Summary: I want us to look at three angry men in the Bible and see what we can learn from each one.
“He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly”
A plot to murder a third grade Center Elementary School teacher in Waycross, Georgia, was thwarted Friday, March 28th when a student told authorities about the plan just before the start of the school day. The students -
Eleven of 12 students, girls and boys (8 and 9 years old), schemed to murder their teacher, Belle Carter, taking with them to school a steak knife, a roll of duct tape, handcuffs, ribbon and a heavy crystal paperweight.
The detailed plan gave to the students specific assignments, such as taping paper over windows and wiping up blood after it was all over.
Why would they want to do such a thing? Because they were angry at the teacher for scolding one of the students, who stood in a chair.
We live in an angry society.
An important business executive boarded the New-Orleans-to-Washington train. He was a heavy sleeper, and he needed to be awakened in order to get off the train in Atlanta about 5 o’clock in the morning. He found a porter and told him, "I want you to awaken me in order that I might get off the train at five o’clock in the morning. Now I’m a heavy sleeper," he said. "It doesn’t matter how much I fret and fuss and fume or what I do to you — I have to get off the train in Atlanta. If you have to remove me bodily," he said, "you get me off that train in Atlanta."
Well, the next morning he awakened about 9 o’clock, having slept all night and having missed Atlanta, speeding toward Washington. He located the porter and really poured it on with all sorts of abusive language, almost attacking the poor guy bodily.
After he left, someone said to the porter, "Wow! That the maddest man I ever saw!"
The porter said, "That ain’t nothin’! You think he was angry-you should’ve heard that guy I put off in Atlanta this morning!"
Ben Franklin once said, "Anger is never without a reason, but seldom a good one."
I want us to look at three angry men in the Bible and see what we can learn from each one.
I. THE ANGRY SINNER (2 Kings 5:11,12)
"A great man ... but he was a leper."
Now, leprosy was so terrible disease that the basest slave in Syria would not change places with him even if they might have his greatness.
Leprosy is an illustration of sin. When God wants to picture the awfulness of sin, leprosy is used.
A leper was considered unclean. God’s law for Israel required lepers to cry, "Unclean, unclean" to warn people of their presence.
Anyone who has ever seen pictures of those in an advanced state of leprosy knows how terribly disfiguring leprosy can become. What was once beautiful and attractive becomes grotesque and loathsome. The leprosy took all the luster off Naaman’s accomplishments.
Leprosy numbs the feelings. Lepers have been known to have parts of their bodies (fingers and toes) chewed off by rats as they slept because they could not feel the rat chewing on them. Naaman would eventually be unable to feel the sword in his hand.
In Israel the leper would be banished from society regardless of whom they were. Leprosy would separate one from family and friends.
Leprosy dooms an individual to a premature death, for in Bible times man had no remedy for it. A leper was beyond any human aid.
A leper was a walking sepulcher. The only cure for them was found in God.
Any garment that was found defiled with leprosy was burned. Leprosy destines things for the fire. There is only one place for sin, and that is in the fires of God’s judgment. It is sad to think of millions of spiritual lepers being consigned to the eternal fires of hell because they have never trusted Christ as their Saviour.
Naaman is a picture of thousands today, fellow men and women, decent, moral, kind, but they have sinful hearts. They are unbelievers and are therefore spiritually diseased and doomed without Christ.
Elisha tells Naaman what to do about his leprosy. In verse 11, Naaman became very upset.
A. The reasons for his anger
1. Upset concerning the Man of God
Naaman didn’t receive the proper respect from the preacher he thought he should have got. He should “come out to me.”
2. Upset concerning the Message of God
He was upset because he was told to wash in a dirty river. He was an important military officer. The Jordan River was offensive to his pride; the cross is offensive to man’s pride today.
Naaman WISHED TO BE TREATED LIKE A GREAT MAN THAT HAPPENED TO BE A LEPER; Elisha treated him like a leper that happened to be a great man.