Please, Give it a Trial Sir
The story in chapter five of the book of second Kings is unique story because it involves important person who was not a native of Israel and how he was healed. Jesus himself in Luke 4:27 makes a reference to the story.
e-sword says the story in the book is perhaps written around 894 BC. How this man contacted the 'lepromatous' bacteria that caused such infection on him was unknown, for in my opinion he was likely not to have been a leper before he joined the military of Syria and rose to the position of the captain or general in the land.
Be it as it may, the man contacted this disease and all attempts at him getting healed proved abortive however for his experience and expertise in what he has chosen, the king allowed him in conjunction with others to continue to stir the ship of the military of the land.
It is no gain saying that when one sees an experienced person and someone who has been gifted in what he or she is doing even when the person says he wants to retire people will not want him to.
Despite trying all healers in the land of Syria with nothing, he yet did not lose hope as per his healing he still continues to believe that he would be healed for assuming he did not believe he would be healed and had lost hope when he was contacted that there was a prophet in Israel that could heal him he would not bulge.
This should speak something into our minds as believers that, if we are alive, it is not over with us, it is only the dead that is over with and for.
This article is centered on the verse thirteen of the chapter five of the book of second Kings. For easy grasp I will try and bring us to speed of salient things about the incident before getting to that verse.
Bringing Someone to Speed
The story in the chapter is centered on an honorable man in the land of Syria called Naaman, a captain in charge of the soldiers in the land.
“Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.” (2 Ki 5:1)
Naaman in Hebrew is written as “נעמן”, Romanized form is na‛ămân (pronounced as nah-am-awn') which means pleasantness. It is no gain saying from the account about him in the first verse of chapter five that he indeed brought satisfaction to the king yea the nation of Syria. The town and nation were comfortable having him as the leader of the soldiers of the land.
When we have a capable hand managing our properties, homes and other things we shall be comforted and would not query his judgement because we trust him. That was the position he occupied in the land in the heart of the king and many more in the land. they felt their businesses were secured, children secured, homes secured properties and all what not secured because he was in charge and in control.
He has a maid, one of the hostages of war which was from Israel and this maiden was concerned with the health of his master on getting to the house and told her mistress what he believed.
While given the message to her mistress, a person overheard her and went and told Naaman what he heard the maiden tell his wife.
“And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.” (2 Ki 5:4)
Because this man has not lost hope of him regaining his health, he decided to act on what was told and went to the king to tell him what he heard for he would like to embark on the trip to the land to try his luck.
The king thought it would not augur well for a person of his caliber to leave for another nation without him writing to the authority of the country that he was going to that he should be accorded due respect and attend to immediately.
Thus, the Syrian King took his pen to write the king of Israel, Jehoram and to go with some material gifts for the king to show their hearts of appreciation as the custom of the Israelis were given gifts to one another.
However, when the letter got to the King of Israel, he termed it to another thing while discussing the content of the letter with his cabinet members.
Prophet Elisha got to know of this worrying development and sent message to the King that he should bid the person to come to him and he will know that there is a prophet in the land.
“And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” (2 Ki 5:8)
When the news got to the king, he sent message to Naaman and they turned their chariots from where they were lodging, “five-star-like” hotel in the land and headed towards the house of the prophet.
Soon enough, he got to the prophet’s house and his servants, sons of the prophets go in to the prophet to tell him that he has a visitor.
“So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha.” (2 Ki 5:9)
What he was expecting when one of the sons of the prophet enter to tell their master of his presence was not what happened.
1. A Servant Was Sent
The prophet bon receiving the message that captain Naaman has arrived sent one of his servants to go and tell him what he needs to do, he did not bother to leave what he was doing to attend to him since the job was not directly related to him.
However, the man thought he would have at least honored him to come out and deliver the message to him himself knowing the caliber of person he is in the society.
“And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” (2 Ki 5:10)
Another thing I thought about the servant that was sent was that the servant would probably be the least of all the sons of the prophet, perhaps the newly enrolled person in the school of the prophet, for that is what the prophets and leaders in this part of the world do, a least person, newly enrolled person is the one who shall be sent to go and deliver such message to him because other old sons of the prophet would be attending to other important matter more than that. Delivering a message to him needs no special skill neither experience in doing the work.
Thus, I think the person sent would not be Gehazi because he would be one of the leaders of the sons of the prophets then. (2 Ki 4:38)
2. Captain Naaman’s Assumption
After the servant of the prophet has delivered the message, we discovered that well before captain Naaman got to the place he has carved a picture in his heart of what would happen to him there for the caliber of person he was.
“But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” (2 Ki 5:11)
This perhaps was how he was being treated and attended to by different healers that he had approached in the past, they placed him high and would dare not send a messenger to him but would come out by themselves to address him.
Matthew henry in his commentary on this place says that prophet Elisha knew Naaman to be a proud man and he would let him know that before God all men stand on the same pedestal.
Sometimes we like Naaman also act when we are looking unto God for something we would have painted something in our hearts of how God would work of whom the Lord will use for us and when we paint such picture in our hearts our focus would be shifted of the God whom we claim to be going to, whom we claim to be talking to and would be based on how we want it done for us.
