SEVEN DIPS IN A DIRTY RIVER
2 KINGS 5:1-15
In the 1780s, Ben Franklin and the Duke of Orleans sent up a hot air balloon
over France. As it descended into a farmer’s field, people rushed at it with sticks, pitch-forks and clubs. They attacked it in a frenzy and beat it, certain it was the moon, having fallen to earth.
Some people don’t like Change, but there is one change everyone needs and that is salvation in Christ which will makes us a new creation.
In this story of Naaman the Syrian, we see a change that resulted in a double healing because firstly he was cleansed from that loathsome disease of leprosy wherewith he was afflicted and secondly he was brought to newness of life; he was brought to faith in Jehovah of Hosts, the living and true God, the God of Israel. How this all came about and the different persons involved in bringing this about make up indeed, a heart-touching story.
I-NOTICE THE MANY CONDITONS OF NAAMAN:
A-He Was A Military Man: 1A
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria , was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria
He was captain of the host of Syria. Although he was a pagan, he was both a great man and an honorable man. By him the Lord had given Syria deliverance.
He wasn’t just some measly one star general he was a five star general in charge of it all. King Benhada had 32 officers under him, and Naaman was over them all.
Naaman wasn’t the commander of some small third-rate army either. Syria was one of the superpowers of its day. Naaman was a military strategist, a warrior, and a leader.
B-He Was A Mighty Man: 1B
he was also a mighty man in valour
He could snap his fingers and men would come running. He had power, position, prosperity, and popularity.
His name means, pleasant to look upon.
C-He Was A Miserable Man: 1C
“… but he was a leper.”
Underneath that glory and honor, that power and position, he was had leprosy.
Back in that day lepers were cast out of society. For the purpose of the public health they were not allowed to socialize with normal people. Normally a big man like Naaman would be given a comfortable place in the palace and would be invited to banquets to tell of his great victories. But instead Naaman’s hands were tied by an incurable disease.
Leprosy in Scripture is a type of sin. One reason is that it was incurable by human means. Only God can cure sin and save a sinner. Naaman had many fine points, but he was a sinner. He tried to cover up his leprosy, but he could not cure it. Many people today whitewash sin. What they need is to be washed white, and only Christ can do that.
There are many folks in the world today about whom nice things can be said although they are not Christians. You can say that they are fine men and women and have done fine things. But you have to conclude it all by saying that they are sinners—“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). No matter how nice people might be, they are all sinners in God’s sight.
It is sad to say, he is a great lawyer but he is lost, he is a great politician, but he is lost, he is a great singer but he is lost, ete.
D-He Was A Merciful Man: 2-3
And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! For would recover him of his leprosy
He received the the mercy of a little maid who concerned about his cure.
This is one of those unknown, unnamed characters in the Bible. She was a young maid, a little Hebrew girl, and a great person.
She obviously had a loving heart, a strongly loving heart, were it not so she would have reasoned thus: "Naaman, no less than the Commander of the Syrian army which has wrought havoc among my people from time to time. He is one of my country’s and my God’s leading enemies. It serves him right! No, she was not like that at all. She voiced her concern.
This little Hebrew maid was in no position to give orders, but one day she uttered a sigh and said, “Oh, that my master would go down and see the prophet in Samaria. He would recover him of his leprosy”—Elisha, you see, had quite a reputation. Well, someone—probably his wife—heard what she said, and it reached the ears of the king of Syria.
(v-4)The king of Syria was delighted to hear that something could be done for this very valuable man, and he immediately sent him to the king of Israel with a letter of introduction and a very handsome reward.
ILLUSTRATION: We are told that in the prairies of South America there grows a flower that always inclines in the same direction. The traveler may lose his way while crossing one of those prairies, and he may have neither compass nor chart by which to steer his course; but, turning to this lovely flower, he will find a guide on which he can implicitly rely; for no matter how heavily the rains may descend, or how violently the winds may blow, its leaves and petals invariably droop towards the north. If, whilst we live, we subserve a purpose analogous to that of this humble flower, we shall not have lived in vain. If we live to God, if we turn to him in faith, and love, and prayer, and service, as the prairie-flower turns toward the north, some seeing our good works, our comely life, will be led to "Glorify our Father who is in heaven. -- B. Wilkinson, F. G. S.
ILLUSTRATION: A man left his house for church one Sunday just as his neighbor was loading his golf clubs into his car. "Henry," the neighbor called, "come play golf with me today." Henry answered firmly, "I always go to church on the Lord’s Day." After a pause the golfer said, "You know, Henry, I’ve often wondered about your church and I really admire your faithfulness. But I’ve invited you to play golf with me seven or eight times, and you’ve never once invited me to go to church with you."
II-NOTICE THE MISTAKEN CONCEPTION OF NAAMAN:
A-He Sought The Wrong Price: 5
And the king of-Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
Ten talents of silver six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold. At today’s rate of exchange that is a fortune
He was willing to pay any price to be released from his affliction - many today try to do the same.
They think that by giving large sums of money to some charity or to some church that God will be pleased.
But God isn’t interested in the size of our bank account - He’s interested in the surrender of our will.
Peter said that our redemption isn’t by silver or gold but by the precious blood of Christ! We cannot purchase salvation because the price has already been paid… Jesus Paid It All
ILLUSTRATION: Dr Harry Ironside said, there are only two religions in the world, do or done. There are those who think they have to do something for their salvation, and those who accepts what Christ has done on the Cross.
B-He Sought The Wrong Person: 6
And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.
This letter from the king of Syria requesting that the captain of his army be healed of leprosy greatly disturbed the king of Israel. He exclaimed, “I am not God. I cannot heal him!” The message had been sent to the wrong person. The king of Israel read the message, but it should have gone to Elisha.
