Have Faith That God Will Provide Medical Help
August 21, 2017 Year A
2 Kings 5:1-14
You know how it feels to go to the doctor when you have a problem. You ache, hurt, or see a clear disease or problem with your body and yet you won’t go. That is the feeling Naaman had about his skin disease.
He continued to work hard as the commander of the army for the king of Adam. Instead of going to the local hospital in Damascus, Syria, he continued to ignore his skin disease (2 Kings 5:1).
“Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a man important to his master and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was a valiant warrior, but he had a skin disease.” (2 Kings 5:1, CSB)
Aram had gone on war raids where he picked up a woman to give his commander a servant to his wife (2 Kings 5:2).
“Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife.” (2 Kings 5:2, CSB)
So the young lady and Naaman’s wife were talking one day and the wife mentions that she is concerned that Naaman hasn’t gone to see the doctor. She knows that there is a doctor (a prophet) who could heal him (2 Kings 5:3).
“She said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.”” (2 Kings 5:3, CSB)
Naaman hears about it and reluctantly tells his boss the king of Aram (2 Kings 5:4).
“So Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said.” (2 Kings 5:4, CSB)
The king puts his commander Naaman on medical leave and sends him off to see the prophet for help (2 Kings 5:5).
“Therefore, the king of Aram said, “Go, and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.” So he went…” (2 Kings 5:5, CSB)
His work release form included items for the king of Israel (2 Kings 5:5-6).
“…So he went and took with him 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read: When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.” (2 Kings 5:5–6, CSB)
Like a modern American insurance company, the king of Israel slows the process down. He is upset and complains about having to cure a foreigner from another country (2 Kings 5:7).
“When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and asked, “Am I God, killing and giving life that this man expects me to cure a man of his skin disease? Recognize that he is only picking a fight with me.”” (2 Kings 5:7, CSB)
Even though the king of Israel doesn’t have compassion for Naaman, Elisha does. He calls for the patient to come to his house (2 Kings 5:8-9).
“When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house.” (2 Kings 5:8–9, CSB)
The doctor/prophet prescribes the medicine, and sends a physician’s assistant to tell the patient that he should wash himself seven times in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5:10).
“Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your skin will be restored and you will be clean.”” (2 Kings 5:10, CSB)
Like some patients, Naaman doesn’t like to take his medicine. He wanted a quick fix. He wanted to be healed without any effort on his part (2 Kings 5:11).
“But Naaman got angry and left, saying, “I was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the skin disease.” (2 Kings 5:11, CSB)
He even complains about the services of this medical center (The Jordan River Hospital). He says that the Abana River Hospital and the Pharpar River Hospital has much better service and facilities (2 Kings 5:12).
“Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and left in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:12, CSB)
Of course, Naaman’s family tells him that he should listen to the prophet/doctor (2 Kings 5:13).
“But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he only tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’?”” (2 Kings 5:13, CSB)
Naaman follows the instructions of the prophet/doctor and is healed of his skin disease (2 Kings 5:14).
“So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.” (2 Kings 5:14, CSB)
The key to this passage is the fact that one needs to have faith even when one receives medical help. One needs to trust that God knows what He is doing. If you want to get better, you need to follow the doctor’s directions, take your medicine, and trust God with the results.