My reading this week included a fascinating, humorous and insightful story in 2 Kings 5:1-14. This is one of many stories in which God uses a Jewish person of no standing to affect a grand international outcome. Joseph, for instance. Or Jesus.
A little captured Israelite became a servant to the wife of Naaman the Syrian army commander. He was a man of valor but had leprosy. The girl said to her mistress, “If your husband knew the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him.” Naaman’s wife passed the word along. The Syrian king said, “go.” He sent a letter to the king of Israel, saying that when Naaman arrives go ahead the cure him. He also sent 75 lbs. of silver, about 120 lbs. of gold and large wardrobe of clothes. The king of Israel had a knipchen fit. “Am I God to heal the man? He’s trying to pick a fight with me.”
Elisha the prophet heard of this matter and said, “Send him to me.” So Naaman arrived at Elisha’s door with his entourage of horses and chariots. But Elisha doesn’t even come out to greet Naaman. He sent a seminarian to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan river seven times. Well Naaman was furious his rude reception and then wash in the Jordan? “I thought he’d come out and at least wave his and call on his God. We’ve got better rivers in Syria, than this piddling Jordan creek.”
But a servant said, “Why not give it try?” “Ok, I’ll give it try.” Naaman washed in the Jordan and his skin came out as soft as a baby’s bottom. When he returned to give Elisha a gift of thanks, Elisha refused. So, Naaman asked to load two mules with sacks of dirt from Israel, so that when he worshipped in the temple of Rimmon, he could kneel on Israeli soil and worship Yahweh.
Thus God worked his promise to Abraham that through his offspring ,“all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”