The Cleansing of Naaman (2 Kings 5)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, June 21, 2009.
The Cleansing of Naaman (2 Kings 5) 1. Jesus referred to the cleansing of Naaman, the leprous Syrian, in LUK 4:27-28. A. Naaman was cleansed at a time when many lepers in Israel were not cleansed. (1) Naaman was a Gentile. (2) Naaman was a proficient military leader who had had success against Israel. (3) Naaman was a leper, a societal outcast by Israel's law. NUM 5:2. B. The Jews were outraged as a result of Jesus bringing this to their attention. Mind that all Jesus was doing was pointing out to them obvious facts from their own Scriptures. (1) The Jews' rejection of Jesus was owing to their rejection of their own Scripture. JOH 5:46-47. (2) The Jews' slaying of Jesus was owing to the same fault. ACT 13:27. C. Naaman's cleansing and conversion anticipated the cleansing and conversion of the Gentiles under the gospel. c/w LUK 14:21. 2. Naaman had been used of God to give deliverance unto Syria. v.1 c/w PRO 21:31. A. This was the cause of his being honoured. B. God is the governor among the nations. PSA 22:28. C. God used and blessed the heathen nations with power as He saw fit. ISA 10:5-6; JER 27:5-6. 3. Naaman, like Gideon (JDG 6:12) was a “...mighty man of valour, BUT he was a leper” (v.1). A. Ironically, Naaman's name means pleasantness. B. “Every man has some but or other in his character, something that blemishes and diminishes him, some allay to his grandeur, some damp to his joy; he may be very happy, very good, yet, in something or other, not so good as he should be nor so happy as he would be. Naaman was a great as the world could make him, and yet (as bishop Hall expresses it) the basest slave in Syria would not change skins with him.” (Matthew Henry) C. We do well to come to terms with our weaknesses and infirmities by which God saves us from proud self-destruction and magnifies His grace and strength in our weakness. 2CO 12:7-9. D. Naaman's condition parallels every sinner's condition before God no matter how otherwise favorable his circumstances may be. PSA 39:5; ISA 64:6; ROM 7:18. 4. God had arranged for a little maid of Israel to be taken captive by the Syrians and made to wait upon Naaman's wife. vs.2-3. A. By her, God would introduce Himself to Naaman. God can well use dispersion to spread abroad His name. ACT 8:4. B. Like Joseph in Egypt, she is a model of submission to God's will in difficult circumstances. If she must be a captive servant, she will be a good one. C. Her faith was not abandoned in all this. She still deferred to the prophet of Israel's God as hope for Naaman's relief. c/w 2TI 3:15. D. Her childish simplicity and humility is the basis for service to Jesus Christ. MAT 18:3. E. When things happen that don't make sense, trust the outcome to God and quietly await His salvation. LAM 3:26-27. 5. A bird of the air (ECC 10:20) carried her words to the Syrian king, who took them seriously and acted upon them. vs.5-6. A. The Syrian king mistakenly assumed that the prophet Elisha was sent to due the bidding of the king of Israel. c/w NUM 22:5-6. B. But men of God are sent from God to do God's bidding, which may include rebuking kings. 1KI 18:17-18. C. The Syrian king also assumed that the gift of God may be purchased with money (ACT 8:20), which it cannot. 6. The king of Israel reacted hastily in shock and jumped to a bad conclusion. v.7. A. We are to avoid evil surmising (framing of conjectures; suspicion, esp. of evil). 1TI 6:4. B. Charity “...thinketh no evil...” (1CO 13:5). C. Whereas he recognized that it would take the power of God to heal a leper, he apparently did not think of Elisha, whose miracle working fame had spread abroad but who had earlier rebuked him (2KI 3:10-14). (1) How much is the fool who scorns rebuke prejudiced against obvious good that the rebuker may represent! PRO 15:12. (2) The little maid exhibited more faith and character than the king of Israel! D. Elisha reproved the king again and told him to send Naaman to him that he might know that the prophet of God is the prophet of Israel's God. v.8. (1) Elisha did not go to Naaman. (2) If men would receive benefits from Christ, they must come to Him. MAT 11:27-30. 