Introduction: How important is that little sin that you harbor? Does
God sweat the details? Does He care about small matters? Can we even
trust ourselves to be honest about “small sins.” Let’s dive into our
lesson about “tiny sins, huge results” and find out!
- A few weeks ago (Lesson 7 – Children Showcased)we studied
the story of the young girl and the healing of Naaman. We
ended our story at the point that Naaman was healed and he
returned to Elisha to thank him and praise Elisha’ God.
- The story continues, so let’s read 2 Kings 5:15-16. Why
didn’t Elisha accept any gifts from Naaman? 2 Kings 5:5
reveals that Naaman had taken ten talents of silver (750
pounds), 6,000 shekels of gold (150 pounds) and ten sets
of clothing as payment to anyone who healed him. (Elisha
was not the one who healed Naaman. For him to have
accepted the reward for God’s work would have made it
appear that he was responsible for the healing. It also
would have seemed that God’s miracles were for sale.)
- Read 2 Kings 5:17-19. Naaman says if you won’t take this
money, then give me dirt! Why does Naaman want dirt? Here
is another angle for those of you still dreaming about all
that gold – Wouldn’t Elisha have been helping Naaman to
take a little of that (obviously heavy) gold off his hands
so that Naaman could haul back more dirt? It would be the
least Elisha could do to lighten Naaman’s load!
(Apparently Naaman wanted to be able to make an altar of
earth to God. (See Exodus 20:24 which refers to an alter
- Why would Naaman need “Elisha soil” to build his
altar? (This shows he (like all of us) needed to grow
in his understanding of the true God. He attached
some holiness to the ground at Elisha’s place. The
Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament
says that Naaman was still possessed of the
polytheistic superstition that no god could be
properly worshiped except on his own land.)
- Look again at verse 18. Was Naaman asking for advance
forgiveness for a “small sin?”
- Can we get advance “dispensation” for sins we
intend to commit?
- If so, where do we go for that?
- Can we, like Naaman, go to another man? Was
Elisha in a position to forgive sins?
- Look at verse 19 again, did Elisha give Naaman a
“pass” on this sin?
- What do you think is going on here? (Since our
lesson is about “small sins” we will pick up
this discussion later.)
- Read 2 Kings 5:20-22. Why does Gehazi say he needs to get
something from Naaman? (Naaman is the commander of the
Army that has been attacking Israel. So Gehazi says that
Elisha has been “too easy on Namaan, this Aramean.”)
- Why do you think Gehazi thinks Elisha punish Naaman?
(Gehazi’s logic represents a matter of national honor
and “just deserts” for a foreign invader, right?)
- Do you think Gehazi seriously believed this? (Our
hearts are so evil that we lie to ourselves about the
reason for our sins. Gehazi took the greed of his
heart and painted it with patriotism. Notice that he
also took an oath to his patriot fervor?)
- Namaan must have been a good judge of character.
Since Elisha had just (v.16) sworn an oath to the
true God that he would not take anything, why did he
give something to Gehazi? (Gehazi, once again,
covered his true motive by saying this was for some
young prophets. So he lied to himself and he lied
himself and he lied to Naaman.)
- Read 2 Kings 5:23-24. Naaman has no doubts about Gehazi’s
story. Or, at least if he does, he is so grateful he does
not care. He sends two of his servants to carry the stuff
for Gehazi. Why did Gehazi take over the carrying duties
when he “came to the hill?” (This was part of the deceit.
He could not let Elisha see that he had this stuff.)
- Read 2 Kings 5:25-27. How many of you parents have asked
your children what they were doing and they responded,
“Nothing.” Ever heard that before when your children are
disobeying you? Bet you didn’t know they were quoting
- What does Elisha mean when he says, “was not my
spirit with you?” (He knew what Gehazi had done.
Apparently the Holy Spirit revealed it to him.)
- What do olive groves, flocks and servants have to do
with Gehazi’s sin? Didn’t he take clothes and
silver? (He took 150 pounds of silver. If you know
the price of an ounce of silver today, you know the
value of this gift. Gehazi was dreaming about what
all that silver would buy him: groves, flocks and
- What is the penalty for Gehazi’s sin? (Leprosy
- Our lesson is entitled, “Tiny Sins, Huge Results.”
Would you agree this is a huge result?
- What about it being a “tiny sin?” Do you agree this
is a tiny sin?
- Was anyone hurt by this sin?
- How about Elisha, was he hurt? (He wasn’t
getting the money anyway.)
