Summary: Naaman’s cure from leprosy reminds us of our forgiveness from sin.
2 Kings 5:1-14: “YOU WILL BE CLEANSED.”
No one likes to be sick, but it happens, it’s a fact of life. When was the last time you were “knocked-off-your-feet” sick? It’s a bad feeling, isn’t it, when you just don’t feel right and you know it, and it’s getting worse, and soon, you can’t do anything you want to do. You can’t work, you can’t take care of the house, you can’t have a normal conversation, you don’t feel like eating or drinking or doing anything, because you are sick.
But what a relief it is when that sickness finally goes away. You never really appreciate being healthy until you’ve been sick. Finally, you can do the things you want to do again. You feel normal. You can work, take care of the house, talk with people. Finally, you’re healthy and you can do all the things you weren’t able to do before.
Today, the Bible describes to us a certain sickness, and that sickness is leprosy. Leprosy is not so much of a problem today, but back in the days of the Bible, it was quite a problem. Today, we’re going to talk a little bit about leprosy, and how it reminds us of another sickness, a bigger sickness that all of us have been afflicted with, and that is the sickness of sin. Today, we’re going to see how God cures us of this sickness, and how he treats us when we have a relapse. May God bless you this morning as he, the Great Physician speaks to you, and shows you how he cleanses your soul.
Today we meet Naaman in our Old Testament reading for today. Naaman was a very important man – commander of the army of Aram. He was powerful and important and successful in the sight of the king and of all the people of the land. But Naaman had a problem – he had leprosy.
Leprosy – the incurable disease of decay. Basically, what was happening to Naaman was that his body was rotting and falling apart from the inside out. Parts of his body had become numb, and had turned a sickly white. Parts of his body were in the process of fall off. Naaman was beginning to smell, which is what happens to people with leprosy, and no matter how many showers Naaman took, the smell wasn’t going away. He was looked upon as a walking dead man – even though he was alive, his body was decaying and dying around him, and there was nothing he could do about it. People were beginning to stay away from him because of the way he was.
For Naaman, perhaps the worst part of leprosy was that feeling of helplessness, as he watched himself fall apart, as he watched how other people would cross to the other side of the street and stay away from him. There was nothing he could do. Things were getting worse, and he could feel that sense of utter helplessness, and hopelessness. At times he felt numb – nothing but despair, and desperation. Naaman seemed to have everything together, but it was all falling apart, and deep down, I’m sure he was wrestling with all kinds of demons as he dealt with the disease of leprosy.
Doesn’t this remind you of the disease of sin? Like Naaman, you might be someone who has it all together on the outside. A decent job, a decent family, a few friends, money in the bank. On the outside, you seem to have it all together. But, like Naaman, you know that this isn’t the case. Naaman had leprosy, and you have sin. Spiritually, you are rotting and falling apart from the inside out. This is something you have been born with – a soul full of sin. Have you seen the symptoms in your life? Sometimes you can feel that sense of emptiness – the world so pointless – that is symptom of sin. You see all those the mistakes you keep making in your life – more symptoms of sin. All those moments of complete, utter selfishness, those moments when you give in to temptation. And then you feel that guilt.
You’ve tried to change. You’ve tried to fix yourself. But sin is incurable, and deep down, you know that’s true. Sin won’t leave you along, and you feel that sense of helplessness and hopelessness. At times, you feel despair and desperation. What am I to do with my sin? We all have it, and, just as leprosy results in a terrible death, so also sin, results in a terrible eternal death in hell. What am I to do with my sin?
Naaman was told about the prophet in Samaria who could help him. How desperate Naaman must have been, that he would go to a foreign country and seek the help of a foreign prophet! I’m sure this looked a lot like desperate people today, who fly across the world in order to visit a witchdoctor for some incurable disease.