7. Although Naaman came to Elisha with wealth, great retinue and preconceived expectations, Elisha gave no indication of being impressed. vs.9-10. A. Elisha was not someone who had respect of persons and would cater to wealth or gay apparel. LEV 19:15 c/w JAM 2:1-4. B. Ministers of God are to show no partiality (1TI 5:21) and believers in general are to strive to abstain from appearances of evil. 1TH 5:22. C. That Elisha did not personally appear to speak to Naaman did not diminish the value of the instruction for the power is in the message, not the messenger. 8. Elisha's method of dealing with Naaman did not meet with Naaman's expectations, which made him angry. vs.11-12. A. Often this is the case when church members come to a pastor for help, expecting that his help will really be only a rubber-stamp upon their own ideas. B. Naaman wanted a grand show; he wanted to be humored and entertained by the prophet. c/w JOH 12:9; LUK 23:8. C. Naaman saw no particular importance in keeping the ordinance as delivered. c/w 1CO 11:1-2. D. Naaman seemed to be confusing the benefit with the physical properties of the water. (1) Samson was without strength when he was without God (JDG 16:20). The power and benefit is in obedience and submission, not the creation. (2) The perceived aesthetics of the rivers of Damascus did not make them superior to Jordan. God's work and honour is according to the beauty of holiness, not the holiness of beauty. PSA 29:2 c/w 1CO 1:27-29. E. Naaman went away in a rage, his dignity being trodden down. His pride was his enemy. “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy” (JON 2:8). (1) Satan was controlling Naaman's mind to hold him in bondage to his leprosy and to his idolatry. (2) Naaman's internal conflict peaked just before he submitted. Satan fights hardest when he is about to lose. LUK 9:42. 9. Naaman's servants respectfully bade him to reconsider by virtue of a simple but profound argument. v.13. A. Wise men will receive good advice regardless of its source. PRO 1:5. B. How many, like Naaman, will not follow simple gospel order because they deem that God's purpose is hindered by such simplicity? 10. Naaman yielded up his own resistances by yielding to the word of God, which yielded salvation for him. v.14. A. Having to wash himself seven times would test Naaman's faith; six times would not produce the result. B. Naaman's washing in Jordan is explained as dipping himself in Jordan. (1) The Hebrew word translated wash is rachats, which means “to lave (the whole or a part of a thing): bathe (self), wash (self).” (2) Examples of rachats are also found in SON 4:2; PSA 60:8. (3) Rachats obviously depicts immersion. (4) Here then was a saving cleansing conditioned upon an immersion in water. c/w ACT 22:16. C. Naaman forsook his thoughts and pride to find mercy and grace. ISA 55:7; JAM 4:6. D. His flesh that had been consumed by disease came again in youthful freshness. See here the hope of all suffering believers. JOB 19:25-27. 11. After this, Naaman no longer viewed Elisha as someone who should serve him; rather, he viewed himself as Elisha's servant. v.15. A. Whereas God could have judged Naaman for turning away in a rage, He left open for him a door of mercy which resulted in Naaman returning to God in humble gratitude. B. Naaman confessed, “...now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel...” Elisha's prophecy (v.8) came to pass. C. Naaman emerged from Jordan with not only a renewed body but with a renewed mind! He was converted from the “...power of Satan unto God” (ACT 26:18). D. How much does mercy rejoice against judgment! JAM 2:13. 12. Elisha refused with a oath to accept Naaman's offer of a gift of gratitude. v.16. A. There is a need for discernment in accepting gifts. B. Receiving a gift could damage a testimony. GEN 14:23 c/w 1CO 9:12. C. Sometimes not taking a gift teaches a lesson. 2TH 3:8-9. D. Naaman could return to Syria with a report that God had taken nothing from him but his idolatry and leprosy.