When we do this, it is no gain saying that we block our view of heaven for that would hinder us of getting that thing that we earnestly hoped for from Yahweh.
We compare things when we think we are bigger than something or that what we are told could possibly not work, and this was what he did.
The captain started comparing the rivers which the prophet directed him to, to those rivers in his country, being familiar with the topography of the land, he thinks the man belittles him by telling him to go and bathe in river Jordan. He has completely forgotten or better put ignored the clause attached to the message, that bathe there, and you would be clean. He was thinking that kind of bathe has to do with some tourism kind of bathe being observed when by the side of a river or oceans in some parts of the world.
“Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Ki 5:12)
e-sword in her commentary says this about Abana and Pharpar. Abana or, Amana, this river is evidently the Barrada, or Barda, as the Arabic renders, the Chrysorrhoas of the Greeks, which taking its rise in Antilibanus, runs eastward towards Damascus, where it is divided into three streams, one of which passes through the city, and the other two through the gardens; which reuniting at the east of the city, forms a lake about five or six leagues to the south-east, called Behairat el Marj, or, Lake of the Meadow. Pharpar was probably one of the branches.
The placement of those rivers in the land of Damascus makes them beauty to behold, thus the man could belittle river Jordan that he it was not up to the standard of the rivers that surrounded his nation.
How erroneous we sometimes be on this kind of issue, behaving as captain Naaman when God instructs us to do some certain thing and we would then place what he has instructed us to do by the side of some the things that we have done in the times past.
4. Left in Anger
After all those comparisons and assumptions he left the place in anger, obviously determined to bring to pass the assumption of the king which was that he was seeking for an occasion to attack the country. Now as he left in anger, he has a locus standi to attack the country and I foresee that when he would be coming to attack the country the center of focus would be the prophet’s place, the person who has ridiculed him, belittle him before his servants and the sons of the prophets.
5. Please Give it a Trial Sir
His servants having patiently been observing their master for a while, when be beacon to them that they need to leave the place and be on their way home, they moved to him, with one of them probably being their spokesperson and talked to him.
Benson in his commentary says, the servants know that their master is a man that could be reasoned with, having been steps away from him for a while as the customs of master servant relationship is, then draw confidence from their earlier interaction with him that he could be reasoned with and move near him to reason with him.
“And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, my father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean?” (2 Ki 5:13)
(a) How Many Servants
All the servants were those that moved close to him because they know his caliber, their interactions with him over the years have proven that he is a reasonable man.
(b) They Talk to Him Respectfully
The word, “my father” is said to imply respect and affection to the people of the orient. (1 Sa 24:11; 2 Ki 6:21) They did not command him but talked to him in a loving manner having thought about what they have passed through before on seeing that his body be restored to normal.
(c) Their Points Were Well Set Out
They pointed out to him that he should not belittle what the prophet has said, though, they perhaps did not expect that the prophet would say something like that too neither how he behaved to him. But what does it matter, assuming he behaved as he had expected and did not heal him would they be happy? Assuming he has said they, should do terrible things like getting the foreskin of people as king Saul said unto David would they not gladly do that? (1 Sa 18:25) At least they have gone to other places where nothing happened and where they perhaps may have done greater things than what the prophet demanded of him to do yet no changes in his body. Now that the prophet has said, he should go to the river and bathe and his body would return to normal, they implore him to reconsider his stance and do what he said.
(d) Please Don’t Make up Your Mind Like That
They emphasized to him that he shouldn’t make up his mind like that on what the prophet has bid them to do, he should ignore whatsoever lapses he may have seen in the delivering of the message and the message itself and do what he has bid him to do.
A man that would be saved would ignore all the lapses he may see in the message and or how the message of Christ is being presented to him and accept the gospel into his life and ways of living. For some would look at the presentation of the speaker, some would stay by how the words are being set out, the bible nor well pronounced or those not well quoted and would say this person is neither learned nor vast in the scriptures. We should not look at that but should look at the focus of the message which is Jesus Christ.
(e) Their Love for Him was Revealed in the Presentation
Their love for him, having been taken care of them, having prioritize their matter, they in their discussion with him shows how caring they are for him, his wellness and would not want them to miss the opportunity, they would not want them to leave the place without given what the prophet said a trial, that would be a big error on their paths.
6. He Yielded to Their Counsels:
Having said all that they needed to say unto him, he did not turn down what they have said, but agreed with them that what was said needed to be acted upon. It is no gain saying that no matter how stone hearted a person is, when the counsel is presented in a loving manner, it would be yielded to.
People neither listen to some counsels today nor yield to them because the presenters most of the times present the counsel in a wrong way.
He did not belittle his servants, he listened to them and all was well with him.
John Ruskin says, there is no surer test of the quality of a nation than the quality of its servants.
The minute thing,
insignificant thing before us that we have been asked to do may be our saving grace if we can do them and do not ignore it. The word of grace is today ignored by many because people consider it too cheap, too trivial to be true, because we place it side by side with those things we have done in the past and feel this is too cheap to be real. The word of salvation is repent and believe Jesus and you would be saved together with your household. (Act 16:31) If you can give this a trial today as Naaman gave it a trial those days, you will see the changes in your life.
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