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With New Testament Eyes: 38 - Naaman, the Leper

By Henry Mahan

      2 Kings 5:1-14

      Read the story of Naaman, the leper, and two questions come forth. (1) Could the waters of the Jordan River cure leprosy?

      The answer is NO! (2) Could Naaman be healed of his leprosy without going down into the waters of the Jordan? The answer is no! Then what have we here? The Lord was humbling a proud sinner. The Lord was pleased to show his sovereign mercy to this Gentile sinner (Luke 4:27), but Naaman (like any son of Adam) must be emptied, humbled, and brought to understand and acknowledge that salvation and mercy is the gift of God, which is neither deserved nor bought. Human thought, human pride, human ways, and human works must be destroyed and the sinner submit to the will and way of God (James 4:6; Matt. 8:1-3).

      Consider the following points, and you will see how Naaman typifies sinners whom the Lord is pleased to save.

      1. Naaman had many commendable human traits but something was wrong, seriously wrong, which made everything he was and had useless. He was a great man among men, honorable and mighty in valour, but he was a leper! Disease and death flowed through his veins, incurable by human means.

      There are fleshly differences among men, making some wiser, stronger, richer, or more honorable than others; but all men have one thing in common which makes all that they are and have useless. 'All have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23). Sin and death are within us by birth, nature, and choice and are incurable by human means (Eph. 2:11-12; Gal. 3:10; Rom. 5:12). Our sinful nature makes even our righteousnesses filthy rags (Isa. 64:6).

      2. Naaman sought help but he took the wrong things with him.

      Being conscious of his condition and hearing that there was a possibility of healing in the land of Israel, he went forth with a letter of recommendation from his employer and gold, silver, and presents for his benefactor. He came to Israel to buy deliverance.

      Before we judge Naaman too harshly, let us examine today's religious attempts to find favor with God. Is it not the way of natural man to work, merit, or try to earn salvation? (Matt. 7:21- 22; Mark 10: 17) . Instead of coming to the Lord Jesus as guilty sinners with nothing in our hands, we come bearing our morality, our works, our baptism, and our church membership.

      Men say, 'I'm no worse than others.' Naaman was no more a leper than other lepers; but he was a leper, and we are sinners! God's way of salvation is Christ alone. All that God requires and all that the sinner needs are fulfilled in Christ (Col. 2:9-10; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 4:4-5).

      3. Naaman went to the wrong place. Instead of going to the prophet of God, as he was told by the little maid (v. 3), he went to the king. This prophet of God represents Christ, who is our prophet, priest, and king (Deut. 18:17-19; Heb, 1:1-2).

      Salvation is of the Lord in its origination, execution, application, sustaining power, and ultimate perfection. How foolish it is to turn to the virgin Mary, to the priest, to the preacher, to the law, or to the church when Christ, our Lord, says, 'If any man thirst, let him come to me' (John 7:37-39; John 14:6). Why do men look to those who cannot save instead of looking to the only true God? (Isa. 45:20-22.)

      4. When Naaman finally came to the prophet of God, he came with the wrong attitude. See him stand proudly outside the humble dwelling of Elisha. He wanted to be treated as a great man who happened to have leprosy, when in reality he was only a leper who happened to be a great man. Elisha knew his pride and arrogance and would not come out to meet him but instructed him to strip off his earthly garb of glory and wash in the muddy Jordan seven times. How degrading this appeared to Naaman!

      Sinners today want special recognition, special attention, and the praise and honor of men, even in their religious professions (John 5:42-44). Pride of face, pride of race, pride of place, and even pride of grace prevail. We, like Naaman, want to be treated as great ones who happen to be sinners, instead of what we are--sinners who, for a while, have certain status among worms. There is none good nor righteous (Rom. 3:10- 11).

      5. Naaman had wrong thoughts about mercy. He said, 'I thought, he will surely come out to me and call on his God.' Naaman's way (which would preserve his own pride and position) and God's way (which would humble the proud leper and give God all the glory) were opposites.

