Read: Jeremiah 2:3-22; Malachi 3:2; 2 King 5:3-15
The prophet, Jeremiah, records God’s case against Israel and it is literally heart breaking. It is easy for some New Testament readers not to see just how much God loved Israel during the Old Testament. Israel literally broke God’s heart, in a sense, after all God had done for them when they came out of Egypt. Israel had turned to other gods and their immoral practices and had rejected God’s love for them. God was disappointed just like a lover is disappointed when his or her lover has gone astray. “That you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,’ Says the Lord God of hosts….Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How have you turned before ME into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?” For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet, your iniquity is marked before Me, says the Lord God. (Jeremiah 2:19-22).
We have somewhat of a similar case in 2 Kings of the Old Testament which demonstrates how one can allow pride and ego to become a serious stain which keeps one from being made whole in body and mind by God, Who wants to heal them. We can sin and push God out of our lives to the point we create a stain on our souls which becomes an abomination to God. A stain which God, Himself, cares not to remove except we repent. In this case God says, “There is not enough soap to wash your stains away.”
It is God’s desire that His children remain in good health. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Here is a case of a man who was about to lose his physical healing from God simply because of his professional pride and ego. There must have been some good in this man. Naaman’s Hebrew slave girl had mentioned to his wife that she wished her master would go to Israel and get healed of His leprosy. The slave girl told her master’s wife she knew of a prophet in Samaria who could heal her master. Naaman, a Syrian Commander in chief and a great hero of the Syrian army with many victories under his belt, was stained with leprosy. In God’s eyes Naaman’s stain consisted of having too much ego and pride. Naaman had trouble listening to or taking instruction from people whom he considered unimportant in his eyesight.
The king of Israel was not aware that Naaman had come into the area to be healed of his leprosy. When Naaman offered the king money and demanded he be healed, the king of Israel, being frightened, thought Naaman had come to start a fight again with Israel. The king knew he couldn’t heal the soldier and he was confused as to what to do. When the prophet Elisha heard of the situation he sent his messenger to Naaman to come to his house to be healed. Elisha wanted to further the knowledge of God through the healing Naaman. All of God’s children should make it a point to spread the good news about God, every chance they get.
So when Naaman arrived at the door of the prophet’s house, the prophet didn’t come out to meet him but instead sent his servant out to tell the Syrian Commander to go and wash in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed of every trace of his leprosy. Naaman became very angry and left the prophet’s house. Naaman was insulted and had expected the prophet to personally come out to greet him, and wave his hand over his head in the name of his God for total healing, given the fact that he had brought a large sum of money and gifts ($80,000) to be healed. The Commander did not want to get off of his horse or go through any extra or unnecessary motions to get healed. He wanted a “quickie” and felt that he was too important to do all of what the prophet told him to do. In a sense, the Commander expected the prophet to come out of his house on his knees with a bowed down head and give him his healing so that he could turn around and head back home to Syria. How often is it that we too get impatient when God is trying to speak to us to bring us in line with His will? And we shut Him out because what God is asking us to do we consider it to be beneath us, so to speak.
The attitude of defiance Naaman had could not have been washed away by any water or soap. Naaman’s attitude was sin; neither water nor soap can wash away sin. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away sin. Naaman’s disobedience was keeping him from being healed. We can do our sin and go take a wash off and shower but that will not wash away our sin. Our sin becomes a black stain whereas; only the chemistry in the blood of Jesus can wash it away.
Naaman was in a rage. He exclaimed, “Aren’t the two great rivers in Damascus better than all the rivers in Israel put together? If it’s rivers I need, I’ll wash at home and get rid of my leprosy there. Naaman’s officers tried to reason with him and said, “If the prophet had told you to do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? But instead he simply said go down to the river, wash and be cured!”