Summary: Life is often complicated but God’s answers are often simple. Too simple for us to believe.
Are You Washed Inside and Out?
Teenagers are getting plastic surgery. Baldness. People cover it with a rug, rub in Rogaine, spray
paint to cover the gaps. Dieting. Slim Fast, fad diets. People make millions on these attempts to
change or cover up appearances.
The things we worry about are probably the last thing on God’s mind. Naaman was frustrated
over his physical appearance. What he really needed was a total change from within.
Story of Naaman is about a proud person who wanted a healing. Naaman was a successful man,
he had a lot going for him, “...commander of the army... a great and honorable man... by him the
LORD gave victory.... but Naaman had a very serious problem, & so far only a few people knew
it. He had leprosy, a disease that attacks the nerve system of the body. Naaman was losing all
sense of feeling in his body. He could no longer feel his sword as he clutched it in his hand.
His men thought that he was courageous in battle because when an arrow hit his leg - he didn’t
react. They thought he was tough - but Naaman knew the truth. The truth that he couldn’t even
feel the arrow as it ripped into his leg.
So, naturally, Naaman wanted to find a way to get rid of his problem. And Naaman was not just
interested in getting rid of a minor inconvenience, he was desperate to be freed from a problem
which consumed him, day and night.
He tried everything - but nothing had worked. But one day, this servant-girl mentioned to
Naaman’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal Naaman of his leprosy.
Leprosy was a terrible disease in Biblical times. Once leprosy took hold of your body it began to
cause decay and deterioration, first in your extremities (hands and feet), and then working it’s
way up into your body. Leprosy was even more terrible because it attacked the nervous system
before it attacked the flesh. The leper lost all feeling in the effected parts of his body. You could
cut yourself without knowing it and bleed to death. The leper had to be very careful to prevent
terrible damage to his body. Leprosy was such a terrible disease that God often used it in
Scripture to illustrate the effects of sin in our lives. Sin, like leprosy, often works it’s way into us
without our knowledge.
So Naaman finds out about a new possibility of solving his problem. He didn’t pay attention. He
was supposed to see the prophet. His king sends a letter to the other king, who can’t do a thing to
help Naaman. In fact, Israel’s king thinks Naaman’s king is trying to pick a fight! But Elisha
hears about the situation and steps in. But Elisha doesn’t even bother coming out. He sends a
guy out to tell Naaman what he must do. The message was : Bathe seven times in Jordan River.
Naaman was told to go and wash SEVEN times
- Not 5 times,
- Not 6 3/4 times
- ...but 7 times
B. Naaman is pretty ticked about what he considers a lack of respect and courtesy. Here Elisha
sends for him, then doesn’t even bother to come out and perform some big, religious ritual of
curing him. Plus, Naaman was convinced that the water in the rivers back home were better than
the muddy water of the Jordan. He was right, except for one thing -- God said "Jordan." God
was apparently testing Naaman to see if he would obey even if it cost him his pride. Everyone
knows that the waters of Jordan cannot cure leprosy. If so, all lepers would have gone there. In
the spirit of Naaman, many question the water of baptism today. People reject it for exactly the
same reason that Naaman almost did. They can’t believe that water can save anyone. This is true.
It is not the water that saves, but God. Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inward
But Naaman’s servants talk sense into him and he goes to the Jordan and immerses himself 7
times and “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.” Naaman went
back to the house of Elisha & wanted to give him a present, but Elisha gave God the glory &
refused to take anything. He urged Elisha to accept his present. But Elisha still refused.
Now, Naaman was really impressed. The God Elisha served was not like the gods they
worshipped back in Syria. He possessed great powers, & His prophets did not expect bribes or
rich rewards for themselves.
Naaman could not save himself. He was a captain. Though he was a commander, “he was a