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.

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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.

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