Explore the Bible Study: God Heals

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We all know people who ignore advice, especially their doctor’s advice. Perhaps we have even been guilty as well. The Explore the Bible Study: God Heals, takes us to 2 Kings 5 and medical advice that was ignored by a captain in the king of Aram’s (modern day Syria's) army. While this passage focuses on physical healing which obviously isn’t always the outcome, we must understand the greater message in this passage as it relates to the spiritual healing that comes when we obey God.

The captain's name was Naaman. He had contracted a serious skin disease, and his wife’s Israelite slave girl said she was confident that the prophet Elisha, Elijah’s successor, could heal him. Elisha’s name means "God is salvation.” He was called to follow Elijah in 1 Kings 19:19, and he spent the next several years as the prophet’s protégé, until Elijah was taken into heaven. At that time, Elisha began his ministry, which lasted about 60 years.

Elisha’s reputation as God’s prophet is what prompted the slave girl to recommend that Naaman visit him to see if he could be healed. As you examine the events and the advice given to Naaman, you will discover the importance of helping others with the biblical advice they need and the importance of listening and obeying the advice when it is given.

We should be ready to help those who are hurting—2 Kings 5:1-6

While we don’t know exactly what skin disease Naaman had, we know his condition was so severe that he obviously was afraid.  Also, it’s obvious that Naaman was well-respected because of his victories and leadership. The pagan king cared for him so much that he was willing to help Naaman, even if it meant sending him to one of God’s prophets in the nation of Israel. 

Do you think Naaman would have ever sought out a prophet of God if he weren't desperate? 

What does the slave girl’s response communicate regarding what you should do when you observe someone who is hurting and desperate?

While the young Jewish captive couldn’t offer the help Naaman needed, she knew enough about Elisha to know God was with him. She knew where Naaman could go to get help. The fact that this great army commander placed confidence in a young female slave in his household indicates how desperate he viewed his situation. At this point he was willing to try anything.

We can’t help everyone who comes to us, but we can direct them to other godly leaders who can help. There is nothing wrong with telling someone, “I know someone who can help you.” First and foremost, we can direct people to Jesus Christ for help.

In Naaman’s case, things were set in motion for him to visit Elisha. But first, he would need to go before the king of Israel with some significant gifts and a letter. The gifts included 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothing, indicating the great value Aram’s king placed on his commander. The letter notified Israel’s king,"I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease." Next let’s notice the response of the king of Israel to Naaman’s needs.

We should trust God when someone comes to us for help—2 Kings 5:7-10

Israel’s king was in such distress that he tore his clothes. His response to Naaman almost sounds like he is mocking him or even wondering if the king of Aram was going to use this situation to pick a fight with Israel. Sadly, the king’s response reveals his lack of faith in God. Additionally, he totally missed the point of what God was doing. Fortunately, Elisha heard about the king’s distress.

Have you ever felt the pressure to help someone when you know you aren’t able? How did you respond? When someone who doesn’t know Christ comes to you for help, do you ever question their motives?

Elisha steps up when the king realizes he can’t! Israel’s king could not cure Naaman, but God’s prophet Elisha could. Elisha directed the king: Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel

Elisha wanted both Naaman and Jehoram (the king of Israel) to know God still reigned. 

Notice Elisha’s instruction to Naaman. It’s simple, yet does offer a challenge for Naaman because he would have to walk about twenty-five miles to the east to get to the Jordan River. Let’s see how Naaman initially responds.

People don’t always like the solutions to their problems—2 Kings 5:11-12

It’s apparent that Naaman had already rehearsed in his mind how his healing would occur. 

  • Elisha would surely come out personally. Instead, Elisha sent a messenger. Elisha had some nerve to do this!
  • Naaman was confident Elisha would stand and call on the name of the Lord his God in some public, visible ceremony. He expected some amazing demonstration of God’s power rather than simply being told to go twenty-five miles to the Jordan River to dip himself seven times. 
  • Naaman assumed Elisha might wave his hand over the place and cure the skin disease. Such an extraordinary gift as curing his skin disease certainly would feature much pomp and grandeur. 

Notice Naaman’s arrogance as well. He saw no reason to wash in the dirty Jordan river when there was much better water in the rivers of Damascus! All this caused Naaman to turn and leave in a rage!

Is this how lost people expect God to work today? Why are they disappointed when God doesn’t work in that manner? Do believers expect this as well?

Pride and arrogance often get in the way of people receiving God’s advice and acting on it. Fortunately, Naaman had some people who didn’t give up on him.

You can’t give up when advice is ignored—2 Kings 5:13-14

Naaman’s servants approached and intervened in the situation. They knew how profoundly his skin disease impacted his life, and they knew he had come a long way to seek healing. They saw the blow to Naaman’s spirit and ego when Elisha did not come out to meet him personally. They also witnessed Naaman’s disappointment at Elisha’s simple directive to go wash in the Jordan River.

Nevertheless, the servants recognized Elisha had indeed given Naaman the solution to his problem. Based on what they knew, Elisha was a man of God, so Naaman should at least try Elisha’s prescription for healing. 

The results!

As soon as Naaman obeyed Elisha’s directive, his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy. Not only was Naaman healed, but his scars were gone and his skin was completely restored! The solution was so simple, Wash and be healed.  We know what this represents. It points to the soul cleansing power of Jesus Christ as we are reminded in the Hymn, “Are You Washed in the Blood?”

Verse 1
Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood, In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb? 
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? 
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Why do lost people ignore this simple yet powerful invitation from Jesus Christ? What can you learn from this study that would encourage you to continue pointing people to Jesus?

Being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, will sound as crazy to a lost person as washing in the Jordan River sounded to Naaman, yet it is the only solution for being restored into a right relationship with God. 

May we be like the Jewish slave girl who sent Naaman to someone that could help when she didn’t have the ability to help; may we be ready to offer God’s instruction as Elisha did, or may we be the persistent friends who don’t give up when someone thinks receiving Christ is just  not the answer they need for their sin-sick life.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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