*”Reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary, copyright c 2005 Consultation on Common Texts”
** Image Attribution
Gogh, Vincent van, 1853-1890. Good Samaritan, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=54697 [retrieved July 10, 2016]. Original source: https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-JxomvlRi2uo/SDTc3ruAVoI/AAAAAAAANxw/L07CjJU2AOo/s512/The%252520Good%252520Samaritan%252520by%252520Van%252520Gogh.jpg.
Ronald Pinkerton’s hang gliding testimony. (Craig Brian Larson – 750 Engaging Illustrations)
CPS: No matter who we are, we all faces issues that only God can solve.
1) Everyone has issues. (1)
Naaman was a respected courageous warrior. (1)
He was a decorated general in the Syrian army. (captain of the host)
Naaman “… was a great man with his master.” He was a connected person
“Because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria.”
This statement reveals the providence of God over the nations.
Also, all of Naaman’s victories, influence, and authority came from the LORD.
Psa 75:7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
“…he was also a mighty man of valour…”
“…BUT he was a leper.”
All men have their problems.
Could Naaman’s Leprosy have been his “thorn in the flesh”? (2 Cor 12:7)
Naaman, the mighty warrior, could not overcome his condition.
In the Bible, leprosy is a very generic term. It can range from a small skin blemish, like psoriasis to the debilitating disease, which causes the loss of digits. Either way “lepers” were deemed unclean, thus, making them unfit to worship God. (Lev. 13:13)
More than likely, this man suffered from a minor skin ailment.
In addition to being unfit for worship, “lepers” were regarded as an outcast of society, because anyone who came into contact with a leper” (or anything defiled by a leper) they were considered unclean too.
This fact gives testament to what a phenomenal warrior Naaman was to be able to rise to his position.
2) Everyone needs God’s help. (2-8)
Naaman heard of a healer in Israel through the grapevine. (2-4)
The little maid said, “Would God my lord were with the prophet … for he would recover him of his leprosy.” (3)
Naaman’s political pull couldn’t help him (5-8).
“letter from the King of Syria.”
“ten talents of silver.”
“six thousand pieces of gold.”
“ten changes of raiment.
The King of Israel knew only God could help cleanse a leper (one unclean and unfit to worship God.)
“Am I God…?” (7)7
However, the King of Israel didn’t believe God “would” heal Naaman.
Elisha spoke of faith (8).
“…let him come to me now…”(7)
3) Everyone must humble themselves (9-14)
“So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot…(9).
This was a royal entrance of a person of authority.
“…Elisha sent a messenger…(10).
“But Naaman was wroth…” (11)
He felt disrespected, but God is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11).
Naaman thought Elisha would have:
“call on the name of the LORD his God.”
“strike his hand over the place.”
“recover the leper.”
For this man of action, this was far too simple.
“…my father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?” (13)
Notice the rumor of a healer, the command of God, and the voice of reason came from anonymous lowly servants.
Also, Naaman did not trust God or the prophet, because he did not know them. However, he did listen to his servants whom he knew. (Fairless & Chilton – The Lectionary Lab Commentary Year C)
When he humbled himself and obeyed he was healed (14).
He was cleansed and made fit to worship God.
The agent of change was not the water, but the word/command. He received the word in humility and the obeyed by immersing himself in the Jordan.
Priest reaching out to help a man with leprosy, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=55726 [retrieved July 3, 2016]. Original source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bas%C3%ADlica_de_S%C3%A3o_Francisco_das_Chagas_(Canind%C3%A9)_-_Casa_dos_Milagres_008.JPG.
Commentary on Lectionary Text for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year C (Proper 9)
2 Kings 5:1-14
Naaman was captain of the host of the King of Syria. He “was a great man with his master.” He was “honourable”. He was a “mighty man in valour” BUT he was a leper. Although Naaman was a commendable person, he had a condition he could not remedy. (1)
2.1. The Holman Bible Dictionary states,
A generic term applied to a variety of skin disorders from psoriasis to true leprosy. Its symptoms ranged from white patches on the skin to running sores to the loss of digits on the fingers and toes…For the Hebrews, it was a dreaded malady which rendered its victims ceremonially unclean – that is, unfit to worship God (Lev. 13:13). Anyone who came in contact with a leper was also considered unclean. Therefore, lepers were isolated from the rest of the community so that members of the community could maintain their status as worshippers. Other disorders or the flow of certain bodily fluids also rendered one unclean (see Lev. 12:1-14:32; 15:1-33). Even houses and garments could have “leprosy” and, thus, be unclean (Lev. 14:13-57).
Naaman and the King of Syria find out about Elisha through a captured “little maid.” (2-4)
Naaman and all his political pull could not find a cure for his disease. (5-8)
Elisha’s response to the King of Israel’s rending his garments has elements of mission and evangelism. (8)
Also, this reveals that the Word of God can only handle some situations. This fact could be the reason Elisha sent a messenger, instead of coming himself.
The healing is not connected to the prophet’s person, but the Word of God.
Naaman evidently felt stiffed by Elisha (11-12). Could this be because of his oversized ego?
The command given by Elisha seemed foolish, but often this is the case because foolish commands in return need radical obedience.
The water was not the agent of change, but the rather the Word. (14)
Naaman, who was unclean and unfit to worship God, was now clean and fit to worship.
All messengers of healing were anonymous. The little maid (2), Elisha’s servant (10), and Naaman’s servants (13).
The reception of the Word/Command happened before the immersion in the Jordan. This reveals a perfect picture of the Gospel pattern.
Could this be the psalm of a person who has tasted of the “holy humble pie? (4-6)
A “spiritual” person exhibits humility. This person acknowledges the possibility of error on their behalf. Pride is very deceptive. (1-3)
We should do good to “all men”, but especially to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
These groups were dispatched to places Christ would later come to Himself. This sending forth reminded me of Spurgeon’s tactics. (1)
“Eating and drinking such things as they give…” How far should this be taken?
As Christians, we will not always be received, but we are called to testify of the truth (10-11).
What a beautiful illustration of the benefits of salvation.
This psalm is simply a wonderful psalm of praise.
 “Leprosy” Pages 872-873 of Holman Bible Dictionary, Edited by Trent C. Butler, 1 Vol. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991.