The apostle Paul said that “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4). The account of the healing of Naaman is certainly a good passage of scripture from which to learn some valuable lessons. The account is found in II Kings 5:1-16. So what good lessons can we glean from this account?
First, we learn that no matter who you are the disease of sin can pull you down. Naaman was a big man in his country. He was captain of the army of Syria, a great man in the eyes of the king of Syria and a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper (verse 1). Leprosy was a deadly disease and is often likened to sin. As with leprosy, sin kills (Rom. 6:23). It matter not how great one is in the eyes of his fellow man, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11). If ever there was a time when God would look the other way, it must have been when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, for who would have known, but God and the two sinners. God did not look the other way when His servant, Moses, sinned (Num. 20:12), neither did He look the other way when Nadab and Abihu, both sons of Aaron and priest, were disobedient to Him (Lev. 10:1-2) and neither will He look the other way for any other man.
Secondly, we learn that one must go to the right place to receive cleansing (verses 6-7). Naaman began by going to the wrong place. He went to the king of Israel who considered it a ruse to provide an excuse for Syria to stand opposed to Israel. It was not until Naaman went to the man of God, the prophet Elisha, that he found the means by which he could have cleansing. It is not until man today goes to the right source, the word of God found in the pages of the Bible, that he will find the means by which he can be cleansed from sin. The gospel of Christ is the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). It is the seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11) and “is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). No other source will be sufficient to cleanse one of sin. In that source one will learn of the blood of Jesus Christ that washes away one’s sins (I Pet. 1:18-19; Rev. 1:5).
Thirdly, we learn that whatever the Lord requires of you, it must be done (verses 10-13). What we think about it matters not in the least. Naaman thought it should have been done another way. He thought that at least Elisha should have come out to him, call upon the name of the Lord and lay his hands on or over the leprosy, but his thinking it did not make it so. It made Naaman angry, yet his anger didn’t change the means of cleansing that God required. What we think, believe, feel or have been told has nothing to do the cleansing of our sins. Only that which God has said will work. The things God requires of us may not even seem logical to our minds. Who in his right mind would think that dipping in the Jordan river would cure leprosy, yet it did. It was not the waters of the Jordan that cleansed Naaman’s leprosy, but the obedience to God’s commands. One may not see what baptism has to do with the remission of sins, but God has said that remission of sins will occur when one is baptized (Acts 2:38). It is not the water that one is baptized in that removes the sins, but the blood of Christ that washes away one’s sins when he is obedient to God’s command (Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4).
A fourth lesson to be learned is that when one does what the Lord says to do, he will receive the cleansing that is promised (verse 14). Naaman was finally convinced to obey the word of the Lord and he was cleansed. He dipped once and still had leprosy. He dipped a second time and still had leprosy. It was not until he did all that God had said through His prophet Elisha and had dipped seven times in the Jordan River, that he was cleansed of his leprosy. Indeed, as the apostle Paul said we “through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4), so we can have true hope of eternal life by knowing that we have done all that God has required of us to have our sins washed away with the blood of the Lamb. God cannot lie, and He has promised us eternal life if we will but obey His commands (Tit. 1:2).
A last lesson that we learn from this text is that one cannot purchase the blessings of God (verses 15-16). When we have done all that God has commanded us in order to have salvation, we still cannot say that we have earned it. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Had Naaman not obeyed the words of the prophet Elisha, he would never have been cleansed of his leprosy, he would have died of that terrible disease. Yet, obedience did not mean that he had earned it. It was still by the grace of God that Naaman was cleansed. Obedience to the commands of our Lord precedes our cleansing of sin (Acts 2:28; Acts 3:19; Acts 22:16), yet when we have done all that has been commanded, we still have not earned our salvation. It is by the grace and mercy of God that we can have a home in heaven. (Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org).