No Other God in All the Earth: How Knowing Him Helps in Matters of S(k)in

Brian Mahon - 1/23/2022


Call to worship: Isaiah 49:1-6

Text: 2 Kings 5:1-18


Naaman is a great man with a terrible problem. He's a Gentile with leprosy. He has a skin-problem. His ethnicity and disease cast him as unclean in the eyes of observant Israelites. Thing is, the only cure for his skin (and ultimately, his sin) resides in Israel. The story then is one of unexpected compassion. Beginning with a remarkable little girl and ending with the great prophet, Elisha, this great but troubled Syrian discovers grace across ethnic and religious divides---grace that manifests the very heart of the God of Israel to him. He is no tribal god. He is the God of all the earth, the only true God and, in his eventual discovery of a cure, Naaman comes to make the great confession that, it seems, binds him to God and to the company of God's redeemed humanity. Elisha sends him home with a word of peace---a peace they little know will draw out the very blood of Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world. Knowing Him helps in matters of skin.

Sermon Outline:

  1. The skin-problem of a great man, 5:1.
  2. The great grace of a little girl, 5:2-5a.
  3. The sin-problem of an evil king, 5:5b-7.
  4. The lowly cure of a godly man, 5:8-10.
  5. The sin-problem of the great man, 5:11-12.
  6. The needed counsel of clear-sighted friends, 5:13-14.
  7. The desired result of grace received, 5:15-18.


Discussion Questions:

  1. Read 2 Kings 5:1-18. How does the author describe Naaman? What is his immediate problem, and why might it be especially problematic in relation to Israel, an Israelite, or the God of Israel? Is Naaman's skin-problem the only obstacle between him and God's people of old? From where does Naaman hale?
  2. In 5:2-5, we're told of a remarkable little girl. Why might we say that she is remarkable? What obstacles stand in the way of the grace she displays? What could she see in Naaman? What does she see? In light of her good news, the Syrian king sends a well-supplied Naaman to Jehoram (most likely), son of Ahab, king of Israel (5:5-7). What is the king of Israel's response to what was, in effect, the little girl's good news? Does he know of it? Contrary to her heart, where does his run?
  3. In 5:8-10, we're introduced to Elisha, the man of God. How does he respond to the king's godlessness? How does he build upon the little girl's grace? What is the method of the cure? Is it to be expected that a cure will be given at all? Why or why not? (Don't take for granted that fulfilling and retelling the point of this story will almost get Jesus killed in Luke 4!)
  4. In 5:11-14, how does Naaman respond? Why do you think he responds the way he does? Is there any hint of ethnocentrism on his part? How do his servants help him? What do they hear that, for stated reasons, he does not? Are we and do we have friends to help us see spiritual matters clearly and in order of operations? What is the result of their counsel?
  5. In 5:15-18, we're given a most desirable end result of grace received across ethnic boundaries. What is it? How is it similar to the account in Luke 17:11-19? What does it say of God? What does this narrative mean for the people of God? How does sin and idolatry aggravate and/or exacerbate the divisions in humanity owing to the Fall? How does the truth of one true God, and knowing Him, and showing His heart serve to clear a path, at least, for impartial compassion, if not 'the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?' From where does that eternal unity and peace come (Eph 2:11-17)?
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