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Tuesday, June 10 2014
2 Kings 5: The Healing Of Naaman
"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"
Naaman was a Syrian military commander (see also 1 Kings 20: Benhadad of Syria) who was suffering from one of the most terrible and feared diseases of all of human history - leprosy. A captive Israelite girl, who became a slave to Naaman's wife, told her mistress that there was a prophet in Israel who could cure Naaman. The matter came to the attention of the king of Syria who sent a letter, along with a great amount of silver and gold, to the king of Israel for a cure for Naaman.
"5:1 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.
The Syrian king's letter was delivered to the king of Israel, who became very much dismayed at the official request because the king himself had no God-given power to heal. The prophet Elisha, who, by means of the Holy Spirit, did have the power to heal those who had faith, heard of it and went to the king to offer assistance (see 2 Kings 4: The Beginning Of Elisha's Miracles). Elisha sent a message to Naaman to "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean."
"5:6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
Rather than receiving Elisha's message with thanks, Naaman instead flew off into an vain nationalistic rage. Why, he asked, should he go to the waters of the Jordan, when the rivers of his hometown Damascus were far greater in size and beauty? The answer: because what Elisha told him to do was a matter of faith and obedience to God, not of water. It wasn't about the Jordan being "better," it was about faith and obedience being necessary.
"5:11 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. 5:12 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 Kings 5:11-12 KJV)
Naaman's servants did not have their master's arrogance, and fortunately for Naaman, he listened to their plea to simply and humbly do what the man of God told him to do to be healed. The healing was not about a matter of "our rivers are better than your river," it was about faith and obedience to the God who has the power to heal. Naaman finally realized what he must do if he was to be healed.
"5:13 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? 5:14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." (2 Kings 5:13-14 KJV)
The incident also recorded a lesson about honesty. Naaman offered to pay for his healing, but Elisha refused. "But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him." It was a costly mistake for Gehazi, as declared by Elisha: "The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow."
"5:15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
Fact Finder: What did the Messiah command regarding lepers?
This Day In History, June 10
323 BC: Alexander the Great, Macedonian king, died at age 33 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids and The Prophet Daniel: The Ram and The He Goat).
1190: During the Third Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), Frederick I Barbarossa drowned in the Saleph River while leading his army to Jerusalem.
1285: King Philip III of Spain was succeeded by Philip IV.
1307: Robert the Bruce, Scottish king fought an English attacking force of cavalry under Aylmer de Valence at the battle of Louden Hill in Ayrshire.
1503: Christopher Columbus "discovered" the Cayman Islands (it wasn't a discovery for the people already living there). All of the four voyages of Christopher Columbus to "America" were actually only to the islands of the Caribbean (see Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy and the map below).
1610: The first Dutch settlers arrived on the wilderness island that is known today as Manhattan.
1655: Jamaica was taken by the British after being held by the Spanish for 161 years.
1692: During the Salem, Massachusetts witch trials, Bridget Bishop was hanged at Gallows Hill for "certain Detestable Arts called Witchcraft & Sorceries" (see also What Is Sorcery?).
1774: King Louis XV of France died of smallpox. He became king at the age of five on the death of his great-grandfather, Louis XIV.
1791: The British Parliament passed the Constitutional Act following the arrival in Canada of 10,000 more Loyalist refugees from the revolution of the New England colonies (most of the Loyalists were hard-working, conservative people who had been successful in their businesses, professions or trades in New England). The Act divided Canada into two provinces, Upper Canada with a capital at Newark (Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario) and Lower Canada with a capital at Quebec City ("Upper" and "Lower" Canada were geographic terms simply based on the flow of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River toward the Atlantic Ocean).
1794: Elizabeth, the sister of French King Louis XVI, was beheaded.
1796: Napoleon's Army of Italy defeated the Austrians under Baron Beaulieu at the Battle of Lodi, southeast of Milan. Over 2,000 Austrians were killed or wounded.
1798: British explorer George Vancouver died. He sailed with Captain James Cook to Australia and New Zealand and to the west coast of North America where Vancouver Island and Vancouver B.C. are named after him.
1809: Pope Pius VII excommunicated Napoleon for his decree to annex the Papal States as part of the French Empire.
1857: The Seepoys of India revolted against the British rule.
1871: France and Germany signed a peace treaty in Frankfurt by which France ceded Alsace-Lorraine.
1898: During the Spanish-U.S. War, U.S. Marines invaded Cuba.
1933: Nazis in Berlin burned books by Jewish authors, including those by Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1940: Winston Churchill took over as British Prime Minister after the resignation of Neville Chamberlain (see also A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1940: Germany invaded Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium.
1941: Nazi government member Rudolf Hess flew a Messerschmitt fighter from Augsburg, Germany and parachuted out near Glasgow, Scotland, with his unauthorized "offer of peace" with Britain. He was imprisoned for the rest of his life.
1967: Day 6 of the "6 Day War." At the end of the conflict, Israeli casualties: 759 killed, about 1,500 wounded, 40 aircraft, 80 tanks. Arab casualties: 30,000 killed and wounded, over 450 aircraft, 1,000 tanks destroyed or captured. Within the newly captured territories, Israel also found itself with over 1,000,000 new Arab "subjects": 670,000 in the West Bank and Jerusalem, 356,000 in the Gaza Strip, 33,000 in Sinai, and 6,000 in the Golan Heights (see A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace and Israel's Wars In The Twentieth Century).
1989: The official opening of Skydome in Toronto.
2002: The first direct electronic communication experiment between the nervous systems of two humans was accomplished, in the United Kingdom.