Summary: Naaman the healed leper had a very strange request for a souvenir from the prophet Elisha: he wanted all the dirt that two mules could carry. What did he want dirt for? The answer is quite remarkable and challenges even the most spiritual among us to live up to his example.
2 BAGS OF DIRT ON 2 DONKEYS
2 Kgs. 5:14-17
1. Have you ever noticed that things really DO look different from one generation to the next?
2. Janet Krogfus says that since she lives in rural Minnesota (way out in the country), she finds driving in the crowded city of Minneapolis, difficult.
3. She was complaining to her grandson, “I have trouble figuring out when to turn and what lane to be in.”
4. Her grandson’s wife could definitely relate to that problem. “I know what you mean,” she said. “I never know at which cornfield to turn when we come to visit you!” [Reader’s Digest]
14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy. 15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.” 16 The prophet answered, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. 17 “If you will not,” said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord.
1. We all remember the story of when Naaman the Syrian general heard that there was a Prophet in Israel who could heal his leprosy.
2. Israel’s king panicked when Naaman arrived, but Elisha rebuked the king and said “send him to me.” The prophet told him to go the Jordan river and dip seven times. One kid said he thought Naaman “had to dip 7 times because he was so dirty!”
3. Naaman became incensed at the request; “Does the prophet think I need a bath?” Naaman had his own conceptions of how God should perform a miracle. Sometimes we do too!
4. The first 6 times Naaman dipped under the muddy waters, there was absolutely NO CHANGE. Naaman was probably thinking the Prophet was ‘playing him for a fool’ and how he would skewer the prophet afterward.
5. But when he came up the 7th time every trace of leprosy was gone; indeed, his skin had the appearance of the unblemished skin of a child!
6. He was shocked! All his fears of the future – the hideous vision of his nose, ears or lips missing; fingers & limbs eaten off; being an outcast and his slow death, etc., was suddenly gone! No more leprosy! Praise God!
7. But as the story progressed, he came up with a strange request of the prophet; two mules burden of earth. WHAT?
8. That’s what we’re going to look at tonight: “2 Bags of Dirt on 2 Donkeys.”
I. EFFECT OF THE MIRACULOUS HEALING
A. A HEART FULL OF GRATITUDE
1. Naaman returned from the Jordan River full of gratitude and with much humility. With misguided thankfulness he offered the man of God 150 pounds of gold ($3.1 million), 750 pounds of silver ($180,000) and 10 Armani suits, but Elisha vowed he would receive none of it.
2. Think what an honor to God it would be if ALL God’s servants treated the wealth of this world with such holy contempt. Instead, we should show that no earthly riches rival our love for God!
3. Notice that when Naaman couldn’t give his generosity to the Prophet, he had no other outlet but to give it to God! I believe that if Elisha had accepted the gifts, that Naaman would never have asked for the dirt to take back.
B. NAAMAN’S CHANGE OF OPINION
1. Remember, when Naaman arrived in Israel, he detested Israel’s king, he detested its rivers, he detested its prophet, he detested even the very ground of the place!
2. He said, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?” (12)
3. In verses 1-2 the Bible tells how, “through him the Lord had given victory to Aram” and how Aramean troops roved around Israel taking prisoners as they pleased.
4. Verse 7 tells the terror of King Joram when Naaman gave him the letter from King Ben Hadad II. So Naaman clearly saw the pitiful weakness of Israel and felt contempt for them.
C. SUDDENLY ISRAEL WAS HOLY GROUND
1. But after Naaman experienced his miracle, everything around him became sacred. The prophet became an emissary of the True God; the Jordan River became a divine tributary; and even the very ground itself became sacred!