The account of the healing of Naaman’s leprosy is found in 2 Kings 5. If you don’t know the story, read it here, then check out the following lessons we can learn about God from this one small Bible story—lessons that will bring blessing to our lives beyond all our expectations as we learn to trust and obey the God of the Bible.
- God redeems seemingly impossible situations. Naaman is a great man–powerful, successful, well respected, but he has an incurable skin disease that is ruining his life. The story of his healing is an emotional roller coaster. He is flung back and forth between hope and despair, experiencing anger, humiliation and frustration until he finally finds the healing he longs for. Does that sound like your life? Do you ever feel like you’re being jerked around by impossible circumstances and/or people, and that there will never be a positive resolution of your problems? What can you learn from Naaman’s story? God is in the business of redeeming impossible situations. All that’s needed for the ultimate triumph is a bit of trust and obedience.
- God uses lowly people. Did you notice who the positive, proactive characters in this story were—the ones who drove the action? Was it either of the two powerful kings involved? Or the great Syrian army general? No. Slaves were the catalysts—the ones who instigated the action every time. They steered the main character in the right direction. Without them the story would have gone nowhere. Naaman’s slaves were the influential people in this story, not either of the kings nor the general with his mighty horses and chariots.
- God’s love overcomes bitterness. Naaman’s enemies were the ones who brought him to a place of healing. They were Israelites who had been stolen from their homes and forced to serve their kidnapping slave-master, yet they cared for him. They cared enough to plead with him when he would have walked away from his happy ending. These lowly people may have been slaves on the outside, but they were free on the inside. True freedom is always an internal state of being, and God’s love is able to give us that freedom if we are willing to submit to Him and receive it.
- God rewards obedience. In the end, Naaman chose to obey God. Yes, he was reluctant. He walked away at first. But finally, in the throes of doubtful desperation, he obeyed, and it was that obedience that released him into his healing. Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, made a different choice. He disobeyed, and earned Naaman’s curse on himself and his descendants as a result. What does this tell us about the importance of the rule of God in our lives? About the role our choices play in determining the consequences we experience and the direction we go? Happy endings are only available to those who choose to obey.
- God’s ways are not our ways. There were rivers in Damascus where Naaman lived. Why did he have to go to the Jordan? And why did he have to dip seven times? God’s ways are mysterious. They don’t always make sense to us, and He does not go out of His way to explain what He is doing and why. God’s instructions to Naaman through Elisha required humility, trust and blind obedience. There will be times in our lives when we are required to simply trust and obey, no matter how foolish God’s ways seem to us. But, His ways are always the best. Trust and obedience will always be rewarded.
- God’s plan is global in scope. The Old Testament is a history of the Jewish people, God’s “Chosen Ones,” but in so many Bible stories we see God using Israel to bring Gentile people and nations under the umbrella of His mercy and blessing. In heaven, we may find ourselves standing side by side with people from the ancient, idolatrous city of Ninevah because they repented of their sins through Jonah’s preaching. One or two of the mighty rulers of Babylon may be there because they met a young captive Israelite named Daniel. The Persian emperor, Xerxes, married to a young Jewish maiden named Esther, may be on his face beside us, joining us in worship of the One true God. God’s redemptive plan is broad and deep. His choice of Israel was the beginning of that plan. When His plan is complete, we’ll all be in heaven together, rejoicing at the wonder of His great wisdom, power and grace.
The Bible is an incredible book. It’s the story of God’s sovereign, supernatural interaction with ordinary human beings who have been given the freedom to make choices that influence the course of their lives and of human history. Amazing! What an awesome privilege it is to be involved in the narrative that is His Story. These six truths are all we need to know to live triumphantly, no matter what our circumstances are in life.