Story of Recovery
Today I wanted to tell you the story of Naaman in relationship to recovery. The story of Naaman can be found in 2 kings 5.
“Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. ” – 2 Kings 5:1
A few governors back the governor of South Carolina was discovered to be having an affair with a lady in another part of the world. People all over the state respected the man, but when this part of his life was brought to light, life became hard for him and he finally stepped down. Naaman was a Godly man and people looked up to him. Somehow he contracted leprosy.
Back then leprosy was worse than if COVID and ebola had a baby. you were shunned by people. In fact, many people were burned alive. However, Naaman was a well-respected man, and God had a plan.
“Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”” – 2 Kings 5:2-3
God placed one of his own in the life of Naaman. She loved people so much, even though she was a victim of kidnapping, she told her “master” how he can be healed. God places someone like that in our lives. It can be a friend, it can be a family member. For me, it was the Holy Spirit who nagged me. This person helps or is helping you now take the next steps in moving forward. If you listen to them, they will tell you what to do. Naaman heard healing, and he went to his boss.
“Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”” – 2 Kings 5:4-6
One of the amazing things I find in this story is God didn’t just put the young lady in his life, but also a trusted friend. Someone who encouraged him to go get the healing he needed. King Aram even gave him money and clothing. he truly believed that he can be healed. If you open up, you will find people around you who want to see you free from the addiction that is controlling your life.
“As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”” – 2 King 5:7
Instead of going to the prophet as the young lady told him, he went to the king instead. King overreacted and made a fuss. I find this part of the story interesting because it shows how just missing a single step can put you off for a while. In fact, missing the “prophet” step almost caused a war. Often times we want to skip steps. The one-step we all want to skip is the inventory. Yeah, it doesn’t work like that.
“When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” – 2 Kings 5:8
Thankfully, God had someone there ready to help him get back on track. That’s true in our lives as well. God will have someone ready to help you get back on track if you skipped the steps. What is cool here is Naaman went. He could have said screw this crap and left, but he chooses to go.
“So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” – 2 Kings 5:9-10
Upon arriving at his house, Elisha didn’t come out to greet him. Instead, he communicated to Naaman through a messenger. Often times we want God to shine a bright light on a billboard with bold letters or something crazy like that. My favorite part of bruce almighty is when Jim Carry is driving down the road asking for a sign and there are literally signs everywhere. Yet he still gets hit by a truck. Naaman didn’t like what he heard and how it was presented. Isn’t that true in recovery? At first, we don’t like what we have to do.
“But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.” – 2 Kings 5:11-12
Instead, he screams and shots about the steps he needs to do to be healed. I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP THE PILLS! I DON’T WANT TO PUT A FILTER ON MY PHONE!… Yeah. For me, I didn’t want to relive past rapes over and over until I was free. I didn’t want to forgive those who hurt me to be free. I even tried different ways of “healing.”
If Naaman was to be healed by water, why not the good stuff. Jordan wasn’t clean water. I have to admit, when I first started, I didn’t want to be seen going into a recovery meeting. That was me trying to control my recovery.
God’s way is the best way. But once again, God provides people in our lives to talk some sense into us, and to help us let go of the control we have over our healing.
“Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” – 2 Kings 5:13-14
He finally gave in to God’s command. He went down and dipped himself 7 times into water that was pretty gross. At the 7th time, his skin was restored. Not only was it restored, but it was also restored like a child. An better healing than he could have imagined. An interesting fact here, an average person relapses 7 times.
Another interesting thing I have seen is once someone has recovered one of the things they want to do is to give back. Sometimes God asks people to give back with money, sometimes it’s time, sometimes it’s just being healed. To be the example of God’s power. Jesus often times asked people to keep quiet about their healing knowing that they would not. That is the case with Naaman. This free healing was mind blowing to Naaman.
“Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.” The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused.” – 2 Kings 5:15-16
God heals because it’s who He is. The gift of Salvation is free because Christ died on the cross for us. He became that sacrifice. We can’t control the healing, all we can do is accept it. Sometimes that’s harder to do than to be healed. Naaman is an example of letting go of control. This was hard for Naaman. He had to let go of how he saw healing. Then let go of the idea that healing cost. Once he accepted those two, he even wanted dirt to make sure he didn’t bow in someone else’s temple.
““If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. 18But may the Lord forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant for this.”” – 2 Kings 5:17-18.
Have you ever gone to church, and been so excited about what happened at the church that you ask for the dirt to fill up your house with? Yeah, neither have I. That’s what we call excitement right there. All Elisha could say was “Go in Peace” – 2 kings 5:19. (AKA, Get out of my house you crazy person you.)
A warning for us Christians
Satan has power in this world and he will use the idea of making money from other’s recovery to break us.
““Go in peace,” Elisha said. After Naaman had traveled some distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”” – 2 Kings 5:19-20
Gehazi could have said no to this thought, but he let it play out in his mind. The bible is clear to watch out, if you are thinking you are standing strong, less you fall. It wasn’t until after Naaman left did this thought enter his mind. So, he had a chance to say no to it.
“So Gehazi hurried after Naaman. When Naaman saw him running toward him, he got down from the chariot to meet him. “Is everything all right?” he asked.22“Everything is all right,” Gehazi answered. “My master sent me to say, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’ ” “By all means, take two talents,” said Naaman. He urged Gehazi to accept them, and then tied up the two talents of silver in two bags, with two sets of clothing. He gave them to two of his servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the things from the servants and put them away in the house. He sent the men away and they left.” – 2 Kings 5:21-24
So instead of saying no, he ran after him. I use to love running, but as I have gotten older and fatter, my love of running has faded away. Naaman was even kind enough to package up the silver and clothing. He even sent his two servants ahead of Gehazi to deliver them. Gehazi was “smart” and even planned out how he could get away with it. However, once again, God has someone waiting.
“When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves?” 2 Kings 5:25-26.
When Gehazi came back to his master, his master confronted him. A lot of times when we go to pray after we have sinned, the Holy Spirit will confront us on our sins. This is an amazing and scary feeling. In the case of Gehazi, it was scarier because it came with a punishment.
“Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.” – 2 King 5:27
The bible has a repetitive nature to itself. Later Jesus talks about a house being cleared out of demons. Later that demon comes back and sees the house is clean. So it goes and gets 7 other worse demons… There’s that 7 again… And they come into the house. Elisha gave Gehazi the leprosy. White mage much Elisha? God has this power. So, take this as a warning.
Whatever stage you are at in your recovery, there is always someone there. It’s hard to see them, but God has placed people in your path. Whether it’s a good friend or the teenage girl from bilo, God will speak at each point during your recovery. He tells us He is in control and we need to let it go. He has us, and it will be Ok.
If you are struggling with an addiction, It’s ok to get help. God is poking you. It’s time to stop screaming at people and move forward. It’s time to be free.