"Naaman's Mission to Elisha [1-27]."
This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org
There will be five servants in this chapter and each will play an important role in this lesson. The first is Naaman, a general in the Syrian army, and the servant of the king of Syria. The second was the servant of Naaman's wife. The third is YHVH's servant, Elisha, the prophet of God. The fourth is Naaman's two servants that carried the silver and garments back to Elisha's house, and fifth will be Gehazi, the greedy and unbelieving servant of Elisha.
We are going back in time a bit, to the time of Ahab's death. This takes us to the time just following the battle when the soldier fired the arrow in the air, and arrow struck king Ahab between his two armor plates and killed him. On that day the house of Israel ran like a bunch of whipped puppies. They ran back to their homes and farms in complete humiliation, as recorded in I Kings 22. The Syrians perused the Israelites, and took many prisoners and used them as servants and slaves. So at this time the House of Israel was an enemy of Syria.
II Kings 5:1 "Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper."
Naaman was one of the king of Syria's best servants, trusted and loyal to the king. We know from Luke 4:27 that Jesus Christ even mentioned this leper. "And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus [Elisha] the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." This story of Naaman may also be compared with the parallel event of John 9:1-12, where Jesus healed the blind man, which was blind from his youth. That blind man's sin did not cause his blindness for he was blind from birth. Jesus used the healing of this blind man to teach those around Him a lesson, for of all those people that were sick, only the blind man was healed at this time by Jesus.
John 9:6 "And when He [Jesus] had spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay."
John 9:7 "And said unto him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam," (which is by interpretation, Sent,) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing."
So this healing of Naaman was important enough that Christ mentioned him in His healing ministry some eight hundred and thirty years later.
II Kings 5:2 "And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive ont of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife."
So after the armies of Israel and Judah had fled back to their homes, the Syrians had followed them and taken many captives of the Israelites, and brought them back to be servants in the land of Syria. One of these young ladies that was taken captive was placed in the home of Naaman to be his wife's servant.
God wants to show us that he can use a great prophet, or he can use a young servant girl in the service to bring about the miracles that are to be lessons for us. God is going to use this girl to start the order of events that will turn the heart of this great general Naaman to the Father. From the mouth of this slave child, the leaders of this heathen world would be led to Elisha, and come to see the one True God. They will see that God is real: and that is the lesson of this entire chapter. It is important to keep focused on that point throughout the entire chapter.
God has His family and each of us that belong to His family have our own positions within that family, and we are to be disciplined to what ever position we are in, within God's family. Paul taught this in Romans 12:3-5.
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
Romans 12:4 "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:"
Romans 12:5 "So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
This young girl was in a position, doing the duties that God had placed her in, and she was faithful to speak up in the name of God. She planted the seed, telling of the prophet of God that could lead Naaman to the place to be healed. From that girl's willingness to speak out, Naaman and his entire household would come to know the Lord.
II Kings 5:3 "And she said unto her mistress, "Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy."
She tells this wife of Naaman, that she wished to God, "my Lord", that Naaman would go to the prophet in Samaria, and he would heal him of his leprosy. She had no doubt that God could use Elisha to heal the leprosy. This faith was passed from her to her master's wife, and on to Naaman. It was from this seed of thought of the girl, that faith and hope grew in the minds all the way to the king of Syria. Of course she had faith, and she was faithful to her calling and mission that God had placed her in. If she had lied to her mistress it could have caused her death.
II Kings 5:4 "And one went in, and told his lord, saying, "Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel."
Naaman's wife went right to Naaman and told him exactly what this maiden servant had said to her.
II Kings 5:5 "And the king of Syria said, "Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel." And he departed and took with him ten talants silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and then changes of raiment."
It didn't take long for Naaman to reach the king of Syria, and when the king heard the good news, he sent Naaman immediate to the king of Israel. To show his respects to the king of Israel, the Syrian king send great wealth to him in payment of respect. Keep in mind that this king would not be Ahab, but Ahab's son, the silly king that walked out the upstairs window, that latter caused his death.
Naaman was highly honored by the king of Syria, and the healing of Naaman meant a great deal to him personally. This healing of Naaman would be unique for in Israel there were many that had leprosy, and yet the prophet of God healed none of them. So you can see the pressure that is on the king of Israel, when this general of the enemy army comes with all his wealth to buy his healing.
