of healing. It begins this way in verse 1,
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.
Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army—a man who had authority and was greatly admired, highly respected, and honorable. This verse also tells us that he had been used by God to bring victory to the Syrian army. Obviously, Naaman was highly successful!
But then we read those last three words, “but a leper.”
Sickness is not a respecter of persons. It visits the rich and the poor; it visits the strong and the weak; it visits the known and the unknown; it visits male and female. All races, all classes, all cultures are visited by illness.
There are many people today who are impacted by terrible diseases. Despite all of the advances in medical science, multitudes are still suffering from grave illnesses. Perhaps even you or someone you love.
If you are suffering an illness, Naaman’s story should give you hope. There was an answer for him and there is an answer for you. That answer lies in a number of principles that are found in the rest of the narrative in 2 Kings 5. Let me give you three.
1. To be healed, you need to put your faith into action (vs. 4–5).
Naaman’s servant, a young woman taken captive from Israel, told Naaman’s wife that Naaman would be healed if he would go see the prophet (Elisha). What did Naaman do? In verses 4–5 we are told Naaman went to the king of Syria, told him the story and with the king’s blessing, headed off to Israel. Naaman didn’t just sit and bemoan his illness. When he heard of this prophet who could heal him, he acted right away. He was active in seeking a cure. He put his faith into action and so must you!
2. To receive healing, you need to go to the right place to receive it (vs. 6–7).
In verses 6–7, we find Naaman going to the king of Israel with the letter from the king of Syria. After reading the letter, the king of Israel thinks he’s expected to heal Naaman! Wrong man to do that job! What I’m about to say I want to say as delicately and kindly as I can. Some are hindered in receiving healing because they go to the wrong place to seek it. Naaman went to the king when he needed to go to the prophet. If you want eggs and bread, you’re not going to go to the local auto parts store. And if you want healing, you need to go to a place where it’s taught, embraced, practiced, and believed.
3. Healing may not come by the way or by the method you think it should (vs. 8–12).
When Naaman finally comes to the home of Elisha the prophet, Elisha doesn’t even greet him. Instead he sends a messenger to tell him to go wash in the Jordan River seven times and he will be healed. This infuriates Naaman because it just isn’t spectacular enough! God seems to enjoy overturning the applecart of our preconceived ideas. He tells famous war heroes that if they want to be healed of their leprosy, to go dip in a dirty river seven times. It doesn’t make sense. But sometimes God requires us to do the ridiculous before He will do the miraculous.
If you are suffering an illness today, I hope you will put your faith into action… go to a place where healing is taught, embraced, practiced, and believed… and know that God just may heal you in a way that you don’t suspect.
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