An Unlikely Convert

Title: An Unlikely Convert

Bible Book: 2 Kings 5 : 1-19

Author: William R. Shively

Subject: Grace of God; Salvation; Naaman; Humility; Faith



God's grace is amazing. Every person who is saved came to God the same way. "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). Spiritually speaking, every man is bankrupt, a pauper. God offers salvation as a free gift. Jesus paid in full our debt of sin. All of us would be like the unlikely convert in our text if it wasn't for the grace of God.



The King of Syria looked upon Naaman as a great man. He was the commander in chief of all of the armies of Syria. Naaman had given Syria a great victory. The people looked upon Naaman as a hero. He was a mighty man, a courageous man, a man of honor.


Naaman had a horrible sickness. He was a leper. Leprosy attacks the nerves of the body. Leprosy begins as a small, red spot on the skin. As the disease worsens, people would lose their fingernails and toenails. People with leprosy lose their teeth. As the leprosy continues, it would cause the nose and even the eyes to rot. The largest number of deformities develops from the loss of pain sensation due to extensive nerve damage. A person with leprosy does not feel the pain of being burned with fire or the pain of a broken foot. The person with leprosy will eventually die.

In the Bible, leprosy is a symbol of sin and its awful consequences. Sin starts out small but then spreads like leprosy.

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15 KJV)

No remedy was provided for this fearful disease under the Mosaic Law. The leper’s healing was left entirely up to God.



This young maid was an Israelite by birth. She was taken in slavery and then carried as a captive into Syria. This young Jewish girl had been taken from her family and from her nation.

She did not allow herself to be in despair by her circumstances. She must have had a good relationship with Naaman and his wife. This little girl had earned the respect from her master and his wife.

B. HER BELIEF. (v. 3)

As a child, this little girl had a good home where she was taught about God. We see the importance of children being raised in a home where God is honored and worshipped. She believed in the God of Israel. Her faith in God prepared her for that moment.

The young girl knew of Elisha and the miracles that he had performed. Although Elisha had cleansed no leper in Israel before, she believed the God of Elisha could heal Naaman of his leprosy. This little servant girl was fearless in sharing her faith with her master's wife.

The name "Elisha" means "God is salvation." She proclaimed the good news of salvation to Naaman, the leper.



A great lesson is given us in the reaction of the kings. Politicians and presidents do not have the cure for man's greatest need, but God does!

The little maid had said nothing about "the king of Israel," but had specified that Naaman go to "the prophet that is in Samaria." Instead, Naaman went to his king who told him to go see the king of Israel. "And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment" (2 Kings 5:5). This would be a very large sum of money today. Many sinners have wrongly believed that the blessings of God can be purchased or even merited.

The King of Syria sent the letter requesting that the king of Israel heal his servant, Naaman, of his leprosy. The king of Israel responded on reading the letter, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me" (2 Kings 5:6-7). He thought the king of Syria was trying to pick a fight with him.

The reply from the king of Israel indicated his unbelief. He did not know the prophet of God or the power of God.

Naaman was without hope for a miracle of healing until he received a word from Elisha. "Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel." (v. 8)


This man of honor and power had to be broken before he could receive God's blessings. His pride was worse than his leprosy. He was dying with leprosy but he was already dead spiritually.

"So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha" (2 Kings 5:9).

Elisha sent his servant to tell Naaman,"Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean." This was a simple command. Naaman was offended and was angry. He assumed that Elisha would come out to him and call on his God and perform some magical act to heal him. He thought Elisha would wave his hands over him and say a few words.

It was even worse when Elisha told Naaman to wash in the dirty river of Jordon. Naaman knew of cleaner rivers back home in his own country. He went away in a rage.

Naaman's servant spoke to him words of wisdom. He calmed his master from his rage by saying, "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?" (2 Kings 5:13 KJV)

If Elisha had asked Naaman to pay a large sum of money, he would have. If Naaman had been asked by Elisha to sacrifice 1,000 animals on the altar, he would no doubt do it quickly. Elisha's command was simple, but humbling. Naaman's pride was pricked at Elisha's command of dipping seven times in the Jordon.

God had other plans for Naaman. God offers healing by His grace as a gift. It would require faith on Naaman's part. Humbled and broken, Naaman was ready to dip in the river Jordon. He was a desperate man in need of a miracle.

C. HEALING OF NAAMAN. (v. 14-19)

Naaman, knowing this was his only hope, did exactly what Elisha told him to do. He took the step of faith and trusted the Word of God spoken through Elisha.

"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 5:14 KJV)

God's response to Naaman's faith was complete. It was a miraculous healing that took place. Naaman learned that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

This miracle was performed without Elisha being there at the river. This was an act of God and not some sort of magical spell. God was glorified and Naaman was healed of his leprosy.

After his miracle of healing, Naaman returned and wanted to give Elisha a gift, but Elisha refused his offer.

Naaman was in need of a greater healing, the healing of his soul. God saved Naaman and changed him into a believer in God. Salvation is such a simple thing. The Bible says to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." (Acts 16:31)

Notice his confession. (v. 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." (2 Kings 5:15 KJV)

Notice his change. (v. 17) "thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD." (2 Kings 5:17 KJV)

Notice his conviction. (v. 18) "In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing." (2 Kings 5:18 KJV)


1. Leprosy in the Bible is a picture of sin. There is no hope unless God intervenes.

2. Salvation is received on God's terms and not on man's terms. You cannot bargain with God nor buy salvation from God.

3. Salvation is a free gift to those who will receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.


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