Think of the value that is brought to the king of Israel, Six talents [one troy is 12 ounces per pound, and one talent is 117 troy pounds] of silver. Along with the silver was 6,000 pieces of Gold, beside the other goods that were brought for payment for the healing of this honorable man. This is to be the payment for healing Naaman.
II Kings 5:6 "And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, "Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy."
Remember that since the days of Jeroboam, there was no faith in God among the kings of Israel. They were busy worshipping their two golden calves, and running their sex orgies in the groves, and here this leper man comes with this letter from the king of Syria. Syria had just run them off the battle field and killed his father, and now this Syrian king wants him to heal Naaman, standing now before him. What do you think the king of Israel thinks of this? He is going into another of his rages.
II Kings 5:7 "And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me."
At least he can still identify the only One True God that can heal Naaman. The king of Israel tore his clothes and cried and carried on passionately, for he just knew that the Syrian king was trying to trick him and start up another war with him. At least the king knew that he could not heal leprosy. However, he represented a nation, whereby in his title was, "protector of the faith", and that faith is in the only True God. That little slave girl had that faith in God, back in Naaman's house, yet the leader of God's people had absolutely no faith in God. No wonder he went into a rage, for he knew that the sticks and sex orgies he practiced would not heal Naaman, only the One true God. The only prophets that this king of Israel listened to were those of his mother Jezebel. Sure they claimed to be prophets of God, however they were prophets of the stick gods.
II Kings 5:8 "And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, "Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."
When Elisha heard what had happened in Samaria, he sent a letter to the king asking, "Why are you punishing yourself like that, send the man with leprosy to me and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. The purpose again was to let the Syrians know that there is a God in Israel.
II Kings 5:9 "So Naaman came with the horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha."
So Naaman pulled his chariot up at the front door of Elisah, along with this mule train of goods to pay for his healing.
II Kings 5:10 "And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean."
Remember that "Jordan" in the Hebrew tongue means "descending". In the sense that God decends from heaven to the earth, through both the Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as Himself, in the person of the Angel of God. "Seven" being the spiritual number of completeness. This is so simple of a task that it seems like a fairy-tale to Naaman. Elisah did not even come to the door, but sent one of his servant to tell him to go wash in the river Jordan seven times. All that Naaman could think of was that somebody was playing games with him.
II Kings 5:11 "But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, "Behold, I thought, he will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his name over the place, and recover the leper."
This second man to the king of Syria thought that Elisha should have come to the door, and done as all the other prophets do when they call on their gods. He thought that Elisha should have gone through an elaborate prayer, with a religious fan fair, and shouted, "In the name of the Lord his God"; Yet all he did was sent his servant to the door, and through his servant, Elisha told him to "go wash seven times in the river Jordan and you would be healed". Naaman was really expecting to see some great things on his behalf.
II Kings 5:12 "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?" So he turned and went away in a rage."
Naaman thought that the Abana and Pharpar rivers were cleaner than the river Jordan, and if I go to them, shouldn't that make me even cleaner. Naaman mounted his chariot and in a rage started back for Syria.
The point that we are to take from this is that God works with whom ever, and what ever he choses. It began with that little slave girl in Syria, who wanted the best for her master, Naaman. God chose that girl to make this point. That message started in Syria and was completed by the servant of Elisha, at the instructions of Elisha, and that message was; "Go wash seven times in the river Jordan, and you will be healed." Elisha gave the instructions from God, and the servant of Elisha told the instructions to Naaman. This wasn't even Elisha's number one servant for it will be obvious before the end of this chapter. Remember that the message doesn't come from the prophet, but from God Himself.
II Kings 5:13 "And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, "My father [master], if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather them, when he saith to thee, `Wash, and be clean?' "
As Naaman was heading out of Elisha's place in a rage, Naaman's servants that were with him spoke to him and reminded him that if the prophet had told him to do some great thing, he would have done it. The only thing that the prophet told you to do was to go wash seven times in the Jordan river, and you would be clean. Why don't you do it? Try the prophet! So Naaman listened to his servant and went and bathed in the Jordan. At first Naaman took it like Elisha told him to "go jump in the river", as an insult, when in fact those instruction came or descended directly from God.
