Saturday, September 10, 2016
September 10, II Kings 5:8-14 Naaman the leper 4
We'll finish the story today, looking back and forward both. Let me try to paint this for you. Naaman has a small caravan carrying goods, imagine 50 or so people, 3 or 4 chariots, 20 donkeys and maybe 6 camels. Naaman is wearing splendid armor, walking at the head of the group. They're walking from the palace in Samaria to the prophet's house. As they go Israelites are following, they've heard about what happened in the palace and want to see the show. There's an air of excitement, Naaman is smiling, he believes that the prophet will heal him. As the group approaches the prophet's house a servant is standing in the yard. Naaman stops to greet him and is told that Elisha would not be coming out but if you go wash yourself 7 times in the Jordan river you'll be healed. Watch the expression change on his face, from joy to surprise, then bewilderment, slowly to anger and fury. Where we had a crowd buzzing with expectation, no-one expected this, the crowd is now silent. Does Naaman consider violence? That action could start a war and we don't know. In anger he departs, where we saw hope just a moment ago it's lost now. Naaman is now both angry and confused, the prophet sent word that he should come yet did not meet him. Why not just tell him to go to the river to begin with? And we have at least one person in his group with wisdom. I picture a young man, perhaps mid teens, who essentially says you believed that the prophet could heal you just moments ago, why don't you still believe? And so Naaman does what he's told and washes in the Jordan. There's something in us that resists the simple solutions. When Israel was plagued by snakes all they needed to do was look at the brass snake that Moses made to be healed yet many didn't. The path to salvation and everlasting life with God is simple, admit that we can't do it and accept Christ. Yet so many people try to work their way in, focusing on performance and rituals.