Behold, I Thought (Part 1)
In II Kings 5, we are introduced to a military leader by the name of Naaman. In verse 1, we read, "Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper."

From the young Israelite captive who served his wife, Naaman learned about a prophet in Samaria who could heal him of his leprosy. With the hope of being healed from this dreaded disease, Naaman went straight to his master, the king of Syria, and, with the blessing of the king, Naaman packed up and headed for Samaria where he was directed to the prophet Elisha. In II Kings 5:9,10, we read, "Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, 'Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.'"

Through his servant, Elisha told Naaman in very simple terms what he must do to be cleansed of his leprosy. Clarification was not necessary. However, upon hearing the words of Elisha, there was conflict within Naaman. Starting today, and over the next two days, let us consider three reasons why Naaman balked at Elisha's instruction:

Notice how Naaman reacted and what he said in verse 11: "But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, 'Indeed, I said to myself, [the ASV renders this "Behold, I thought" - PE] "He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy."'"

Naaman became furious when Elisha didn't meet his expectations. On one hand, it is very likely that Naaman didn't understand what washing in the Jordan River seven times had to do with his leprosy being healed. On the other hand, we can plainly see from verse 11 that Naaman wanted pomp and a showy display. The result: he rejected Elisha's plan for cleansing the leprosy because it was different than what he thought.

Likewise, many today reject the gospel and its plan of salvation because that which is commanded is different than their preconceived ideas. It's different than what they think it should be, and they are unwilling to cast off those ideas. Friends, our standard for belief and practice should be what God has declared through His word--not what we think! Remember what the apostle Paul told the young preacher Timothy: "from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (II Tim. 3:15). It is the Holy Scriptures that are able to make man "wise for salvation" not man's own ideas or reasoning!

Friends, our "faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (I Cor. 2:5). "Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (I Cor. 1:20). Let us therefore be diligent students of the Bible, fervent believers of the Bible, and obedient practitioners of that which is taught in the Bible! Tomorrow, we will assess the second reason why Naaman initially rejected the instructions of God's prophet Elisha.