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The Curing of Naaman


October 2, 2022 |The Curing of Naaman | 2 Kings 5:1-19

Pastor JD


(Click here for the sermon audio)


Stories. They grab our attention, they are the way we understand the world. It's why we use them to teach our children.


Today, we find one of those stories that grabs our attention and draws us in.


When it comes to the Bible we often try and read ourselves into the story...asking where am I? This is the wrong question, where is Jesus?


Our story today is a microcosm of the human condition and experience.


2 Kings 5:1-19 (ESV) 1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. 2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.” 5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD. 18 In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”


Three simple questions- who is Naaman, what was his condition, how was he cured?


Who is Naaman?

2 Kings 5:1-19 (ESV) 1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.

Everything we know about him comes from these verses. He is only mentioned in one other place, and it is by the Lord Jesus as an example of God working outside of his chosen people.


How he was described-

Commander of the Syrian army-

Great man with his master- distinguished

High favor- exalted, lifted up (highly favored)

Victorious- God had delivered the Syrian army by him

Mighty man of valor- a man of might

A leper- literal meaning- stricken with leprosy


Imagine how this one thing overshadowed the rest!

He was successful, he was at the top of the ladder, and yet he was a leper.

The people loved him, and yet he was a leper.

He was a successful, rich, well-liked and yet when he laid his head on his pillow, I would imagine his first thought was his leprosy.


Seeing ourselves in Naaman-

Not matter good things can be said about us, there remains this final but...

You can be rich, wealthy, good looking, popular, well spoken, but at the end of your name there is his but...you are a sinner.


Sinners- clings to us like Naaman

All have sinned, the wages of sin is death, everyone has gone their own way, there is none good- no, not one


Since this is a condition of every man, woman, and child, and in this story we have begun to see our own lives, we eagerly ask, what was his condition?


What was his condition?

He was a leper-

(Easton's Bible Dictionary) This disease "begins with specks on the eyelids and on the palms, gradually spreading over the body, bleaching the hair white wherever they appear, crusting the affected parts with white scales, and causing terrible sores and swellings. From the skin the disease eats inward to the bones, rotting the whole body piecemeal."

“In Christ's day no leper could live in a walled town, though he might in an open village. But wherever he was he was required to have his outer garment rent as a sign of deep grief, to go bare-headed, and to cover his beard with his mantle, as if in lamentation at his own virtual death. He had further to warn passers-by to keep away from him, by calling out, 'Unclean! unclean!' nor could he speak to any one, or receive or return a salutation, since in the East this involves an embrace."

Medically Incurable- Nothing could cure his leprosy

Physically Debilitating- A progressive disease

Emotionally Devastating- It doesn't matter what I do, I'm a leper


At least in Jewish culture, socially devastating

This was Naaman's condition.


He gets some hopeful news from the pity of a lowly slave

2 Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.”

Servant girl- what a witness!


See how quickly he reacts to the glimmer of hope provided by someone so insignificant!

5 And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing.

This was a small fortune.


Ten changes of clothes (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary) ten changes of raiment—splendid dresses, for festive occasions—the honor being thought to consist not only in the beauty and fineness of the material, but on having a variety to put on one after another, in the same night.


How our sin is similar-

Incurable- You cannot cure your own sin

Debilitating- It starts small and grows until it affects every aspect of your life

Cuts us off from God- We are people to be pitied


Our condition is similar to that of Naaman. We are walking dead men and women who can only cry "unclean". There is not enough success in the world, not enough money, not enough accolades, and not enough honor in the world to do anything to remove your sin!

How was he cured?

The encounter

9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

Anger- at his treatment

Pride- root of his anger-

He was important!

He had already played out how this was going to go in his mind!


His pride almost caused him to miss his healing!

His anger almost caused him to go home and live the rest of his life as a leper.


13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.


How was he cured?

He was cured by his obedience to the word of God from the prophet of God

- the commanded river, the commanded process, the commanded number of times


15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” 16 But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. 17 Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the LORD. 18 In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.”


How do we respond to our healing?

Gratitude and worship- goes to the prophet

But he learns that God's healing cannot be paid for. He cannot be bought.


Your hopeful news- Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

This takes no account of who we are, what we have or have not done, or how we think we should be saved.


A servant

Your choice

Anger, pride or obedience

Angry because you have an overinflated sense of self

Pride because your way seems better


Hear me- is it not a great thing that the Lord has said- believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved! Would you not do it?


And when you do obey, when you surrender in repentance and faith, just like Naaman found out, you cannot pay for it, you cannot earn it, you'll never pay it back, you will never be good enough to have saved you.


Conclusion-

Tie-in: some of you when you heard the scripture read this morning (Luke 17:11), thought I can’t believe only one came back to thank Jesus, or I would have been the one who came back, I do believe you may have skipped ahead too far in the story. I’m not sure how many would have turned from Jesus and taken the first step towards the priest in the first place.

Because it doesn't make sense. (your still afflicted)

Because it wasn’t like Jesus healed other people. (immediately, dramatically)

Because it wasn’t how you thought it would work. (wash in the Jordan, some kind of action)


Just like Naaman, just like those ten lepers, you have…

…a condition

…a word of hope

…a choice


Will you let your pride keep you from humbling yourself before the cross, in obedience to the word of Christ, or will you turn and live your life unclean.



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