The Popular Leper

Daily Reading: (2 Kings 5:1-3):

“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. 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.”

Naaman was leading the Syrian army and what is remarkable is what is said in the very next chapter: “now the king of Aram was warring against Israel” (2 Kings 6:8a). The last thing in the world you would expect is that God would heal the commander of the army who is against God’s own people. But here in 2 Kings 5 God is blessing a Gentile commander. “Through him the Lord had given victory to Aram” (2 Kings 5:1).

Naaman is an unique character. People that have leprosy are avoided and certainly are not popular. Lepers aren’t leaders of armies because they would be in contact with and could infect the might of an entire nation with their leprosy, but Naaman was. Lepers are outcasts of society. Because Naaman is commander of the army with leprosy, we know that Naaman must have contracted leprosy sometime during his command. The Syrian king and the people of Syria are willing to chance exposure to a contagious disease because of all of the success Naaman has brought. They don’t know that God is the one giving the victory.

Naaman means “pleasantness” which is the opposite of his appearance. His leprosy has caused unpleasantness in his life (2 Kings 5:1).All of his victories that he had taken part of were the result of the Lord working through Him. In this part in the story, he has come to a battle he cannot win on his own and he once again needs the Lord to give him the victory over the leprosy. The great thing about experiencing a battle too great for someone is it gives them an opportunity to experience the salvation of the Lord. You see the text says He was a valiant soldier, but even a valiant soldier is no match for and was losing the battle against leprosy.

“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.” God has used the dispersion of His people throughout history to bring knowledge of God to all people. This young Israelite woman whose forgiving actions in the beginning of the story results in the avalanche of events leading to national reconciliation by the end of the story. To love your enemies enough to want to bring healing to their lives, is incredible. This is the Spirit of Christ within us.

After visiting Elisha, Naaman was being asked to acknowledge that there was a possibility that Israel’s God could do something the Syrian god was unable to do (2 Kings 5:10). The action of dipping in the Jordan River seven times would indicate a betrayal of his faith in a pagan god. The reason is that the waters represented the channels of covenantal blessings between the people and their god. Dipping in the Jordan said, only the God of Israel can heal me.

Elisha couldn’t lay hands on Naaman or touch him in any way to cleanse him because a leper was unclean and would make the prophet unclean as well. Jesus doesn’t need a river to heal. By His Word and by His personal touch, the leper in Matthew 8:1–4 was healed. The story of Naaman teaches that how we receive healing and provision is by not trying to deserve it.

That’s how the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian got their miracles (Luke 4:24-27). They were Gentiles and they didn’t deserve it. It was purely by the grace, the goodness, and the kindness of God. The lepers of Israel overlooked the healing that could have been theirs through Elisha, so God healed a Syrian instead.

May this story of the popular leper who was blessed by God all along, who was given the victory over his battle with leprosy because He received the grace of God, bless you today. Naaman forsook the worship of his false gods and pagan idols and became an illustration that Jesus used that shows that healing, salvation, and provision are not given by merit but simply by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Receive your miracle today through the Word and the personal touch of Jesus Christ upon your life.

Adam & Eve & the Pomegranate Tree

Adam and Eve and the Pomegranate Tree | Classic Bible Stories |Jesus is Our Righteousness |Genesis 3 – YouTube

Adam and Eve and the Pomegranate Tree

Daily Reading: (Genesis 3:6):

“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

What kind of fruit did they eat? The apple is ingrained in the minds of many and often is people’s answer.

What if I told you that the fruit that Adam and Eve ate probably but wasn’t the apple but instead was a pomegranate revealed thousands of years later in the construction of God’s Temple? The Bible doesn’t mention what they ate, but it opens up a lot of different possibilities.

“The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:9a).

The reason we landed on apple instead of pomegranate over the history of Christianity happened in the Catholic church with a translation error in Latin. In the Vulgate—the Latin translation of the Bible— “the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” uses the Latin word mălum meaning evil. However, there is another Latin noun mālum which means apple. The two words are almost identical, they are spelled the same ,just with a different accent mark. Because of this, people years ago made the mistake that Adam and Eve ate from an apple tree.

It could have been an apple tree, it could have been a pomegranate or perhaps something else like a quince. Who knows for sure? But my greatest evidence for the pomegranate, stands on top of a pillar at the entrance that leads into the Holy of Holies. For this we must journey together to 1 Kings 7.

“King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was from Tyre and a skilled craftsman in bronze. Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.” Here is a recap of the bronze work Huram did: “The two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars); the ten stands with their ten basins;the Sea and the Sea and the twelve bulls under it the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls. (1 Kings 7:13-14,41-45).

Huram made two life sized trees and Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because the pomegranate is said to have 613 seeds. The number corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments found in the Old Testament Torah (first 5 books of the Bible). So, the pillars are located where? Outside on the porch of the temple before you would enter into God’s Holy Temple. You are instantly reminded in the Old Testament that your sin has separated you from God’s holy presence. The pillars Jachin and Boaz with the pomegranates on them declared Jesus would become our righteousness, granting us access to God’s presence forever. Apart from Him, sin would keep us separated forever. 

Hebrews 6:20 says: “Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek means my King is righteous. Jesus is our righteous King. He was able to enter in past the sign of righteousness (the pomegranates), since He fulfilled the Law’s requirements, and once inside, His blood, our sacrifice, cleanses us forever. And because Jesus will continue as our High Priest forever, we have an everlasting righteousness, because Jesus is our High Priest forever.

The Pomegranate on the pillars reminded the Jewish people that in the garden when God gave only one command, “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17) we failed. Because there was only one fruit on the pillars and the message they communicated, I believe Adam and Eve ate a pomegranate that day.

There was another message about our righteousness written by the man who commissioned the building of God’s Temple with the pillars of pomegranates. The message of the pomegranate (all 613 commands fulfilled perfectly in Jesus) is that the blessings of Christ are perpetually on your life. The Bible says that “blessings are on the head of the righteous” (Proverbs 10:6), and you are righteous forever!