Then his servants said, "We have tried every other god, we tried every thing else and came all this distance, so why not try this simple act that the prophet of God told you to do?"
II Kings 5:14 "Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean."
Naaman didn't stop at the second or third time, where there was no sign of healing, nor even at the sixth, but he dipped himself seven times exactly as he was instructed by Elisha. On that seventh time, as he came up out of the water, and saw that his flesh was as clean and tender as that of a little child. Think of the thrill and joy that went through his mind. Think also of the joy that all his servants had to see their master clean of all his leprosy. Because that maiden girl had faith that God could heal, we see that God did heal, and to the glory of God, His name was made real in the land of Syria.
Sometimes it seems very simple the way that God works, but the blessings of God come when we are obedient of the following of God's instructions. Never under estimate the power of our God, and never take any of the credit for the power of God that comes forth in you, as a servant of God. If our Heavenly Father gives you a gift, take it and use it to the glory of God, no matter what your position in life, or where God has placed you here on earth. God will use you only when you are obedient to His calling for your life. You are not responsible for for another man's gifts, but you are accountable for all the gifts that God has placed in your hands: as to whether you are a good and faithful servant of His.
The point is that you should always know where the voice came from and where the power that God has placed in you came from, when you lose that sight, you are in serious trouble. When you look to your hands for the cause of any healing, you have lost your focus on the Father. Keep yourself humble before God, because all blessings flow from God. Without the blessings of God, you are on a dead end street, but remember that our God works in simple ways.
II Kings 5:15 "And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, "Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant."
The whole train of Syrians returned from the river and went right back to Elisha's house. At this time Naaman would have given Elisha twenty times the gold that he brought to the king of Israel. As he arrived he went up to Elisha, and told him, "Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel." Remember all those goodies of gold and silver and garments that are on their saddles, Naaman wanted Elisha to receive those gifts as payment for his healing.
Remember what the customs were in the land at that time. If you were going to ask a favor of a prophet of God, you gave the blessing to the prophet before you asked the favor from the prophet. Naaman did not do that, he left in a rage, and withheld the blessing until after the healing took place. Therefore the blessing could not be received by the prophet, that was the way that God made it. Then there could be no conditions placed on the gift or the healing. The one was not a condition of the other. If you never received the healing you could not take back the blessing given to the prophet. It wasn't the prophet that gave the healing, but God that determined if you should be healed or not.
II Kings 5:16 "But he said, "As the Lord liveth, before Whom I stand, I will receive none." And he urged him to take it; but he refused."
Elisha would not take one thing from Naaman, and it wasn't because he never offered it first, but Elisha wanted Naaman to know that his healing came from God, and not from the hand of the prophet. God did the healing and no amount of money would cleanse the any leprosy. Though it all was well intensioned, but in this case, it could not be received. Remember that there had been great trouble between the peoples of the house of Israel and the Syrians all the back for centuries, and many men had lost their lives in wars. Yet the God of Israel was also the God of the Syrian, and would heal them as well as bless Israel. You know that the king of Syria would hear of the blessing that the God of Israel gave to his honored servant Naaman.
II Kings 5:17 "And Naaman said, "Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of the earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the Lord."
So now Naaman is asking a favor of Elisha, and that favor is for two mule loads of soil from Israel to take back to Syria. This again was a custom of the area, that if you prayed to a god, you had to be on his soil. In that God was the God of Israel, Naaman wanted to take earth back so that he could also pray to the God of Israel. Israel's God was the only God that Naaman would pray to the rest of his life so he wanted this two donkey loads of dirt from Israel. He would spread it on the ground, and that is where he would go and pray.
Remember that Christ had not died on the cross at this time, and all people worshipped at the altar of God. Even though that altar was only in Israel, amongst the Israelites. God's instructions were that if a stranger came among you, they could worship with you, as long as he (she) obeyed the laws of the land, and so on. So this is a carry over of the Syrian tradition, and applied to the God of Israel, in the mind of Naaman. Elisha does not correct Naaman for this misunderstanding, for if that is the way that Naaman thinks, then allow him to do so, for he will be worshipping the one True God.
II Kings 5:18 "In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing."
