When we meet difficulties and ask God to resolve them, we often have definite ideas how God should do it. Today let us study a passage to help us see whether we should follow His way or He should our way of doing things.
BACKGROUND: Naaman came from the land of Syria, which lay just north of the kingdom of Israel. Elisha, the successor of Elijah, was the Lord’s prophet in Israel at the time.
II. BIBLE READING
2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the LORD had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!” 8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage. 13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, `Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. 15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant. 16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. 17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD. 18 But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I bow there also– when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.” 19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said. After Naaman had traveled some distance, (NIV)
A. The Disease (vv. 1-7)
- How would you describe Naaman? What was his problem? With his position, why was he not be able to solve it?
- Trace how Naaman came to seek healing before Elisha. Why was the girl so bold in giving her suggestion? Like the salve girl, do we possess a strong faith in God and care enough to introduce Jesus to people whom we know need Him?
B. The Healing (vv. 8-14)
- How did Elisha handle the situation when he knew of the king’s reaction to Naaman’s request?
- What was Naaman’s attitude and expectations when he came to Elisha’s house? (vv. 9-12) Who did Naaman think will heal him?
- What was God’s way of healing as relayed through Elisha? (v. 10) Why do you think God asked Naaman to go wash in the Jordan River seven times?
- How did Naaman react to these instructions? (v. 11, 12) Why do you think he reacted that way? Why did Naaman comply later? What was the result of his obedience? (v. 14)
- From this episode, what principles should we follow so that we can conform to God’s way of resolving our problems?
- Cite examples from our life wherein our ways of resolving problems are different from God’s way
C. The Response To The Healing (vv. 15-19)
- What changes in Naaman’s attitude occurred as a result of his experience?
- Elisha’s answer in v. 19 is non-committal. It should not be used as a basis for excusing people who say they are pressured to participate in idol worship while their heart is not worshipping the idol.
Reflection: What is the most difficult problem I face today? What did I think was the solution? As I quiet my heart before God now, what do I realize is God’s way?
God has His own way of doing things. Let us get rid of our preconceptions and submit to His way, for His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher that our ways (Isaiah 55:9). Let us fully trust Him, and obey.