In the ancient world leprosy was a deadly decease because it was incurable. The many references to it in the Bible indicate the decease was widespread. In today’s sermon we are going to consider an incident surrounding the miraculous healing of one such Leper that lived centuries ago. His name is Naaman.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-27
1. The man called Naaman
(A) Problems that man can’t solve – Naaman was a man of wealth and undefeated fame. But his physical condition demanded a supernatural kind of healing not even all of his money could not afford. Even today People like Naaman are not hard to come by. People with wealth and fame but subject to deadly problems money cannot solve.
(B) We can’t fit God into our imagination – Naaman refused to follow the prophet’s instructions because he was received by a servant and expected Elisha to heal him in a predetermined fashion. We need to understand that God is way too big to fit into our imagination. He doesn’t move according to our will (Isaiah 55:8).
(C) We cannot earn God’s favor – The servant’s words to Naaman reflect the nature of the heathen mind. “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?” People are so used to earn the favor of their heathen gods through acts of righteousness; they attempt to earn God’s favor the same way. Nobody can earn God’s favor. But he shows mercy when we obey him.
(D) We can’t bargain with God – Naaman went to meet Elisha like any other heathen going to meet his gods would have done. He took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. But Elisha refused everything. Naaman thought he can strike a bargain with God. He was wrong. We cannot bargain with God. We either surrender ourselves to God and be blessed or forget about him and live under the shadow of our problems.
(E) The life changing power of God – Naaman got down from the chariot to meet Gehazi when he was seen coming after him. Naaman was a changed man now. His encounter with God’s man transformed him. God can change your life as well if you allow him. You alone can stand between yourself and the life changing power of God.
2. The slave girl
(A) God does use ordinary people – Everybody knows about Charles Spurgeon. But it is Mary Cook, a much less known woman who led young Spurgeon to Christ. Likewise we too are ordinary people. But God can use us if we allow him.
(B) Our reward is in heaven – We don’t know whether Naaman rewarded this girl. But when Jesus comes he will reward her beyond measure. People may not see or appreciate what we do for God. But God sees our efforts. There are greater rewards in heaven awaiting us.
(C) Unselfish – She wasn’t obliged to tell Naaman about Elisha. After all she had her own problems. She had been snatched away from her home when she was a small girl and chances were slim she will ever see her family again. Still she was more concerned about the well-being of her master than her own welfare. God expects his children to be unselfish and always be ready to help others.
3. Naaman’s servant
Naaman’s servant encouraged his angry master to reconsider Elisha’s instructions. Naaman did and not only he was healed but got saved. The lesson here is words can break or make a man and even a few positive words can elevate others up to a whole new level in life.
4. The king of Samaria
Jehoram was an ungodly king who did not walk with God always. Sometimes he was gracious to Elisha. Sometimes he was not. (2 Kings 6:31). Sometimes he was faithful to God. Other times he blamed God for the consequences of his own sin. When his faith was challenged, he panicked and failed. Unrighteous leaders unless repented are doomed to fail. So let us govern righteously and God’s grace will always be with us.
5. Elisha the prophet
(A) Elisha was aware of his identity – “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Elisha knew that he is God’s spokesman. Like Elisha we need to be conscious of our Christian identity all the time so that we can bless others.
(B) Elisha knew who God is – Elisha did not receive Naaman the way anyone else would have received a man of such fame. Now Elisha did not want to despise Naaman. But Elisha wanted Naaman to know no body is above God. Not even the Assyrian king. People around us should know know that we serve a God far greater than their heathen gods. How do we do it? By refusing permission to occupy God’s rightful place in our lives.
(C) Elisha’s commitment – The false gods of foreign nations required payments for answered prayers and miracles. Had Elisha accepted the gifts, Naaman could have thought he earned his healing and did not owe his life to God any longer. Hence Elisha refused Naaman’s gifts. Does this mean Pastors must not accept gifts or love offerings given to them by believers? It’s certainly not. However, like Elisha we need to consider the source of the gifts being given to us and be certain our acceptance of a gift shall not become a stumbling to block another person.
6. Gehazi the servant
Gehazi’s actions were driven by greed. He faced critical consequences later. Does this mean God wants us to be poor and needy? The answer is in Proverbs 30:8. “…give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread…” We must learn to become content with whatever God has given us because he knows what we need and what we need not.
Although we meet a variety of individuals in this story about one man’s healing and salvation, I recognize only two categories of people here. People who execute God’s expressed will (Slave girl, Naaman’s servant, Elisha) and people that hinder his work. (Jehoram, Gehazi). So the final thought to take home from this passage is that we can choose to be like the slave girl, Naaman’s servant, Elijah or even Jehoram or Gehazi. Which person do you want to be tonight?
Image: Peter Haden