Behold, I Thought (Part 3)
Over the last two days we have studied II Kings 5, in which we find Naaman, a leper and the commander of the Syrian king's army, going to God's prophet Elisha for a means to be healed of his leprosy. When Naaman received the simple instructions to "go and wash in the Jordan seven times" from Elisha, he became furious and went away in a rage. In our time together previously, we considered two of the three reasons why Naaman initially rejected Elisha's instruction: 1) Naaman thought he knew how he would be healed and 2) Naaman thought one way was as good as another. Today, we will consider a third and final reason why Naaman had a hard time accepting the instructions of Elisha.

Through the words of Naaman's servants, we see that Naaman viewed Elisha's instructions as trivial and unimportant (and probably foolish). Let us turn our attention to II Kings 5:13: "And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, "Wash, and be clean"?'"

In II Kings 5:11, we read how Naaman thought Elisha would come out and do something ostentatious to heal his leprosy. Here in verse 13, the implication is that Naaman was willing to do something great and spectacular; he was willing to do something he deemed worthy of his time and attention. After all, he was an important man--a man of power and prominence! Naaman wanted a show; he wanted an experience. Like the Jews of the first century who were looking for the Messiah to be a mighty military leader and not a humble carpenter from Nazareth, Naaman did not realize that God's will can be implemented and satisfied by sincere, humble means instead of showy displays.

Like Naaman rejecting Elisha's instructions for cleansing, many people reject the gospel and its plan of salvation and worship because they think it's just too simple or they think it is insufficient--it doesn't make them feel a certain way. Like Naaman, they want pomp and spectacle; they want a show. They want feeling and emotions to be their guide, and they want elegant ceremonies, parades and elaborate displays to evoke those emotions. What God, the creator, has commanded and authorized takes a back seat to what man, the creature, desires.

Fortunately, Naaman eventually listened to reason and obeyed the words of God's prophet. We read in II Kings 5:14,15: "So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, 'Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.'" Because of his obedience, Naaman was cleansed from his leprosy.

Dear friends, I hope you realize that the account of Naaman is very worthy of our attention today. Naaman knew he was a leper (just as many today know they are sinners). He knew he could not cleanse himself of his condition, and he pursued a course of action to be cleansed of his leprosy (just as many today pursue a means to be cleansed of their sins). However, Naaman was not cleansed of his leprosy until he complied fully with the instructions he was given. He was not cleansed when he received the instructions. His leprosy was not healed after arriving at the Jordan River, and it was not healed after dipping in the river once or twice. Naaman's leprosy was taken away only after he "dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God." Likewise, those today that desire to have their sins forgiven and washed away would do well to realize that such will only happen after they fully comply with the instructions, conditions, and requirements given by God in His word.

This means that: