Behold, I Thought (Part 2)
Yesterday, we began examining the account of Naaman in II Kings 5. We learned that Naaman was the commander of the Syrian king's army and a man of some import. We also saw that Naaman was a leper. When he learned of a way that he might be healed of his leprosy, Naaman went to Samaria where he was sent to God's prophet Elisha. When Elisha, via a messenger, told Naaman to simply "go and wash in the Jordan seven times" , Naaman became furious. In our time together yesterday, we considered the first of three reasons why Naaman initially rejected Elisha's instructions--the first being Naaman thought he knew how he would be healed. Today, we will consider a second reason why Naaman had a hard time accepting the instructions of Elisha.

In II Kings 5:12, Naaman continued to question the instructions of God's prophet: "Are not the Abanah and the 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."

Naaman couldn't understand what the big deal was about the Jordan River. He thought one way was as good as another. As a matter of fact, he thought two rivers (the Abanah and the Pharpar) were better! Naaman thought the cleansing power was in the water, and he wanted the "better" water. Naaman misunderstood. The power wasn't in the water--the power was in his obedience!

Today, many people similarly reject the gospel and its plan of salvation because they want to practice or preach something that is simply not found (and not authorized) in scripture--they want to practice or preach something they think is just as good as what the Bible says. They want to use personal preference. (Such folks would do well to heed the example of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1,2.) Baptism (i.e., immersion in water for the remission of one's sins) is a modern example that parallels Naaman's misunderstanding and rejection of Divine instruction. Many today reject the requirement of baptism and have degraded it to nothing more than getting wet. They have done so by substituting sprinkling or pouring for immersion in water or by declaring baptism as nonessential. Like Naaman, they get so caught up on the water that they do not realize that salvation comes from faithful obedience, which includes submission to the requirement of baptism. Take some time, in the near future, to meditate upon the following passages of Holy Writ: Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3,4; Galatians 3:27; and I Peter 3:21.

In those passages, we find (respectively):

Dear friends, do not be deceived. To obtain salvation, one must submit to the conditions that God has set in the way that He has specified. If Naaman had washed in the Abanah or the Pharpar, he would not have been cleansed of his leprosy. If one does not faithfully and completely submit to that which God has required regarding salvation, he will not be cleansed of his sins. So far, we have examined two of three reasons why Naaman rejected the will of God regarding the cleansing of his leprosy. Tomorrow, we will consider the third and final reason.