In the 5th chapter of 2 Kings we are given glimpses of two very interesting characters. Often we find that God presents pairs of individuals side-by-side that we might learn from the contrasts between them. Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Moses and Aaron, Saul and David, Elijah and Ahab, now we come to Naaman and Gehazi. There is something about what happens to these men that is worth noting. The first was a leper who became a servant of God, and the second was a servant of God who became a leper! Each one represents a characteristic of unbelief. We want to consider them both this morning.
I. Naaman illustrates the classic sin of the unbeliever: "Trying to do God's will man's way." v1-15
A. The description of Naaman. v1
1. "Captain of the host" - a 5 star general in charge of all the army of Syria.
2. "A great man with his master" - a favorite of the King of Syria, Benhadad II, perhaps second only to the king in rank and importance.
3. "Honourable" - highly respected by all who were under his command.
4. "A mighty man of valour" - his courage and bravery were a matter of record.
5. "But he was a leper" - one fact seemed to overshadow the rest of the details and accomplishments of his life.
a. This affliction robbed him of his joy over his accomplishments.
b. He was personally burdened with the disease, but was helpless to do anything about it.
c. There was no cure for leprosy, only a miracle could deliver him.
6. So it is with a man who is without Christ!
a. He may be able to find success in his chosen field.
b. Others may applaud him for his accomplishments.
c. But sin ravages his life.
d. And only a miracle from God can deliver him from that sin!
B. Many were concerned over him.
1. The concern of the young servant girl. v2-3
a. Naaman's wife had a young servant girl who had been taken in a raid upon Israel.
b. She was concerned about Naaman's disease.
c. She told her mistress that she wished he would go see the prophet of God, (Elisha) because he could deliver him.
2. The concern of his master. v4-5a
a. After being informed about the young girl's suggestion,
b. The king gave his approval and sent Naaman off to Samaria.
c. The king sent a letter with him to the king of Israel.
3. The concern of Naaman. v5b
a. So intent upon finding a cure, he gathered together some of his resources to give as payment.
b. Ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
c. By today's standards, this was a small fortune!
4. The concern of Israel's king. v6-7
a. The king of Israel thought that Naaman and King Benhadad was trying to create an international incident.
b. He was frustrated at the request of Naaman and the king.
c. What could he do to deliver him from leprosy?
5. The concern of Elisha. v8
a. When Elisha heard about the problem he sent word to the king of Israel.
b. He told him to send him to him.
c. "...and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel."
C. Elisha's prescription. v9-14
1. The message was simple and direct...too simple and too direct for Naaman.
2. He was used to giving orders, but he had trouble taking them.
3. His major problem was that he had preconceived ideas about how his healing would come about.
4. "...I thought..." v11 (expand on this thought)
5. To his credit, and to his servants, Naaman did obey the word of the prophet...and he was healed!
II. Gehazi illustrates the classic sin of the believer: Trying to make man's will appear as God's will. v15-27
A. Description of his temptation. v15-16
1. Following his cleansing, Naaman wished to give Elisha a token of his appreciation.
2. Elisha refused the gift...it was God who healed, not Elisha!
3. Gehazi stood by silently watching and listening to Naaman and Elisha's conversation.
B. The account of his sin. v20-24
1. Gehazi decided that with so much money involved he would try to get something out of all of this.
2. It wouldn't be the last time a servant of God would yield to the temptation of personal gain.
3. He lied to Naaman and received two talents of silver and two changes of garments.
C. The consequences of his sin. v25-27
1. Elisha confronted him concerning what he did.
2. Since he wanted something from Naaman, Elisha said he would receive his disease and that it would be passed on to all of his decendents. Naaman had been headed for disaster, and Gehazi had been headed for usefulness. As a result of their meeting, both their lives were changed.
1 Jn. 2:17, "...the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." Naaman had tried to do God's will his way...and learned that wouldn't work. Gehazi was more concerned with his will than God's. The important thing is to do God's will God's way! And that way is through obedience.
What about you today? Are like Naaman...instead of obeying God's Word of instruction, still trying to do things your way? He went to the wrong person, offered the wrong price, wanted to use the wrong prescription, and had the wrong attitude. If you are without Christ today won't you come and accept His payment on Calvary for your sins?
Christians, Gehazi serves as a reminder of what can happen when we take our eyes off of God and begin lusting after what this world has to offer. We may get more than we bargained for! Do you need to come today?