Summary: God works in small ways
• Verse 5. Go to, etc. - It was very natural for a king to suppose, that the king of Israel could do more than any of his subjects.—Wesley’s CommentaryObstacles for God “Not One of Us” From all indications, it would appear that the Syrians are enemies and not allies of Israel. The young girl who speaks of the prophet in Samaria is a captive. Yet, the writer of 2 Kings chose to describe Naaman’s successes as having come from God (verse 1). The answer lies partially in the Old Testament worldview that God is not a regional god, that victory belongs to God (Proverbs 21:31), and that favor is God’s prerogative (Jeremiah 27:5-6).
• Elisha sent - Which he did, partly, to exercise Naaman’s faith and obedience: partly, for the honor of his religion, that it might appear he sought not his own glory and profit, but only God’s honor, and the good of men. —Wesley’s Commentarycure was not to be wrought by the water, but by the power of God. —Wesley’s Commentary
• Obstacle of God “It’s beneath me”
• Obstacle of God “I don’t want too” - Resistance to doing it God’s way (for God’s Glory)
• Obstacle of God “It’s not good enough” Unwilling to the little seemingly unpleasant things – too good to do it
• But when resistance is gone and obedience rules
• God can and does work his way
• Naaman is cleasnsed
• Second leper – one of the “good” guys
• Obstacle for God – “I’ve got a better plan” did what he thought was the right godly but it wasn’t what Jesus told him to do. And so Jesus could do what he had intended or hoped to do.
• Jesus does not wish to be misunderstood: he is not just some wonder worker --physical healing is only an indicator of the Kingdom. For the man to be readmitted to Jewish society, the healing needs to be confirmed by a "priest" (v. 44) - a requirement of Mosaic law ("what Moses commanded"). Leviticus 14 requires him to make certain sacrifices ("offer for your cleansing") so he could be ritually purified. (The "testimony to them" may either be to the crowds or be to the power of God now available to all believers.) Lest he be misunderstood, Jesus continues his ministry secretly, "out in the country" (v. 45), away from the crowds. -But unlike Naaman, the leperer healed by Jesus did not need "the right connections" to have access to Jesus, and he went to him directly for help. No gifts are lavished upon Jesus, no ritual is required and no one "worked the system." Rev. Sr. Thea Joy Browne
• -Like lepers, we are cleansed by the love of God working among us and within us. That is what healing is about and what wholeness is about and what the church and the kingdom of God are all about. Buechner
• We want healing, cleansing but we too put up obstacles
• The only thing that breaks through is love…and true obedience
Healing for all, obedience is the key, God works in the small/little/weak/unseemingly, God’s will/God’s glory/God’s way
Obstacles for God: our unwillingness to be humbled, our unwillingness to get dirty; our unwillingness to hear and obey in ALL things.
Cleansing – restoration of community not perfect solutions, Naaman not one of them, leper didn’t do
Everything God told him to do even though it looked like it, both had been resistant to doing God’s way but in the end both were healed and both were restored to community
• UMBOW 309 (Seasonal, 2 Kings, Mark) blessing 621
• For excellent, fresh opening prayers see Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (Augsburg Fortress), page 65.
• UMBOW 427 (Healing, 2 Kings, Mark)
• For an intercessory prayer form for this Sunday, see Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (Augsburg Fortress), page 51.
"The term willing [NT2309 thelo] is used for delight. It is God’s delight to seek us when we are lost and cleanse us. The term for “God is willing” is also the term for “God’s will.” Furthermore, “God’s will” and “God’s delight” are interchangeable concepts. If we want to be in God’s will then we will seek to delight him. If we want to delight him we must be willing to cleanse others."
Go to, &c. - It was very natural for a king to suppose, that the king of Israel could do more than any of his subjects. Elisha sent - Which he did, partly, to exercise Naaman’s faith and obedience: partly, for the honour of his religion, that it might appear he sought not his own glory and profit, but only God’s honour, and the good of men. Was wroth - Supposing himself despised by the prophet. Are not, &c. - Is there not as great a virtue in them to this purpose? But he should have considered, that the cure was not to be wrought by the water, but by the power of God.—John Wesley