Naaman's Leprosy | 2 Kings 5

Welcome to Real Life. Some battles cannot be won… apart from God.

Not much frightens me. I’ve faced many foes and walked away the victor. In fact, my courage is legendary in the nation of Aram. It’s why I, Naaman, was promoted to commander of the king’s army.

But, I’ve never faced an enemy like this.

When the skin of my forearm began to itch and flake, I thought little of it... an irritation, nothing more. It was when my arm grew numb and so weak I could barely lift my sword that I became concerned. I am nothing without my might.

The king called in his most skilled herbalists. They treated me with powerful elixirs. But, my condition only worsened. It was the diagnosis I dreaded—leprosy.

When I told my wife, she fainted. Afterward, she could barely eat. She couldn't sleep. She tried, unsuccessfully, to hold back tears in my presence. Her maidservant readily noticed my wife's anxiety. The girl offered a bold suggestion, “There is a prophet in Israel. His God can cure you.”

I scoffed... at first. “Cure me? If your God is so powerful, why are you servant, not master? And, why is Israel subject to Arman, not Aram to Israel?”

“Not long ago, Israel held the seat of power. It is by our God’s hand that the situation turned. He is judging his people for prostituting themselves to pagan gods,” she answered. Then added, “I am neither God nor his prophet. I cannot promise he will heal. But, I can promise that he is powerful enough to heal you, if he chooses to do so.”

Who is this slight bit of a child that refuses to cower in my presence? I could crush her beneath the thumb of my weakened limb. Yet, her confidence in this God intrigues me. What can I lose by visiting the prophet? I have no options left.

I approached my king with the proposition. He was pleased. He quickly addressed a letter to King Joram of Israel. I left, early the next morning, with an accompaniment of the royal guard.

When we arrived at Joram’s palace, he arranged for a servant to lead us to Elisha’s house. Our procession stood waiting at the prophet’s door. But, Elisha himself did not come out. Instead, he sent a servant with these instructions, “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

What? I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?

I turned the chariot and rode off in a rage. However, my servant pleaded, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

Darn it. He was right. Only a fool would allow pride to keep him from being free of this wicked disease. So, I dipped in his muddy Jordan. As I arose the seventh time, my body felt strangely warm. I looked at my exposed forearm. The skin was pink, healthy, completely restored. The numbness was gone. And, I could feel my strength returning.

Hallelujah! Tears of relief cascaded down my face, soaking my beard. I hurried back to Elisha’s door. I had to tell him,

“Now I know that the God of Israel is the only God in all the world!”

Take it further:  Is the God of Israel, the only God? Learn more at or

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