In the Old Testament book of 2nd Kings chapter 5, a Syrian army commander named Namaan was stricken with leprosy. The disease was incurable and caused the person to be outcast, have painful sores on the skin, respiratory issues, loss of function, and many other symptoms. He sought the healing power that was on the prophet Elisha. When he found Him, Elisha sent word to him through a messenger to dip in the Jordan seven times and receive his healing. Namaan responded with seven levels of emotions that I think parallel what we go through in life today. Dip number (1) in verse 11, Namaan was angry with the prophet for not acting the way he thought he should. Dip number (2) Namaan became upset because of his unmet expectations of the man of God. That’s kind of like getting upset with the pastor because he called the sin that you’re comfortable with as sin. Namaan went to the door of Elisha wanting his healing - his way. Let me be forthright here and let you know that very seldom does God give us what we want in our time frame. Dip number (3) Namaan wanted a microwave solution to a lifelong issue. He didn’t want to spend the time or be inconvenienced to God’s way, he wanted his healing his way. Sorry again, folks, but God’s healing will always be “his way.” Dip number (4) in verse 12 Namaan questions the authority of the man of God. He named two rivers in Damascus that were cleaner and more convenient than the Jordan. He questioned God’s authority when he offered any river other than the Jordan. This mentality wants to insert God’s hand into our own will to accomplish our own outcome. Dip number (5) Namaan allowed his anger to turn his face from God to something else. In verse 12, the leprous commander almost allowed his rage to keep him from his healing, but, in verse 13, wise council prevailed. Dip number( 6) wise counsel doesn’t always have to come from a higher place. In Namaan’s situation, a servant persuaded him to at least give it a try, “What could it hurt?” The servant quoted Elisha by saying, “wash and be clean.” If God says it, believe it, and take it to the bank no matter how irrational it may seem. Dip number (7) Namaan does exactly what the prophet instructed in verse 14, and he dipped seven times. I’m sure the first couple of dips he thought he looked crazy. Maybe by the fourth and fifth dips he was thinking about quitting short of completion. I’m sure, on dip number six, he was just about to speak negatively, if he saw anything less than positive results. After his seventh dip, he emerged healed and restored. Not only did his leprosy vanish miraculously, his skin was restored to that of his youth. His laugh lines had vanished, his sun baked skin had a collagen infusion, and his respect and strength was restored to him. I guess you could say he found the fountain of youth in a muddy river.
What if Namaan had stopped short of his seven dips? What if he had allowed his pride, maybe his anger, or even his doubt to overrule his obedience? He would have lived the rest of his life in painful misery and died an outcast from society.
When we stop short of totally submersing ourselves in the presence of God and complete obedience to his will, we don’t hurt him, we hurt us. Stop coming up short, see us at “The Point” on the square in Sparta this Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Bring your father, mother, and family, and we’ll meet you at the door. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.