"WASH AND BE CLEAN"
I. THE STORY OF A MAN NAMED NAAMAN. WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HIM.
A. He was the captain of the host of the king of Syria.
1. He was the general over the Syrian army.
B. A Great man with his master. He was highly respected.
C. He was honorable.
D. By Him Jehovah had brought deliverance to Syria.
1. This is an interesting statement for at this time he did not even know Jehovah, the God of Israel. Yet Jehovah was working in and through his life.
2. God is often working in a persons life long before that person is even aware of it or knows God.
E. He was a mighty man of valor.
F. All of these are wonderful assets but, all of these assets were overshadowed by the fact that he was a leper.
1. The dreaded, loathsome, and in those days, incurable disease.
2. It is interesting how that so many wonderful, commendable, admirable traits can be negated by one flaw.
3. I might describe someone as a handsome, wealthy, successful child molester.
G. In one of the raids against Israel by the Syrian forces they had captured a young girl who was brought back as a slave.
1. She became the maid of Naaman's wife.
2. Oh how often God is working behind the scenes in wondrous ways, and we are not even aware of it.
a. How the parents of this girl must have grieved when she was taken captive.
b. How she must have been terrorized as they were carrying her off to Damascus.
c. Placed there on the slave market, any number of persons might have purchased her for improper purposes. But she became the maid to the wife of this Syrian general, who was a highly respected, honorable man.
d. She no doubt also came to admire and respect him.
H. One day she mentioned to her mistress that it was too bad that he could not meet the prophet of the Lord in Samaria, for he could cure him of his leprosy.
I. One of the servants overheard her and went in to Naaman and told him of the statement of this little Israeli girl. There is a prophet in Israel who could cure him of his leprosy.
1. The one blight that spoiled his life could be removed.
2. Desperate men will take desperate measures.
J. The king of Syria wrote a letter to the king of Israel and Naaman armed with the letter and much treasure headed for Samaria to the king of Israel.
K. The letter was given to the king of Israel, and basically said, I have sent my servant Naaman to you that you might recover him from his leprosy.
L. The king of Israel when he read the letter was disturbed and upset. He tore his clothes, which was a sign of his being greatly distressed, and he said, "Am I God who can kill and make alive, that he would send this man to me and say cure him of his leprosy. Look how he is just trying to pick a fight with me."
1. Can you just see this king when he gets this letter, cure my servant of his leprosy?
2. Ay, yi yi, who does he think I am, God?
3. He is just looking for trouble. He wants to pick a fight.
II. ENTERS NOW THE SECOND MAJOR PERSON IN THIS STORY, THE PROPHET ELISHA.
A. A man of God upon whom the mantle of Elijah had fallen.
1. When Elisha heard of the consternation of the king and how he had torn his clothes, he sent a message to him saying, "Why did you tear your clothes, send the man down to me and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel."
2. So Naaman came with his horses and chariot to the house of Elisha and was standing at the door of the prophets house.
3. Elisha sent his messenger to him instructing him to go to the Jordan and dip himself seven times in the water and he would be cleansed.
B. You might say that there wasn't good chemistry between Naaman and the prophet Elijah.
1. Naaman was incensed at the prophet for what he considered the rude treatment.
2. Naaman went away angry. People did not treat him that way. People went out of their way to do him favors. He was an honorable man, catered to by the people.
3. The very idea, I thought that at the least he would come out and stand before me, and call on the name of the Jehovah His God and strike his hand over the leprosy to cure me.
a. He was looking for a Benny Hinn kind of show.
b. Something dynamic and dramatic.
4. And so we see this Syrian captain headed back from Syria still afflicted with his leprosy and muttering about the rivers in Damascus being better and superior to the muddy Jordan.
C. As they came to the Jordan river some of his servants said to him. "You came all of this way to be cured, why not just try it, It can't hurt, and who knows, maybe you will be cured."
1. Had he told you to do some heroic act, you would have been pleased to have done it.
2. Yes it sounds too simplistic just wash and be clean, but why not try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
3. We read:
Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that [there is] no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.
But he said, [As] the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take [it]; but he refused.
And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD.
In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, [that] when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.
And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him.
D. From the testimony of Naaman, I believe that he was saved.
1. He acknowledged that there was no God in all the world but the God of Israel.
2. He vowed not to sacrifice to any other gods but only to Jehovah.
3. He did ask for an indulgence for when he performed his duty as the kings bodyguard and went with him into the temple of Rimmon he bowed in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive him.
III. MANY VALUABLE LESSONS TO BE DRAWN FROM THIS STORY, I WANT TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO JUST ONE.
A. In the manner of the cleansing from leprosy which in the Bible was a type of sin.
1. A type of sin because of the mystery of its origin and how it is transmitted.
2. A type of sin because in Bible days it was incurable.
3. A type of sin because it numbed the senses.
4. A type of sin because it rots the flesh.
B. I think of how people seek to do some great deed to atone for their sin.
1. Religions thrive on a persons desire to rid themselves from the guilt of their sin.
2. They will encourage all kinds of works to purge your conscience from the guilt of sin.
3. They will prescribe various forms of penance.
4. There are many noble people like Naaman who are more than happy to do these magnanimous deeds to find cleansing.
C. The tragedy of the story is that none of these great deeds have anything to do with the cleansing of sin.
1. Paul wrote to Titus:
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
2. The remedy is the same, so simple that a child can understand and be saved. "Just wash and be clean."
3. So simple that we stumble over it because it does nothing to glorify my flesh, but only brings glory to Jesus Christ.
4. How can you rid yourself from the blotch of sin in your life today? How can you be free from that nagging conscience?
5. How can you know you are forgiven?
D. In the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus with the question, "Good Master, what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?"
1. His question was so typical, for it seems that we are always looking for that good thing that we might do.
2. We seem to think in terms of good things that I can do.
3. There is only one way to be forgiven your sins. Simply wash and be clean. For the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin. What can wash away my sin?