Each week we LIVESTREAM the Lord's Day Sabbath School at 10a, Lord's Day morning public worship at 11a, and Lord's Day p.m. singing (3p) and sermon (3:45), and the Midweek Sermon and Prayer Meeting at 6:30p on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

2022.10.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 5:1–14

Read 2 Kings 5:1–14

Questions from the Scripture text: About whom does 2 Kings 5:1 speak? What was his office? Over whom? For whom? What sort of man was he in the king’s eyes? Why? Who had used him? What also was he? Despite what condition? What had the Syrians done (2 Kings 5:2)? Whom had they brought back? From where? Before whose face was she? To whom does the girl speak (2 Kings 5:3)? What did she desire for whom? Why? Who goes to the king in 2 Kings 5:4? What does he say? What does the king command him to do in 2 Kings 5:5? What will the king do? What does Naaman take with him? What else does he bring (2 Kings 5:6)? What does the letter tell the king of Israel to do? Who reads the letter (2 Kings 5:7)? What does he do? What does he ask? What does he conclude the king of Syria is doing? Who hears what in 2 Kings 5:8? What does verse 8 call him? To whom does he send? What does he ask? What does he request? What will Naaman know, when he comes to him? What does Naaman take with him in 2 Kings 5:9? Where does he go? What does he do there? Who actually speaks to Naaman (2 Kings 5:10)? What does he tell him to do? Where? What two results does he promise? How does Naaman feel about this (2 Kings 5:11)? Whom had he expected to come out? How did he expect Elisha to speak to Whom? What else did he expect Elisha to do? What two things does he name in 2 Kings 5:12? To what does he compare them? What question does he ask? Then what does he do? In what frame of mind? Who come near in 2 Kings 5:13? What do they do? What do they call Naaman? What do they say he would have done if told? What do they suggest that he should do now? What does Naaman now do (2 Kings 5:14)? Where? According to what? With what result? To what extent? How does v14 summarize it?

Where do life and power come from? 2 Kings 5:1–14 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fourteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that from God alone come life and power, which He gives especially by His Word.

Where are greatness and honor found? The Spirit introduces Naaman as being great and honorable in the eyes of his master because of the military victories over which he had presided. But the way the Spirit puts it implies that this esteem was misplaced. Naaman was just an instrument. It was Yahweh Who had given victory to Syria.

For all of Naaman’s (and Syria’s) “greatness,” it was the captured, enslaved young girl who knew where real greatness is found: the prophet, the living servant of the Word of God. When we come back to consider all of the “stuff” Naaman takes with him in 2 Kings 5:5, we’ll find that Yahweh Himself is a greater abundance (2 Kings 5:16).

Yahweh is also a greater power. Naaman is so offended in 2 Kings 5:11. There he was with all of his riches, and decked out in full military greatness in 2 Kings 5:9, standing at the door of Elisha’s house. And it’s just the servant that comes to the door?! And all he has is a message with instructions and a promise?! 

But that’s the point. If Elisha had come as expected, it would still have just been the servant that had come to the door. The prophet is nothing. His God is everything. And the message of his God in his mouth is everything. When Naaman finally follows the instructions (2 Kings 5:14, cf. 2 Kings 5:10), he receives the healing. And not just physical healing; “clean” is a ceremonial reference to acceptability with man and God. The answer to the rhetorical question in 2 Kings 5:12 is actually, “No, they are not better. No, you could not wash in them and be clean.”

But Naaman isn’t the saddest spiritual case in our passage. The king of Israel is letting the people of Israel get captured and enslaved, even though he knows that God could do something about it (2 Kings 5:7). But he doesn’t care to seek God, and it doesn’t even occur to him to send Naaman to the prophet. Even with theological truth about God in his head, the thought of actually engaging with God in reality just doesn’t cross his mind. All he can see is the supposed political/military shenanigans of his counterpart in Damascus. At the end of the passage Naaman knows “that there is a prophet in Israel,” but the king does not.

How many “Christians” live like this! At least the spiritually lifeless king knew that government can’t heal disease. Many church members actually think that’s a function of government. Even worse are the untold millions who say “Lord, Lord,” but they don’t live as subjects of a Master, looking to His every word. He just rarely occurs to them. There are many other things that they honor as great, with which their minds are occupied. And in the last day, they will hear, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” O, dear reader, may the Lord grant to you that you would know Christ as the Prophet in Israel!

What are you willing to spend time on? Money? Effort? What does this say about what you honor as great?

Sample prayer: Lord, forgive us for sharing the mindset of the king of Syria, the king of Israel, and Naaman before You converted him. Too often, other things occupy our thoughts and our attention, while You and Your Word are ideas detached from ordinary life. Forgive us! And make us to know Christ as our Prophet, from Whom we receive Your words of eternal life, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH273 “Break, Thou the Bread of Life”

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