|설교본문||2 Kings 5:1-14|
|설교 한 주일||September 4, 2011|
“Wash and Be Cleansed”
2 Kings 5:1-14
(Reading of 2 Kings 5:1-14 – NIV)
1 Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” 4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!” 8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” 11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 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?” So he turned and went off in a rage. 13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 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.
Naaman was good, smart and strong. He was highly respected by his king. I believe he has high social status but he had leprosy.
What if you have leprosy in your life, not only your skin but some side of your life? Besides that you have everything – you have position, you have healthy body, or everything – upon that you have also leprosy. Our life seems like that. We have a beautiful mind maybe. We have beautiful sight, beautiful appearances, good looking; but, above that we have also leprosy. What is that? That is a sin. Nobody can deny so do I? Everybody has sin. The problem is nobody can remove the sin by themselves.
In the Bible, there is Aram which is also Syria, one of the lands in Canaan. Beside of that, there were many tribal groups. One of the tribal groups in that moment was Aram. Of course, it’s quite far from Samaria where the capital of Israel is and from Damascus, the capital of Syria. In Aram, there were many gods and goddesses. When God led His people from Egypt to Canaan, God gave His people the law in Mt. Sinai that you shall not worship any images for God has no any image yet we believe and worship Him. God has no turning shadows but the gods and goddesses in that area had many images. Some has twelve breasts so there will be much milk for the people. Anyhow, the function of gods and goddesses in that time was that to act like a fertilizer for the people in that area. So the people believed. They believed Atragatis, Qudsh and to some that emphasized some organ of women so that it gives many children. Some god and goddess are associated with the name of the god and goddess in other culture. They believed and worship them to get as many as grains from the harvest.
When you see Judges 10:6, “The children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Yahweh, and served the Baals, and the Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook Yahweh…” not only one but they believe everything, they worship everything. “Oh, this might give me many children! Oh, this god and goddess might make me rich! I worship. Never mind if it’s imported or exported, whatever, never mind from where even from Moab. It’s okay because I don’t see God.” How people of God are doing there? Brothers and sisters, even in these days the people go somewhere if there’s something. Often, they forgot even worshipping the Lord; make themselves busy with other business forgetting all the promise and covenant made between God and His people. They desert God. The people of Israelites in that place Canaan did not serve God.
There’s one man named Naaman. He was an Aramean General, a very high rank. He was also highly regarded, highly respected by his king. However, he was a leper. Some says that what Naaman had was not leprosy; it’s only skin disease. It’s not really severe because it’s only skin disease. We don’t know what kind of problem Naaman had. You may say that is only skin disease but skin disease is more hard to cure than curing leprosy. What if you have skin that became like this? “Oh, it’s only skin disease, very simple!” Is it very simple?
In the land of Aram, there was a king who can give full support to General Naaman. There was royal assistance, full support, and full assistance from king. Naaman could have all things. It is good, isn’t it if I have support so I can go to the hospital? But many cases brothers and sisters, things are happening in our lives; when God is working, it’s only God can solve. In our life, if you believe in Jesus, if you are in the family of Jesus Christ, many things are happening in our life which there’s no way to solve by yourselves. It looks easy but it may remain in your life for long, long time just like very small popped and remain under your skin that is hard to remove and always hassling you. In our spiritual life as well, you may say that leprosy is easy. You can say some problems that the other people have is okay. It’s not okay. If there’s something happen in our lives which comes from our Lord, you have to find the right place and the right person. Who knows where is the right person, where is that right place? Nobody knows. Only you may know in your prayer. God will teach you how to solve.
There were many gods but those were helpless for his disease. He had money, I think. He had many gods. He had many doctors, I think. Often we say, “If I have money I can do this…if I have doctor…if I have this, I can solve the problem.” I told you before that things never turn out as we expected if the thing is always associated with the spiritual life. Seems like he had everything; however, there’s no solution for him at all. What about you dear brothers and sisters? Do you have anything that you’re struggling of so far and you don’t know how to solve that one? If you have, you come to this church on time and listen to the word of God.
Do you have assistance from royal family or Spanish Kingdom or Malacañang? Maybe you have, but I don’t. So, you rely or expect something because in case of emergency you have him or her so you trust him or her more than you trust the Lord. If I were in your shoes, I’ll never do what you are doing. I’ll never trust anyone. I trust in God.
