Summary: A study of the transformation Naaman experienced may encourage us to humble ourselves before the Lord.

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.’ So Naaman went in and told his lord, ‘Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.’ And the king of Syria said, ‘Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.’

“So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, ‘When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.’ And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.’

“But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.’ So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, ‘My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, “Wash, and be clean?”’ So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

“Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, ‘Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.’” [1]

Before examining the text, note an occasion when Saul defied the command of the LORD. At that time, Samuel rebuked the King of Israel, saying,

“To obey is better than sacrifice,

and to listen than the fat of rams.”

[1 SAMUEL 15:22b]

Hold that thought in mind as the message unfolds.

It is easy to speak of obedience, but it can be extremely difficult to obey at times. Obedience is especially difficult when we are speaking of obedience to the Living God. There are multiple reasons why obedience to the LORD’s will is so difficult. In the first place, we naturally want to be in control of our own lives. This was the essence of the sin of our first parents. We struggle against permitting someone else to rule over our lives—especially when that Someone is the unseen God. Why do you suppose the need to make Him Master is continually emphasised? If obedience to the Son of God was easy to do, we wouldn’t need to hear the repeated insistence on obedience.

You have heard me repeatedly cite the words penned by the Apostle: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” [ROMANS 10:9-10]. The initial emphasis is to openly confess that Jesus is Lord, to confess that Jesus is Master! We don’t like the idea that anyone, even Someone such as Jesus, will actually assume the right to be Master.

If we accept Him as rightful ruler over out life, then it means that we will obey what He says. Walk with me through the Gospel of John, noting the repeated emphasis on obedience to the Son of God. Here is the first passage to consider: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” [JOHN 3:36]. Believing is equated to obeying. To believe is to obey. To refuse to obey is tantamount to unbelief.

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