You know today many people are like Naaman. They are spiritual lepers separated from God by their own sin. And many people are seeking some kind of spiritual meaning and center to life. The problem is they aren’t looking to Christ.
ILLUSTRATION: "A. B. Earle tells the story of Mr. McCall who was swimming in deep water and in a cramp or in some way went to the bottom, and filled with water, and while lying on the gravel under water in a perfectly conscious state sought and found forgiveness of his sins through Christ. He was taken out of the water and appliances made and life restored. As soon as he could speak he said to his friends, ’After I filled with water and went to the bottom, while lying on the gravel, I saw everything clearly, and conscious of my sins, I gave myself to Christ and felt that I was forgiven and accepted of him.’ I knew this man for many years after this wonderful conversion. He lived a faithful Christian life, and died a triumphant death."
C-He sought The Wrong Procedure: 11-12
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage
Naaman was upset because he was a very proud man. He had never received treatment like this before. The Lord is not only going to heal his leprosy, He is also going to heal him of pride. When God saves you, He generally takes out of your life that thing which offends. Pride just happens to be one of the things God hates.
Back in verse 10, Elisha had told him to go and wash seven time in the Jordan river.
The Jordan is a muddy little stream. It is not nearly as pretty as some of the streams in Lebanon. He said, “Why in the world should I go and dip in the Jordan? Why not dip in a stream with clean water?”
This has an application for us. A lot of folks hate to come to the cross of Christ. It is a place of ignominy. It is a place of shame. People don’t want to come to the cross. Instead they want to do something great. That is what Naaman wanted to do. Oh, the pride of Naaman! He said the rivers of Damascus were better.
ILLUSTRATION: An umpire named Babe Pinelli once called Babe Ruth out on strikes. When the crowd booed with sharp disapproval at the call, the legendary Ruth turned to the umpire with disdain and said, "There’s 40,000 people here who know that the last pitch was ball, tomato head." Suspecting that the umpire would erupt with anger, the coaches and players braced themselves for Ruth’s ejection. However, the cool headed Pinelli replied, "Maybe so, Babe, but mine is the only opinion that counts."
Regardless of the opinions, ideologies, philosophies & views of this world, there’s a sovereign God in heaven who’s opinion is always right. He planned that Jesus would die on the cross for our sins.
III-NOTICE THE MARVELOUS CURE OF NAAMAN:
A-Notice His Compliance: 14A
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God:
Naaman went down to the Jordan and dipped in the water seven times according to Elisha’s instructions.
He didn’t put it off, but the Bible says, then. He obeyed the Word of God.
He wasn’t like the preacher in the following story I heard about a Church Annual Meeting.
IILUSTRATION: A minister stood up at the Annual General Meeting and said: "If there’s one thing I won’t stand for, Brethren, it’s PROCRASTINATION! All that this church ever does is procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate!" A member stood up, and asked, "What do you propose we DO about it, Reverend?" "Well, for a start," said the minister, "I suggest that we take a long and serious look at this problem when we meet for our next Annual General Meeting!"
B-Notice His Cleansing: 14B
and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean
I would give almost anything in the world if I could have been there and watched him. I think every time he went down into the water he would come up and look at himself. He probably said, “This is absurd. I am not getting clean—I am not getting rid of my leprosy!” Then he went down into the water again. But he did dip himself in the Jordan seven times, and he was healed.
ILLUSTRATION: Scientists have discovered that every snowflake has a tiny piece of dust at its core. Yes, every snowflake has a "dirty heart". In the spiritual realm, when the blood of Christ is applied to the heart of an unbeliever, it cleanses him from all sin. Not a speck of defilement remains, for God removes every stain and washes him even whiter than snow.
But remember while a child of God is made right in his or her position with God through Christ forever, in their practical everyday living, they need to confess their sins to God, and be clean before Him.
ILLUSTRATION: REGULAR WASHING PAYS OFF The sign at a drive-in carwash said: REGULAR WASHING PAYS OFF. It’s not only a message to auto owners, it’s also a reminder of an important spiritual lesson. Just as cars require periodic washings to remove harmful dirt and grime, so Christians need continual cleansing to keep their lives bright and useful.-Ed Wood
C-Notice His Confessions: 15
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
ILLUSTRATION: Harry Ironside remembering what his mother had said unto him. When I was a little boy, how my mother would draw me to her knee and speak to me so solemnly of the importance of trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior, and I would say, "Well, mama, I would like to do it, but the boys will all laugh at me." Mother used to say, "Henry, remember, they may laugh you into hell, but they can never laugh you out of it!"
Do you know Christ Have you been cleansed from sin? Are you living your life in obedience to His Word Will you allow pride to stop you from doing business with God? Come now, and don’t delay.
ILLUSTRATION: A mother living in a tenement house went shopping for groceries. While she was in the store, a fire engine raced by. She wondered, "Is the fire engine going to my home?" She had left her baby asleep at home. Forgetting about the groceries, she ran toward home. Her building had fire hoses aimed at it. It was burning like a matchbox. Rushing to the chief, she cried out, "My baby is up there." He shouted back to her, "It would be suicide for anyone to go up there now; it’s too late."
A young fireman standing by volunteered, "Chief, I have a little baby at
home, and if my house were on fire, I’d want someone to go up to save my baby. I’ll go." The young fireman climbed the stairs; he got the baby, threw her into the rescue net, and just as he did, the house collapsed and he was burned to death.
The scene is 20 years later at a graveside. A 20-year-old woman is sobbing softly. Before her, at the head of this grave, is the statue of a fireman. A man stopping by asks respectfully, "Was that your father?" She replies, "No." "Was that your brother?" "No," she says. "That’s the man who died for me."
JESUS DIED FOR US THAT AS WE RECEIVE HIM WE MIGHT BE CLEAN