2 Kings 5:1-14

No doubt, some today might take exception to seventeenth century Bible interpreter, Benjamin Keach, who said, “By the plague of leprosy, all expositors agree, was represented the hateful nature of sin.” (Preaching for the Types and Metaphors of the Bible. Kregel [1855] 1972, pp. 919-20.) But it is a fitting analogy and biblical type. As leprosy poisons and corrupts the body, so sin does the soul. Each tends to spread and worsen. Does any disease make one more repulsive?

Just so is sin detestable to God and to sincere Christians. Sin, like leprosy, is infectious, threatening those around the sinner and separating the one infected from the fellowship of all. And apart from a miracle of God, there is no cure for sin just as until recently there was no medicine for leprosy. The narrative of Naaman in our text is a fitting picture of how God cleanses the sin-sick soul.

I. A good man is not saved by his good qualities (vs. 1).

Naaman had many fine character qualities. He was a good man and a great man “and highly regarded . . .He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy” (vs. 1). No one, however good, is good enough to merit the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

II. No one is saved by human power (vs. 7).

Naaman was a distinguished military hero “commander of the army” (vs 1).He had distinguished himself with notable military success, and was a greatly respected public figure. Still, he could not cleanse himself, nor could he be cleansed by the king (vs 7) or the prophet (vs 10).

So it is with the new birth. When Jesus, the eternal Word, came into this world, “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).

III. The wealthy sinner is not saved by his wealth (5-7) .

Ten talents of silver would be 750 pounds. At today’s rates for sterling, that would be about $84,000. Six thousand shekels of gold would be more than a million dollars in today’s exchange rates. But all the money in the world could not buy a cure for a leper. Nor can it atone for one sin of one lost soul. Elisha the prophet refused all offered gifts to make that plain.

IV. No one is ever saved in his own way (8-12).

Naaman had his own ideas. He thought the prophet should come out and  perform some ceremony, do some ritual or litany for leprosy. The prophet did not even come out to the chariot but sent word for the commander to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan river. Naaman went away in a rage. Interesting, isn’t it, how preconceived notions keep people from God and his offer of mercy. Today’s prevailing religious philosophy is that any religion will do if you are sincere in it. Naaman went away muttering about “I thought this and that.” But after his attendants prevailed on him to try it the way God’s prophet said, he came back saying “Now I know that there is no God in all the world . . .but the Lord” (15-17).

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12).

V.  Like Naaman, every sinner today is saved God’s way (14).

When Naaman did as God’s prophet required “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy” (vs. 14).

Paul and Silas told the jailer at Philippi and his family “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household” (Acts 16:31). “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .” (Rom. 5:1).


Sermon brief provided by: Austin Tucker, a teacher and writer living in Shreveport, LA

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