II Kin. 5:1-6:7
Even though there was a period of relative peace between Israel and Syria, there were raids in which Syrians would capture Israelites and bring them back as slaves. One such Israelite girl was slave to the wife of Naaman, a chief Syrian army commander. He was afflicted with the dreaded disease, leprosy. The slave girl knew of Elisha and suggested that Naaman contact him for healing.
A letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel seeking Naaman’s healing was misinterpreted as picking a fight. However, Elisha did get involved and sent for Naaman to come to him. Even in his miserable condition, Naaman was a proud man. He arrived at Elisha’s door in his chariot bearing expensive gifts for his healing.
Man sometimes expects one thing from God and receives something entirely different. Naaman was expecting an elaborate healing ceremony, but instead only a messenger from the prophet came with instructions to dip seven times in the Jordan River. He went into a furious rage. Surely the waters of Syria were better that the waters of Israel! He wanted to substitute his way instead of God’s way. (Sounds like men today.)
Sometimes it takes someone of lower rank to inject reason into their superior. Naaman’s servants said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” He then humbly dipped seven times in the Jordan and his skin became like the flesh of a child and he was clean. (When one humbly submits to being dipped in baptism, he becomes clean from all of his sins.)
Elisha refused to take his gifts, but in greed, his servant Gehazi overtook Naaman on the road. He falsely stated that Elisha wanted a talent of silver and two changes of garments for two young sons of the prophets who needed them.
One cannot fool God. Elisha questioned his servant regarding the gifts and stated, “Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.”