There are many times throughout the Bible wherein one person coming to know God personally results in entire groups or nations coming to Him. Philip witnessed but to one Ethiopian who would bring the Gospel to his entire nation; Solomon won over the Queen of Sheba; one little boy’s lunch of fish and bread was used to feed thousands. It’s the repeated demonstration of our willingness to be a conduit of God’s Word in every circumstance so that HIS name is multiplied, not our own.
Read verse 1
Q: What is so unusual about Naaman?
A: He is a Gentile from the nation of Aram, but it is widely recognized that God has used him greatly. One might refer to him as a conduit of God, someone through whom God worked, even though he’s not an Israelite.
Q: What other famous Jew came from Aram?
A: This is a trick question, because Abraham—also from Aram (see Deuteronomy 26:5)—is not actually a “Jew”, a term that will come into use much later, but the father of many nations including Israel. The point, however, is that there seem to be people from this country that continue to believe in the One True God.
Q: Does being “used by God” mean the same thing as having a perfect relationship with God?
A: No. There are many cases where people and nations are used by God for His purposes who themselves don’t recognize God as their Lord and Savior. However, the hint here is that everyone including Naaman himself is aware of something special in regards to the Lord.
Q: What is obviously different about being a leper in Aram as opposed to Israel?
A: Lepers were allowed to go about their life and business as anyone else; in Israel they were separated from the general population and direct contact was prohibited.
Read verses 2-5
Q: Who also appears to be a “conduit” or messenger of God?
A: The captured Israelite girl.
Point: In spite of her personal circumstances, she is still thinking of and espousing God and has become a witness of Him.
Q: Why would Naaman be inclined to take such riches with him? Is it a sacrifice or gift for God?
A: More likely it’s because the false prophets, magicians, and seers of the day were paid in such a manner. He’s probably still thinking in pagan terms that the power is with the Elisha the prophet, not Elisha’s God.
Read verses 6-7
Q: Why is it probably logical that the King of Aram would write such a letter to the King of Israel?
A: At that time, false prophets, sorcerers, and such were most often paid members of a king’s staff. It would probably be logical to the King of Aram’s mind that a prophet he assumes works for the King of Israel must have that king’s approval. The King of Aram is working according the spiritual principles as he understands them, not according to biblical standards.
Q: What is the good news about the King of Israel’s response to the letter? What does it indicate about him personally?
A: He recognizes that he is NOT a conduit of God and makes no pretense that he is able to do God’s job.
Read verses 8-14
Q: Is Elisha boasting about himself when he states “he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel”?
A: No, it’s a way of stating that the evidence of a true prophet of God is the reputation and power of God Himself. Elisha is stating in a colloquial manner that it is GOD’S name that will be glorified, not Elisha’s, and therefore the truth will become evident.
Q: So why does Elisha send a messenger instead of meeting with him personally?
A: Elisha is still bound by the Old Testament Law which stipulates that he cannot have direct contact with a leper. In addition, it’s an effective method by which to deflect attention from himself and direct it entirely to God, for Elisha’s presence is not what’s required but God’s.
Q: Why is Naaman perturbed?
A: Things aren’t happening the way he had planned or imagined. It’s an indication that the real issue at hand is God’s working on Naaman’s heart, and that things have to happen on God’s terms, not Naaman’s.
Q: What is the lesson we should learn from Naaman’s belated obedience?
A: That what God desires is that we ultimately come around to submitting to Him and His ways, even if we digress a little.
Q: Why do you suppose it took seven times before Naaman experienced healing?
A: Most likely it’s the breaking down of self and submitting to God’s ways, reflecting Naaman’s real need to forsake his own ideas and embrace God’s ways. It’s what was necessary to break Naaman’s pride.
Q: Of what is Naaman a representative or picture of spiritually?
A: Baptism, which is supposed to be the external indicator of a changed heart resulting in being cleansed from all sin and made new and whole.
Read verses 15-19
Q: How do we know that the right spiritual result was achieved in Naaman?
A: He recognizes the source not as Elisha but God.
Q: How do we know that the right spiritual result was achieved in Elisha?
A: He refuses to take any credit for what God has accomplished.
Q: What is the most likely reason Naaman is requesting to take some of the soil of Israel back with him?
A: To make an altar to the One True God, something separate from similar altars already established for the false gods worshiped in his homeland.
Q: How do you explain Naaman’s final apology and Elisha’s seeming approval for Naaman to bow alongside his king but to only sacrifice to the One True God?
A: Naaman is an example to us of someone that must live IN the world, but not OF the world. Having gone through a type of baptism and having a born again experience that changed his heart, he is now a TRUE example of someone that God works through from the heart, not just as a result of winning a battle. His example will serve as a much greater witness. In the end, NAAMAN is the conduit of God by which others will come to know the One True God.
Are you now or have you ever been like the little girl, in less than ideal circumstances? Did your witness continue? Do you recognize that God uses such things for HIS purposes?
Have you ever been in the position of the King of Israel, requested to be involved on a level for which you have no authority? What is the proper reaction? How do you direct them to the right source?
What is the right response when God uses you as a conduit of His power, work and/or message? Are we always careful to exalt His name to the exclusion of our own?
How have you been like Naaman at any point in his life? Do you realize the need to come to God on HIS terms? How are you an example to others in what God has done in your life?