The last few weeks have been very strange, haven’t they? Just like the coronavirus is affecting many people in our time, a terrible disease called leprosy struck during Bible times. Leprosy was an incurable infection that caused painful lumps on a person’s skin. Often, people with leprosy were separated from their family, cast out of their cities, and sent to live in places called “leper colonies,” kind of like being in quarantine!
Last time, we learned about young people who served the Lord, including an Israelite girl who helped save her master’s life. 2 Kings 5 tells the story: Syrians had taken this girl captive during one of their raids and she became a maid for an army captain’s wife. This Syrian captain was called Naaman, and he suffered from leprosy. The young maid told her mistress that Elisha, a prophet of God in her homeland, could heal Naaman’s leprosy. The king of Syria found out about this and sent Naaman to Jehoram, king of Israel.
Naaman traveled over 700 miles from Syria to Samaria, bringing expensive gifts and a letter from the Syrian king, asking that Jehoram heal Naaman. Jehoram was so upset that he tore his clothes. He didn’t have power to heal Naaman, and he feared the Syrian king’s anger if he couldn’t grant his request. Elisha, the great prophet, heard of Jehoram’s distress and asked Naaman to be brought to him. What a relief for Jehoram!
Naaman soon arrived at Elisha’s house. Imagine his excitement as he waited at the prophet’s door! Instead of welcoming this important captain himself, Elisha sent a servant to tell Naaman to wash himself seven times in the nearby Jordan river and he would be healed. When Naaman heard this,
he was angry! Jordan was a dirty river, not a grand, clean one like Naaman was used to. Prideful Naaman expected to be healed in an impressive way. He stormed off in a rage, ready to go home. But his servants begged him to do as Elisha asked. Finally, Naaman agreed and he washed in Jordan seven times. Not only was he healed of leprosy, but also his skin became like a child’s, even better than before.
What a miracle!
Naaman’s story doesn’t end there: coming from a heathen land, he didn’t know the true God. After being healed, Naaman acknowledged that the God of Israel was the only God in all the earth. He was healed physically, but God met his greater need: healing him of the disease of sin.
Naaman’s story teaches us two important lessons: first, even a child like this young maid can lead someone to Jesus Christ, and second, we must humble ourselves and repent of our sin in order to be forgiven. Do you know Jesus as your Savior? Are you too proud to admit your sin just like Naaman was too proud to wash in the Jordan river? Humble yourself and come to Christ for forgiveness!
If you know Jesus, you are not too young to do something great for Him. This little maid’s name is never mentioned in the Bible, just as your name may never be famous. But we do know what she did for God. I encourage you to read this story in 2 Kings 5 and ask the Lord what you can do for Him today.