- How about Naaman, was he hurt? (Naaman was
prepared to pay the money anyway – indeed,
he wanted to pay.)
- Isn’t this a so-called “victimless crime?”
- Did Elisha just hate to lose the help?
- Notice v.26. Elisha says, “is this the time?”
Did Gehazi have bad timing? Is that what this
is all about? (Yes, in an important way I think
the timing magnifies the sin. Consider the sins
of Gehazi in this story. He lies to everyone
(including himself.) He is greedy. He “steals”
goods to which he has no claim. I don’t think
any of these are “tiny sins.” But the real
problem is how Naaman perceives God. God’s
gifts are not for sale. We cannot begin to pay
for his greatest gift, the gift of salvation.
After Naaman learned the lesson about the nature
of God’s gifts, he could return a portion of his
great wealth to promote God’s work. But now was
not the time.)
- Remember I told you we would get back to Naaman’s sin of
bowing down to a false God? How do you think Naaman’s sin
compares to Gehazi’s sin?
- Don’t they both involve greed? Naaman wants to keep
his job and Gehazi wants some money?
- Don’t they both involve lying? Gehazi lied to
everyone and Naaman would be lying about his
reverence for the god back home?
- Why does Naaman get a (v.19) “Go in peace” and Gehazi
gets leprosy forever?(The Bible commentators are all
over the place on this. Matthew Henry, in his
commentary, goes nuts over the nature of Naaman’s
proposed sin. While he cannot second-guess Elisha, he
warns us that we cannot expect any pass on this kind
of sin! Other commentators fool around with the
translation to obscure what is being said. On
commentator suggests that Elisha’s “go in peace” is
not a response to Naaman’s question! I think The
Wycliff Bible commentary has it right: Naaman was not
sinning. He knew who was the true God. He was not
worshiping Rimmon. Sin is first and foremost a matter
of attitude. See Matthew 15:19-20)
- Compare for me the heart attitude of Naaman and
- Read 2 Samuel 6:1-5. Was this an exciting time? Why? (This
story goes back to 1 Samuel 4. The Israelites wrongly took
the Ark of God out on the field of battle to give them a
military advantage over the Philistines. Instead, the Ark
fell into the hands of the Philistines |who, as a result
of having it, suffered several serious plagues. (1 Samuel
5) The Philistines decided that it was time to give it
back, so they put it on a new cart, added a chest of gold,
and let calves take it back (only God was leading) to
Israel! (1 Samuel 6) The Israelites, when they saw it come
over the boarder, did not handle it properly and 70 men
died. (1 Samuel 6). So, they decided to take it the house
of Abinadab a Levite, for their safety and for safe-keeping. He son, Eleazar, was to guard the Ark. The Ark
stayed at his house for 20 years (1 Samuel 7) until David
decided to give it a home in Jerusalem.)
- Why did David put the Ark on a new cart? (This is
what the Philistines did! The Philistines, however,
had no idea how it should be handled. They were just
guessing. David, if he had bothered to look (or had
the priests look) would have seen that God had given
specific instructions on how the Ark was to be moved.
It was to be carried on poles by designated people
and covered. Numbers 4:4-6,15; 1 Chronicles 15:2&15.)
- Read 2 Samuel 6:6-8. Who is Uzzah? (He is another son of
- If you were God, would you have killed Uzzah?
- Do you agree that this was a “tiny sin, huge
- Didn’t we just agree that the problem with Gehazi was
his attitude? What kind of attitude did Uzzah have?
- Does this story destroy the “attitude” theory?
- Whose fault is it that Uzzah died? (First, it was
King David’s fault. His failure to study the
Scripture to see what God required is outrageous. The
Philistines showed greater interest in properly
handling the Ark. Second, Uzzah, as one of Abinadab’s
sons who grew up with the Ark, should have had enough
interest in it to see what God required. God had said
in Numbers 4:15 that the penalty for touching the Ark
- Have you ever seen a situation where a series of “simple
sins” added up to terrible consequences? (That is the
situation here. David and Uzzah ignored God’s commands for
moving the Ark (despite a terrible history of deaths
connected with the misuse of the Ark). Then, Uzzah
actually touched the Ark. I suspect many of our sin
problems start out as a series of “small sins.” This shows
an attitude of carelessness and disrespect towards God.)
- Friend, God is not playing games with His people. The
struggle against sin is a serious business. God takes it
so seriously that He was willing to die for us. We need to
take our obligations to Him just as seriously. Are you
willing to begin being serious with our Lord?
- Next Week: The Lord Our Righteousness