What Naaman is telling Elisha here is; "I am the aid or servant of the king of Syria, and my king worships Rimmon, and there is no way that he will allow me to worship the God of Israel there." In my position there is no way that I can avoid going into the house of Rimmon, and bowing down to the god of my king. My life depends on it, now I want to know that if I do this, can I be pardon by the true God, for doing that?
We are asked this question even to this day. Can I go into this church that practices this, or can I go into that church that allows sodomite sinners to worship in their midst? Will I be sinning if I stand in their midst, and am forced to do what they do? Well lets see what Elisha, a prophet of God answers Naaman.
II Kings 5:19 "And he said unto him, "Go in peace." So he departed from him a little way."
This is the answer for one and all times to those that go to a place and are forced to worship in a church that does not respect the One True God. It is from Elisha the prophet. Elisha said, "Go in peace". So what was God's answer to the man? He didn't answer yes or no. A prophet can only teach that which the Lord has revealed to him, and no more. The answer has to be in the mind of the individual. What is the individual thinking at the time that he is doing what he is doing, for only God can read anyone's mind. Any teacher can only teach what is in the Word of God, and he cannot give permission in a situation such as this, because the power is not in him to know the exact mind of that person going in before any evil place of worship.
Rimmon simply doesn't exist, and that god is nothing more than the forces of nature controlling the weather. The Syrian storm god called "Ramman" had a temple and an altar within the temple, and the offerings to that heathen god were for the control of the weather. However to a man of God, that heathen god simply does not exist, for in your mind you know that there is only one God, and anything done in that place means absolutely nothing to you. The damage that could be done by you is when those tender hearted souls that watch you do what you do, are spiritually destroyed by what they see you do. So you see, it all depends on the what you are thinking at the time, and how your words and actions affects the others that observe you doing what you are doing. Will other tender souls be offended by your actions. Can Naaman be strong enough to hold to the true God, while assisting the king in his civil obligations to Rimmon. What is good for you may not be good for someone else.
II Kings 5:20 "But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him."
Remember back in the last chapter when the rich woman that had her son die, and wanted Elisha to return home with her to bring her son back to life.? She had seen Gehazi in her home many times, and she did not trust Gehazi, for she sensed that something was not right with him. There was a comment made at that time concerning Gehazi's faith, and this brings it to light. There is something that was underhanded about Gehazi, and she saw it when he and Elisha stayed at her home. Gehazi was the top servant of Elisha, the prophet of God, and his right hand man.
Gehazi saw those donkey loads of silver and gold and all those fine garments laid out before Elisha. He watched as they were put back on the donkeys and loaded up for their ride back to Syria. So after Naaman left the house of Elisha and headed down the road, Gehazi ran after Naaman and caught up to him and spoke. Notice the thing that gets Gehazi in trouble is that he spoke in the name of the Lord, when God said nothing to him. Today that is the first thing that many religious preachers and teachers think of doing, they want their payment for sputtering their traditions, and saying that God told them to say those words. You don't have to listen to a preacher very long to find out what their motives are.
II Kings 5:21 "So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, "Is all well?"
Naaman was still excited over being healed, and when he saw this servant of prophet of God standing there, he wanted to know if everything was well with the prophet.
II Kings 5:22 "And he said, "All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, `Behold, now even there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.' "
The words that this evil Gehazi are speaking are from his own mind. First of all he lied when he said Elisha told him to ask it of him. This is a bold face lie, there were not two new poor prophets of God that came to the school, but Gehazi wanted the silver and the garments for himself. Gehazi doesn't even have the decency to say it was his ministry, but places the plea on the children, the sons of the prophets. How many times have you seen these beggars plead to feed and clothe the children when you know in your mind that 90 percent is going to built one of his mansions on a religious empire to himself. Gehazi passed the blame off on the two poor boys that just came in off the farm, only there were no boys that came.
II Kings 5:23 "And Naaman said, "Be content, take two talents." And he urged him, and bound two talent of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him."
A talent is according to whose measurement you are taking, but it is a lot of silver. A talent is anywhere from one hundred twenty to one hundred and eighty pounds, and that is a lot of silver Gehasi asked for one talent, and Naaman is going to give him two talents, as well as the servants to help him carry all that silver back home. Gehazi is not only a liar, but he swore before God that he would commit the lie before he had even done it.
