God is good. We live in a broken world, a world of our own making. It is full of evil sickness and disease that we loosed. But God is good.  He offers us hope where there is hopelessness.  He makes good out of our bad. He brings love to the loveless and the unlovely. He heals our sickness and disease.  God is good!

Look at the first passage, 2 Kings 5.1-19.  Sunday night at home church we spoke a lot of healing; physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Monday morning during my quiet time God gave me two passages of scripture. In the first one, God speaks directly about healing. There are some incredible truths in this passage.

It is a story of a man named Naaman.  Naaman is not just some guy.  He is the commander/general of the army of the king of Syria. While the King declared war, Naaman was the one who went to Israel and conquered every city.  He was a hero to the Syrians but a villain to the people of Israel, God’s people. Catch that last part: a villain, evil, and hated by God’s people.  Yet, God put this man’s name in His book as a testimony to the power of God, His forgiveness, His desire to heal. Naaman, his name in Hebrew meaning ‘pleasantness’, was afflicted with an incurable disease called leprosy.  He was beloved by his country, his soldiers, and his king but could not be very close to any of them or he would give them his very communicable disease.

Naaman owned a slave girl from Israel, who knew of the Prophet Elisha and his ability to call upon God for healing. Naaman grabbed at the chance and took a letter of introduction to the King of Israel, his soldiers, and a vast reward for the prophet.  When he got to Israel the response was not good.  The king of Israel thought this was some plot to attack and kill him.  But Elisha told the king to send Naaman to him so that, it might be widely known that “there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

Naaman had an expectation that this mighty man of God, larger than life, would come out and wave his arms around, maybe touch the leper, and Naaman would be healed, he would pay the prophet for the healing and return home a hero again.  That is not what happened at all.  When he got to Elisha’s door, a servant came out and told him to wash himself 7 times in the river Jordan. What?!?  What kind of prophet was this?  He did not even come out to meet this famous man.  Naaman was enraged. He was so mad, this fake snake charmer would suggest something so dumb, so unexpected, that Naaman started to leave for home, hope for a healing dashed again.  But his men suggested that he do what the prophet’s servant had said. And Naaman did.  And Naaman for the first time in a very long time was truly clean, healed of his disease by the miracle of God’s mighty power, there in a muddy river in a conquered nation.  Finally, Naaman would be able to be touched!  He could eat with other people!  He could take a wife and have children!  Hope was restored for a normal life.  Peace came into the heart of the invading, hated general.

He tried to pay for the healing but Elisha would have none of it.  It was God alone who healed Naaman and one cannot repay God.  Naaman then does something very interesting.  He takes two boxes of Israeli dirt home with him so he can pray on top of the dirt of God’s land everyday. He also asks for forgiveness for when he has to help the King of Syria worship his gods.  Remember Naaman has NEVER done this.  No one could touch Naaman due to his leprosy.  But he can foresee a time when he will have to enter the Syrian god’s temple and bow down with the king. God’s prophet says something unexpected here: “Go in peace.” It is okay with God’s representative that Naaman go into a foreign god’s temple and bow down, because Naaman’s heart is on the one true God.  No leader of any church today that I am aware of would say such a thing.  It was insightful and brilliant of Elisha. God judges the heart.  Naaman’s heart is right: his hope is on the Lord God.  So Naaman is made right.  Doing his duty for his king is okay, even in the temple of another god.

What a story filled with implications for us.  I will expound on those in my next post.