We had a great morning of worship at Seaford Baptist Church in Seaford, VA this morning. Our youth pastor preached on What the Gospel Is, using the story of Naaman in 2nd Kings 5 to provide “Gospel snapshots”, presenting a clear explanation of the Gospel (a good explanation of the Gospel can be read Here).
But I was captivated by the story of Naaman itself. I don’t think I’ve ever paid attention enough to remember this story. Wow! It’s a great one! Essentially, Naaman was a tremendous leader–the commander of the King of Syria’s army–but he had one huge problem. He had leprosy. A death sentence.
A servant girl from Israel, who had been stolen by Syria, worked for Naaman’s wife. She told her mistress that if Naaman knew this man, a prophet, from Israel, he would be healed. Naaman, desperate for healing, approached his king about the idea. The Syrian King then sent Naaman, with a letter to the King of Israel.
The King of Israel just nearly falls out. He can’t do anything to help Naaman! He believes that the King of Syria has sent Naaman, knowing that the king can’t do anything to help him, in order to start a new round of fighting between the two kingdoms.
But Elisha, the prophet, sends for Naaman. When Naaman arrives at Elisha’s house, Elisha sends a messenger out to him to tell him to dip 7 times in the Jordan river and his leprosy would be cured.
This angered Naaman; he was furious that Elisha himself did not come out himself to see and cure him. He was in a rage!! He came so close to going away, uncured. Unsaved. A dead man.
Naaman’s servants, however, managed to persuade Naaman to at least try the instructions given to him by Elisha. So he did. Seven times he dipped himself into the Jordan, and after the seventh time, his leprosy was cured. He was saved. Alive.
Several things struck me about this story, one of them being this:
The prophet Elisha did not act in the way that Naaman expected him to, so Naaman got angry and nearly went home, uncured.
What do we do when God does not act the way we expect Him to? When He doesn’t provide the answers we expect? When He doesn’t cure in the way we ask Him to? When He allows unthinkable disruptions to the way we perceive life is “supposed to be”?
I know my tendency, and it isn’t pretty. In fact, my reaction at times hasn’t been too far off of what Naaman’s original reaction was. Rage. Turning my back to walk away from the one thing that will save me.
I finished reading The Idiot by Dostoevsky this week, and I think one of the quotes from that book has application here:
“We degrade God when we attribute our own ideas to Him, out of annoyance that we cannot fathom His ways.”
I think I know best. My pride leads me to often tell God how I think things should be. How wrong! How arrogant!
When God speaks, and it’s not what we expect or want to hear, how do we react? Because God’s ways are not our ways. God’s thoughts are beyond us. He sees and knows. What we see and know is so limited. He establishes our steps. Are we going to follow them?
O that my soul would not be so rebellious.
To read the story of Naaman in scripture, click Here.