By Richie Thetford
Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria was said to be a “great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper” (2 Kings 5:1). Naaman wished that he could be rid of this awful leprosy and it came about that Elisha, the man of God sent a messenger to Naaman and said, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10). What would you have done if you would have heard this news from the man of God instructing you to wash in the Jordan seven times and you would be healed? Would you quickly run toward the Jordan to obey the word of God?
When Naaman heard this command, he became furious because he had already preconceived in his mind what he thought Elisha should do, to come and stand and call on the name of the Lord and wave his hand over the place to heal his leprosy! He even became upset that he should go to the “dirty” Jordan river to do such a thing claiming that the Abanah and Pharpar rivers of Damascus are better than all the waters of Israel. He even asks why couldn’t he wash in them and be clean then turns and goes away in a rage! You may be saying “what a response to God’s command!” In verse 13 his own servants came to Naaman and said “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, `Wash, and be clean’?” Then Naaman went and dipped seven times in the Jordan river and his leprosy was cured. We can learn many lessons from this story.
Blessings Only Obtained By Obedience
It is only when we decide to obey the commandments of God that we will be blessed. We may have some pre-conceived idea of how we “think” God wants us to do something, but it is not until we actually do what he has instructed for us to do that we will receive the blessing that he promised us. He promised Naaman that he would be cleansed of his leprosy if he would wash seven times in the Jordan river. This rules out every other river and it rules out any number of times except seven! It was only when he did “exactly” as God instructed that he was cleansed! The inspired apostle Paul wrote in Romans 15:4, “For what-ever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” We need to have the faith that is required to fully understand and know that this is true. God has given us an example of Naaman to show us how we must respond to his commandments to us today. Are we ready to obey God or do we think that we have a better plan?
God’s Instructions to Cleanse Us Today
Man is filled with sin just like Naaman was filled with leprosy. Naaman longed to be cleansed from his leprosy and God provided a way for him to purify himself. Man needs to be cleansed from his sin and God has provided a way for man to wash away all his sins. But we must do what God instructs for us to do, in order to have all of our sins washed away. We may not always under-stand why God has told us what to do, but the fact remains that God has told us plainly and simply what we must do.
The question is, Are we ready to obey God? To be cleansed of sin we must first be willing to hear God’s plan for us and be willing to do as he instructs us (Rom 10:17). After hearing of God’s plan we must believe it and believe in his Son Jesus Christ (Heb 11:6; John 8:24). God then asks us to repent of our sins, being ready to let go of the ways of the world and be determined to serve him for the rest of our life (Acts 2:38; 17:30-31). We then are asked to confess Jesus Christ as being the Son of God (Rom 10:9-10; Acts 8:37; Matt 10:32). After making this commitment we then need to be baptized into Christ for the remission (forgiveness) of our sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Rom 6:3-5; Gal 3:27; 1 Pet 3:21). We are cleansed from all of our sins only when we are baptized in the name of Jesus Christ as God has commanded! Are we ready to obey God to be cleansed from our sins?
Guardian of Truth XLI: 6 p. 22
March 20, 1997