2 Kings 5

2 Kings 5 has the story of “Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper”.  He was a great leader but had a problem – he was a leper.  Naaman hears of a prophet in Israel that may be able to heal him, so he asks the king if he can go.  The king writes a letter and sends him on his way to look for healing.

When he gets to Israel and delivers the letter to the Israeli king, he is sent away.  But Elisha hears about it and says “Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel”.  Elisha knows our mission here on earth is to make God known among all the people. So Naaman came to Elisha’s house and is sent this message through Elisha’s servants.  “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean”.  Pretty simple instructions from the prophet on being healed.

But Naaman was expecting a lot more.  After all, he had traveled a great distance and was a pretty powerful man in Syria.  “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper”.  Instead all he got was an instruction from Elisha through his servants to go dip himself in the Jordan.  So he runs off angry with the instruction.  But “his servants came near and said to him” that he should reconsider and do as he was told.  Someone with a bit less ego could see this wasn’t a shunning by the prophet, but a simple direction to be healed.  And he was when he followed Elisha’s instruction.

Namaan realizes he was wrong, and returns to give Elisha the silver and gold he had brought as payment.  But Elisha refuses.  Then something big happens.  “But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance….Gehazi followed”.  He saw an opportunity to get some treasure and went after Naaman to get it.  After all, he had brought it to leave in Israel.  Why should Elisha prevent them from gaining a bit of wealth?  So Gehazi says “Please give them a talent of silver and two festal garments”.  He only took a little of what Naaman had brought with him.  Gehazi goes back home and Elisha is there to ask where he’d been.  Of course, Gehazi lies and tells Elisha he was right there but the prophet knew.  And because of that lie and disobedience, Gehazi is told “the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever”.  Sin always carries a cost.  For Gehazi, it was a severe one.

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