In 2 Kings 5, we see the power of God healing an unbeliever and the man giving his heart to the Lord. We also see the terrible consequences of covetousness and abusing the gifts of God to profit self.
“How God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and,in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.”
In Matthew 10 we see Jesus sending out His disciplined followers with these commands, “AND JESUS summoned to Him His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of weakness and infirmity; And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand!
Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.
Take no gold nor silver nor [even] copper money in your purses (belts);
And do not take a provision bag or a wallet for a collection bag for your journey, nor two undergarments, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the workman deserves his support (his living, his food).
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant or slave above his master.”
In the miraculous healing and salvation of the unbeliever Naaman lies an important warning to today’s “profiteers“:
Naaman was general of the army under the king of Aram. He was important to his master, who held him in the highest esteem because it was by him that God had given victory to Aram: a truly great man, but afflicted with a grievous skin disease. It so happened that Aram, on one of its raiding expeditions against Israel, captured a young girl who became a maid to Naaman’s wife. One day she said to her mistress, “Oh, if only my master could meet the prophet of Samaria, he would be healed of his skin disease.”
Naaman went straight to his master and reported what the girl from Israel had said.
“Well then, go,” said the king of Aram. “And I’ll send a letter of introduction to the king of Israel.”
So he went off, taking with him about 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothes.
Naaman delivered the letter to the king of Israel. The letter read, “When you get this letter, you’ll know that I’ve personally sent my servant Naaman to you; heal him of his skin disease.”
When the king of Israel read the letter, he was terribly upset, ripping his robe to pieces. He said, “Am I a god with the power to bring death or life that I get orders to heal this man from his disease? What’s going on here? That king’s trying to pick a fight, that’s what!”
Elisha the man of God heard what had happened, that the king of Israel was so distressed that he’d ripped his robe to shreds. He sent word to the king, “Why are you so upset, ripping your robe like this? Send him to me so he’ll learn that there’s a prophet in Israel.”
So Naaman with his horses and chariots arrived in style and stopped at Elisha’s door.
Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.”
Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of God, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not bathe in them? I’d at least get clean.” He stomped off, mad as a hornet.
But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?”
So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.
He then went back to the Holy Man, he and his entourage, stood before him, and said, “I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God anywhere on earth other than the God of Israel. In gratitude let me give you a gift.”
“As God lives,” Elisha replied, “the God whom I serve, I’ll take nothing from you.” Naaman tried his best to get him to take something, but he wouldn’t do it.
“If you won’t take anything,” said Naaman, “let me ask you for something: Give me a load of dirt, as much as a team of donkeys can carry, because I’m never again going to worship any god other than God. But there’s one thing for which I need God’s pardon: When my master, leaning on my arm, enters the shrine of Rimmon and worships there, and I’m with him there, worshiping Rimmon, may you see to it that God forgive me for this.”
Elisha said, “Everything will be all right. Go in peace.”
But he hadn’t gone far when Gehazi, servant to Elisha the Holy Man, said to himself,
“My master has let this Aramean Naaman slip through his fingers without so much as a thank-you. By the living God, I’m going after him to get something or other from him!” And Gehazi took off after Naaman.
Naaman saw him running after him and jumped down from his chariot to greet him,
“Is something wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong, but something’s come up. My master sent me to tell you: ‘Two young men just showed up from the hill country of Ephraim, brothers from the guild of the prophets. Supply their needs with a gift of 75 pounds of silver and a couple of sets of clothes.'”
Naaman said, “Of course, how about a 150 pounds?” Naaman insisted. He tied up the money in two sacks and gave him the two sets of clothes; he even gave him two servants to carry the gifts back with him.
When they got to the fort on the hill, Gehazi took the gifts from the servants, stored them inside, then sent the servants back.
He returned and stood before his master. Elisha said, “So what have you been up to, Gehazi?”
“Nothing much,” he said.
Elisha said, “Didn’t you know I was with you in spirit when that man stepped down from his chariot to greet you? Tell me, is this a time to look after yourself, lining your pockets with gifts? Naaman’s skin disease will now infect you and your family, with no relief in sight.”
Gehazi walked away, his skin flaky and white like snow.
“Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master.
The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn’t have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, “No you don’t. God will take care of you!” But these people sneer at anything they can’t understand, and by doing whatever they feel like doing—living by animal instinct only—they participate in their own destruction. I’m fed up with them! They’ve gone down Cain’s road; they’ve been sucked into Balaam’s error by greed; they’re canceled out in Korah’s rebellion.
These people are warts on your love feasts as you worship and eat together. They’re giving you a black eye—carousing shamelessly, grabbing anything that isn’t nailed down. They’re—
Puffs of smoke pushed by gusts of wind;
late autumn trees stripped clean of leaf and fruit,
Doubly dead, pulled up by the roots;
wild ocean waves leaving nothing on the beach
but the foam of their shame;
Lost stars in outer space
on their way to the black hole.
Enoch, the seventh after Adam, prophesied of them: “Look! The Master comes with thousands of holy angels to bring judgment against them all, convicting each person of every defiling act of shameless sacrilege, of every dirty word they have spewed of their pious filth.” These are the “grumpers,” the bellyachers, grabbing for the biggest piece of the pie, talking big, saying anything they think will get them ahead.
But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!
But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.
And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes.