Summary: There is much about Naaman that applies to us. This sermon looks at his life and the seven bathings he took, and considers perhaps why.




II Kings 5:1-14 (Living New Testament)

February 8, 2004


1. Have you heard of Naaman (II Kings 5, Lu 4:27)

2. When we first meet Naaman he’s living a wonderful life

a. A friend of the king.

b. Selected by king to be his chief general

c. Military success, medals, battle honors

d. We don’t know ... maybe he was taking a bath; perhaps he was shaving. But he saw disaster beginning

(1) A little spot - bad as positive test to Aids

(2) A white spot - bad as a Cat Scan indicating a terminal illness.

e. He saw the illness which was the cancer of ancient world.

3. Suddenly, his whole life changed from acceptance and success to rejection and terror.

I. Naaman had strengths worthy for us to duplicate.

A. He had the courage to Take a Step in time of hurt

1. Went to king - revealed his problem. Remember, this could have resulted in total rejection.

2. Moved past fear.

a. Hudson Taylor, a missionary to China I the 1800s, wrote: "Unless we feel an element of risk in our exploits, there is no need for faith."

b. The early church, constantly lived in fear. However, they moved through their fear to power.

3. I know folk, who because of fear of what they may hear, refuse to see a doctor when they recognize what might be a physical problem.

B. Naaman refused to allow his EGO to stop him from changing.

1. Listened to suggestion of child - that’s hard sometimes to do. Even more, the child was a slave.

2. He went to king of Israel - who chances are, Naathan had defeated in battle raids.

3. He went to the home of a country "preacher" and knocked on his door. Now, Naathan was a general. Generals don’t to ask help. They send other officers to bring the individual to the general.

4. Naathan admitted his mistake in his reaction to the prophet’s instructions, and corrected it.

II. However, Naaman may have had weaknesses to overcome. If so, they were common to weaknesses we need to overcome.

Describe the scene: Naaman has left Elisah’s home after facing his anger. He moves to river bank. Chances are it was muddy, rocky, filed with driftwood and snagging, tripping roots. He may well have reached the water with muddy feet -- and maybe a muddy rear. The Jordan River flooded during part of the year. The rest of the time, it tended to be shallow enough to wade across. So, Naathan didn’t stand in water up to his neck, as he might in a backyard swimming pool. It probably was more like standing in a wading pool. To wash himslef, picture Naaman down on his knees, rear end in the air, dipping his head in a puddle.

We only can guess at Naaman’s need or his experienced prayer in each dip.

A. Perhaps the first weakness to solve was the worry of how his action might LOOK to others.

The first step is the hardest to take. Naaman may have seen smile on the face of one in the crowd. He may have sensed a snide comment among the watchers. Whatever he may have felt, he had to deal with the same problem we face: Pride. The need to overcome the fear of how our faithful Christian life may look to others. But Naaman overcame, lowered himself in the Jordan, and Vanity was defeated.

B. As Naaman raised his head from the waters, there may have been a second temptation that bared it’s teeth: the temptation to DO IT LATER. Put it off till better time. Procrastinate -- just as we are tempted when God calls us to faithfulness, not to say "no;" just to say "later." It is so easy to delay, isn’t it? So, Naaman lowered himself and Procastination faded.

C. A third feeeling could have surfaced as Naaman lifted himself from that second dip. The feeling of DOUBT that something this simple could help. Common sense says that his problem needs a more complicated, dignified solution. Naaman already had felt this, and gave in to the argument of his officer. But my problem is more serious. Perhaps so is yours. It seems too simple to cleanse a lifetime of sin by a simple confession and acceptance. There’s got to be more...... Then Naaman lowered his head beneath the water for the third time, and his Doubt died.

D. Naaman’s needs weren’t ended. Perhaps, when he rose from the water, yet another problem settled in: a feeling of RESENTMENT that he had this to face. Already he had experienced anger at the prophet. Elisha didn’t even come out when Naaman knocked on his door. He just called to go and dip in the river. Resentment and anger can be such a limiting force in our lives, can’t they? One "offends" us. Someone says or does something that hurts. And we let that hurt fester into anger, then resentment, then reaction. Like Naaman, we may need another dip in the river. So once again Naaman lowered himself, and found Resentment released

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