All the time that he is doing this evil thing, Gehazi is still the number one assistant to Elisah. He holds the second highest position in the religious world of the prophets of God in that day. This is a type of what is even happening today, an "ensample" of what we can expect even our our day.
II Kings 5:24 "And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed. "
Friend, you had better be careful of who is claiming to be of God, and of those things that they say are of God. You don't have to be around people to long before they show their true colors. Gehazi intended to used his high religious position to deceive others and to line his pockets with ill gotten gains. Gehazi is thinking in his mind that the pension plan of the prophets of that day was not to good, and this will help out. There is no one that will share in the take that he is storing in the tower, for in his mind he is the only one that knows exactly what he has done. God knows what has happened here, and He doesn't like it. How many times have you heard one of the super-preachers beg in their gimmicks and say, "Send your money today!" Wake up to the message that God is sharing with us in this chapter.
II Kings 5:25 "But he went in, and stood before his master, And Elisha said unto him, "Whence comest thou Gehazi?" And he said, "Thy servant went no whither."
Elisha know exactly what happened, for God's spirit had revealed it to him. When Elisha asked Gehazi where he had been, Gehazi swore that he had gone nowhere and that he was going no where. First he lied to Naaman, and now he is trying to cover his lie, by lying to Elisha the prophet. This man is in serious trouble.
II Kings 5:26 "And he said unto him, "Went mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee: Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen and menservants, and maid servants?"
Naaman was prepared to give it all to Elisha, if he just asked for it, and Naaman thought that Elisha had changed his mind. Keep in mind that this greedy Gehazi wanted only a small chunk of the wealth for himself, enough that he could hide from his master, but Elisha was there in spirit and witnessed the entire thing. Elisha was even reading his mind at the time, and to know what Gehazi was thinking. Gehazi thought he got away with something, and that he pulled the robbery off, but there will be a great price to pay for what he had done. Old Naaman was even happy to be ripped of by this super preacher Gehazi, the thought was after all he got something of great value for the silver. Gehazi was not doing this for the school of prophets, but for his own greed.
The lesson here is that we are to be aware of those that will preform liturgical religious duties for their own gain. They are fakes, and you discern what and who they are by testing the fruit. "By their fruit, you shall know them." Jesus gave that lesson in Matthew 12:33; "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit." It doesn't take long to listen to what a man is saying about the Word of God to see if he is producing good fruit or bad fruit. The wealthy woman seeking help for her dead son saw right through Gehazi, and she knew that there was nothing but bad fruit coming from him.
II Kings 5:27 "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever." And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."
Anybody that thinks that they can lie to a true man of God and get away with it has to have rocks in his head. Elisha knew exactly where Gehazi went, and what he had done. He stole not only the silver and garments from God, but he took the glory and honor of God that was in the mind of Naaman. To that point of handing over the goods, it was only God that did the Healing and it was to the glory of God. Once Gehazi took the silver, there became a price for the healing, and the silver never even went to the glory of God. Elisha is telling Gehazi that in spirit he was with him ever step of the way, and I witnessed exactly what you did and what you said in the name of the Lord. Though you try to cover it all up, there is no hiding from a true man of God.
The silver and change of garments simply would do Gehazi no good as a leper, for he would be separated from the rest of society to where those things could not be used. Friend, the most stupid thing in the world that anyone can do is to try to rob God, and lie to Him. That is exactly what you are doing when you say that God said something that is just not true. God knows exactly what he says in His Word, and He also knows the intent within your mind to what you are saying. The only one that is fooled when you try to rob God is you. It is an impossibility to rob God and get away with it, for just beyond this age of the flesh is your presence before the throne of God.
Today there are far worse thing then leprosy that God pays those that think that they can get away with sins against him. There are viruses, aids and all sorts of problems that are the fruit of the sins committed. God has a way of passing judgment in a very natural way. No my friend, nobody gets away with anything, ever! For there are no unsolved mysteries in the court in heaven. God is the judge on the throne, and there are no slick attorneys there, just you and the book and the Judge. God has many was of paying you back for robbing his glory and honor, not only in the here after, but right in your everyday life. God created you and this entire universe, and he deserves your praise of Him.
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