      Salvation by free grace, through the righteousness and cross of the Lord Jesus, is offensive to natural man (1 Cor. 1:18-24).

      Our thoughts are not God's thoughts and our ways are not God's ways (Isa. 55:6-9). Total depravity offends man's dignity, divine revelation offends man's wisdom, and the blood of the cross offends man's pride. God will humble us before himself or he will destroy us.

      6. Naaman finally did something right--he went down. He came down off his high horse and bowed to the way of God. When sinners are ready and made willing (Psalm 110:3) to quit lying, trying, and buying and bow to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive salvation as the free gift of God, they will be saved (Matt. 5:3-6; Matt. 9:10-13).

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See Also:
   Foreward & Acknowledgements
   1 - The Fall
   2 - Abel's Offering
   3 - The Ark Of Noah
   4 - Sarah and Hagar; Law and Grace
   5 - The Lord Will Provide
   6 - A Bride for the Heir
   7 - Bethel - The House of God
   8 - Peniel - The Face of God
   9 - Joseph Opens the Storehouses
   10 - Joseph and His Brothers
   11 - Shiloh
   12 - The Passover
   13 - The Manna
   14 - Water from the rock
   15 - The Blood Before the Lord
   16 - The Ram of Consecration
   17 - The Day of Atonement
   18 - Caleb - The Faithful Dog
   19 - The High Priest Intercedes
   20 - The Brazen Serpent
   21 - A Prophet Like Moses
   22 - The Cities of Refuge
   23 - Joshua
   24 - The Scarlet Line in the Window
   25 - The birth of Samson
   26 - The Kinsman Redeemer
   27 - The Song of Hannah
   28 - Give us a King
   29 - Saul's Great Sin
   30 - David and Mephibosheth
   31 - Why God Permitted David to Fall
   32 - Comfort from God's Covenant
   33 - I Will Not Offer to God that which Cost me Nothing
   34 - The Queen of Sheba Comes to Solomon
   35 - Three Examples of Faith
   36 - Where is the Lord God of Elijah?
   37 - Empty Vessels Filled
   38 - Naaman, the Leper
   39 - Open his Eyes that He may See
   40 - Four Lepers Teach us a Lesson
   41 - Nehushtan--A Piece of Brass
   42 - Bringing Back the Ark
   43 - Uzziah's Great Transgression
   44 - Four Things Learned in Trouble
   45 - How Can Man be Just With God?
   46 - Three Vital Questions
   47 - I Know that my Redeemer Liveth
   48 - Now Mine Eye Seeth Thee
   49 - The Psalm of Messiah the King
   50 - God's two great books
   51 - The Psalm of the Cross
   52 - The Lord is my Shepherd
   53 - True God - True Israel - True Redeemer
   54 - Eight Great Precepts
   55 - My Hope is in Thee
   56 - Many, O Lord, Are Thy Wonderful Works
   57 - A Song of Love
   58 - The Sinner's Prayer
   59 - My Rock and my Salvation
   60 - Our Lord's Sufferings for Our Sins
   61 - Mercy and Truth are Met Together
   62 - The Victory of the Messiah
   63 - Bless the Lord, O my Soul
   64 - Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
   65 - The King-Priest
   66 - The Chief Cornerstone
   67 - The Observer and the Observed
   68 - Praise the Lord O my Soul
   69 - Wisdom in Christ
   70 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter
   71 - Remember Now Thy Creator
   72 - My Beloved is Mine and I am His
   73 - What is Thy Beloved more than Another Beloved?
   74 - The Lord Our Righteousness
   75 - The Believers Hope
   76 - From Nothing to Everything
   77 - Lost, Driven Away, Broken, Sick
   78 - Can These Bones Live?
   79 - Four Things God Taught Nebuchadnezzar
   80 - Thy God Will Deliver Thee
   81 - Hosea--Type of Christ
   82 - A Famine to be Feared
   83 - Salvation is of the Lord
   84 - A Fountain Opened for Mourners
   85 - The Messenger of the Covenant


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