Naaman brought hundred kilograms of silver and gold, not only one gram but 236 kilograms of silver. He brought that gold, silver and garment to see the king of Israel. This history happened in that country, Aram. In Aram, there are no one who believe in God; king, people, no one at all. They are unreached people group – no television, no Christian broadcasting company in Aram. But, one small maid of his wife said, “If my master could see a prophet in Israel, he could heal your disease.” The general of Aram had everything but had nothing when the problem of sickness comes. One small girl, one maid from Israel looks she had nothing but she had everything even the solution for her master. She said, “There is a prophet in Israel for you…” from a small maid working for a household. Brothers and sisters, maybe you can see yourself and you make yourself down, “I am nobody, I am useless…” something like that. But brothers and sisters if you have God, you have everything. Trust Him. He created this heaven and earth. He is your God.
The first call – your calling and my calling that I want to share you today – is you are called to tell that there is a prophet in Israel so in the same way; there is the way in Jesus. If the people are lost, if you see he or she has no any life, that’s your calling just like a small maid said, ‘there is a prophet for you in Israel.’ ‘There is one way for you in Jesus Christ,’ that is your call.
When you see 1 Kings 22:1, in between two countries – Aram and Israel – they fought each other all the time. According to the Bible, for three years there were no any battle, no any war. Maybe they have peace agreement or something like that. In that time, God did something so the king of Aram sent his personal letter to the king of Israel saying, “Dear King of Israel, please heal my beloved soldier, Naaman. Thank you.” And then when the king of Israel saw that there was one letter with soldier and chariots and many people come around, the king was thinking, “Oh, they want to break the peace agreement between us…” And then he started to read, “Leprosy? I’m only a king!” When real problem comes in our lives, you realize who you are. If you are enjoying your life, “I am somebody…I can do this…” But when the real problem comes into your life, “I am only a king! I’m not God!” You can see two kings – the king of Aram and king of Israel – but even two kings had no any solution for one disease. Do you still trust that greedy assistance from that worldly power brothers and sisters, and then you make yourself so much proud, “I have connection in Malacañang…I have somebody in blue house…”
This is another calling for you, when you see verse 10; it says Naaman was so upset because the prophet never greeted him at front of the gate. And then the prophet says that he should go to the Jordan River and wash himself seven times. That’s it; he could not see the prophet face to face. But one servant says when Naaman was so upset, he said to the master, “Dear Master, this is what I heard from my prophet…” We never open our mouth when you see the people around you. We my open our mouth to speak of the words which God has spoken to us. If God says ‘yes’ we have to say ‘yes’. If God says ‘no’ we shall say ‘no’. His master says, “Tell him go and wash your body seven times in Jordan River.” Many cases, we refuse, “Oh, no! If I would tell it to the king or Naaman, he might kill me. It’s non-sense, Master. You have to read the time, this is the modern time. You are old-fashioned. You have to interpret the Bible correctly…” But brothers and sisters, I challenge you once again: tell to the people what God has spoken to you exactly. That is the second call for today.
And he said, “Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan…” In our position today, “Go confess your sins to God in the name of Jesus to be saved.” That’s how we have to serve. That’s how the Holy Spirit spoke to us today.
General Naaman is standing before Elisha. One general who already has been healed is now standing before the prophet, man of God named Elisha. However, Elisha never stands. He was not standing before the general. Naaman brought such a great amount of gift. Elisha refused to accept. This is the third calling today to you and me: let’s stand just before God, not before the general. People has tendency to bow down before the generals, powers. Let’s learn how Elisha was doing. Three callings that I would like to share with you today and these we can learn from the Bible.
God is working in no place which means not only in our place, not only in our church. God is working in that place where my enemy is living. Brothers and sisters, if you have someone that you hate, to kill, God loves him or her maybe more than He does love you because He is the lost or she is the lost. That is our God. Why in the Israelites, there were people who were suffering from leprosy but what did Jesus say in Luke? “There’s only one man in that time; in the Aram, one soldier was healed.” Jesus said.
God loves even Syria, my ultimate enemy. Why? Because in Syria, there are many people who doesn’t know where is the right and where is the left just like the same message spoken to Jonah. God loves them all the time even Syria. I want you to learn the heart of God, how much he loves this world. He is waiting and waiting until everybody will listen to the word of God – the gospel. It’s your calling. Tell them, “God loves you.”
God is calling us to tell which means God want us to go, to tell in every corner of our lives. Your calling – small maid, servant, servant of Naaman, servant of Elisha – looks small and humble; God is also using the small ones. Do not make yourself so down. Do not look yourself down. In the sight of God, you are great. There’s only one person God will and can use in the special purpose in your life for His glory. Brothers and sisters, what is your role, like Naaman? Do it like Naaman so you will have brand new life. Your role in your life is like a maid? Do it, tell them what you experienced, what you have learned from the love of God. Is your role just like a servant in your life? Do it just like how the servant lived to give good advice to his master. Brothers and sisters, it’s your turn. May God bless you.
Rev. David Bang