Originally scheduled for March 27
So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the
doorway of the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to him,
saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will
be restored to you and you will be clean." But Naaman was furious
and went away and said, "Behold, I thought, 'He will surely come out
to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave
his hand over the place and cure the leper.' "Are not Abanah 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. Then his servants came near and spoke to him
and said, "My father, had the prophet told you to do some great
thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says
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. When he returned to the man of God with all his company,
and came and stood before him, he said, "Behold now, I know that
there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; so please take a
present from your servant now."
(2 Kings 5:9-15 NASB)
Namaan, the main
character of this story, has two defining characteristics:
a bigshot – commanding general of his country’s army.
He feels entitled to a little respect.
a leper – a serious medical condition which carries with it the
status of “outcast.”
We might also speculate that he’s a
little bit desparate;
after all, he got into this by taking the word of a little girl that
she knew where the miracles were performed.
One thing is typical:
he goes right to the top, the king, who deals directly with
the king of Israel. It
is the way important people handle things.
Doing things in God’s way is a
surprise to him. His
expectation is that Elisha would perform some suitable mystic hand
waving. God’s way is
different.He first makes it clear how he deals with the mighty:
Elisha doesn’t even meet with the man – he sends a messenger.
What’s the message?
Go down to the local river and dunk yourself seven times.
Note that this set of instructions is rather explicit:
exactly seven times.
God deals in humility and obedience.
Namaan explodes, but his servants talk sense to him.
If Elisha had told him to do some mighty deed, wouldn’t he
put forth the effort to do it?
Just do it like the man told you to.
The result is so powerful that Namaan won’t leave without
securing God’s forgiveness for House of Rimmon.
He knows there is only one true God; he just proved it.
Therer is a parallel in this to
Communion. If we
weren’t given instructions, think what elaborate ceremonies we would
dream up to commemorate Christ’s death on the Cross!
Instead, we are told to use common and ordinary foodstuffs –
bread and wine – a peasant’s meal.
But the rules surrounding it are strictl God requires
faithful obedience to them.
One such rule concerns self-examination.
You are commanded to examine yourself before taking
Communion. Do so in the
strictest of honesty, so that the results may be what Christ
forgiveness by God Almighty depends upon Christ’s obedience at the
Cross. Our forgiveness
of each other – and thus the harmony of the church – depends upon
being obedient to the ultimate example of forgiveness.