This Week's Story

A mighty Syrian warrior seeks a cure for the leprosy mutilating his body.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

A Strange Prescription

Naaman’s appearance shocked his family and servants as he returned home from military duty.  He felt their eyes staring at him.

He still had the body of a powerful warrior, but his head and face were being mutilated by disease. Bald scaly spots had replaced much of his thick black hair.  His eyebrows had become small patches surrounded with unnaturally white skin.

He heard his son ask, “Mother, what’s wrong with Father?”

“Son, he has leprosy.”

“Will King Ben-hadad replace Father with a new commander?”

“Not yet.  Your father is a great leader.  He has led our troops in many victories and is greatly admired by the king.  In Syria lepers can keep their jobs, as long as they physically can handle their responsibilities.  We don’t know how much longer Father will be able to command the Syrian military.”

That evening Naaman’s wife said to him, “Please hear me carefully.

The new slave girl from Israel told me today, ‘There is a prophet named Elisha in my country of Israel, who could heal my master’s leprosy.  I wish Master would go to him.’  My husband, I want you to ask the king to let you travel to this prophet.”

Naaman thought, “ I feel that my strength is leaving me.  If there is any possibility of being healed, I will seek it.”  He said, “My wife, I will ask King Ben-hadad’s permission to go to Israel.”

The king agreed with Naaman’s request.  “Before you see this Israelite prophet, take my letter of introduction to Israel’s king.”

Soon Naaman and his staff officers travelled to Israel with horses and chariots, taking gifts of clothing, gold, and silver for the prophet.  When Naaman handed King Joram the letter of introduction, the king read it, and abruptly left the room.

King Joram was frantic.  He ripped at his clothes and shouted, “Why does King Ben-hadad send me a message that reads, ‘With this letter I present my servant Naaman.  I want you to heal him.’  How am I to heal Naaman?  Ben-hadad wants an excuse to send his military forces against Israel.”

Elisha, the prophet, heard of the king’s distress.  Joram did not know what to do.  Elisha knew King Joram cared nothing for God’s prophets or asking for God’s help.

Elisha sent King Joram this message: “Tell Naaman to come to me.  He will learn that there is a true prophet in Israel.”

When Naaman went to Elisha’s home, he was not invited inside. Jewish laws forbade contact with lepers.  Elisha asked a messenger to tell Naaman, “Go to the River Jordan and dip into it seven times.  Then, you will be healed.”

Naaman was enraged.  “I thought this prophet would come out of his home and meet me.  He could have waved his hand over me and called on his god to heal me.  If I want to wash myself, I’ll do it in one of the rivers in my own country.  They are better than any river in this country.”

His staff officers urged him. “If you had been asked to do something difficult, you would have done it.  Please follow this prophet’s directions.” Naaman was proud, but he was also honorable.  He thought of his family, his king, and his men.  He went to the River Jordan and dipped into it seven times.  As he stepped from the river, his flesh was as smooth and healthy as a young child’s.

When he and his men returned to Elisha,  Naaman spoke humbly.  “At last I know there is no god in the world, except the god of Israel.  Please accept gifts from me.”

Elisha replied, “I will not.  Go in peace.”

This is Barbara Steiner with a Bible story of a proud and humbled man. Please check out thisweeksstory.com.

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