The LORD God Is Worthy of Our Trust!
O LORD God, as I enter into Your presence this day with my fellow believers, may we all be moved to trust You completely! Inform us today of Your wonderful works and ways. Lead us sincerely to repent of our sins and to rejoice in Your forgiving love. Move us to sing Your praises and offer You our prayers and petitions with thanksgiving. Finally, abide with me and my fellow believers as we leave Your house and seek faithfully to serve You each and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Jesus is worthy of our trust, for He is “the Lamb who was slain” for us; He is the One who is able to open the seven seals of the scroll which is our future; and He is the One who has made us “kings and priests” before our God!
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day did not trust Him, but rather tried to trip Him up in order to discredit Him. Jesus, however, demonstrated both their ignorance and His powerful insights into the nature, will, and intentions of His heavenly Father!
Text: 2 Kings 5:8-19
So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘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 heal the leprosy.’ 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. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, 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 seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. So Naaman said, “Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. Yet in this thing may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing.” Then he said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him a short distance.
In Christ Jesus, our precious Savior and Lord in whom we rightly trust, dear fellow redeemed:
In recent political polls the U.S. Congress received a 14% job approval rating, the U.S. Supreme Court a 28% job approval rating, and our President a 37% job approval rating. How much do you trust any of the individuals involved in those institutions to do the right thing for our country at all times and under all circumstances? Last weekend the new NFL Season began. How confident are you that your team will go 16-0 this year? Many of us have no such illusion for our teams lost their first game, but even for those of you whose teams won last week—how much do you trust that your team will have an undefeated season? Turning to the world of finance—how many of you trust that our present Social Security system will still be functioning when your children reach retirement age? In all of these areas, I would imagine that everyone here today has some doubts about the reliability of the institutions, teams, and program mentioned. That is because all of them depend upon human beings, and we know from experience that even the most reliable of human beings is not worthy of our complete trust.
On the other hand, consider the trustworthiness of the LORD God. He is the Creator of our universe. When was the last time you remember a law of nature being violated? The LORD God is the Redeemer of our souls. Can you think of any way in which Jesus failed to fulfill His Father’s plan to bring about our salvation? The LORD God is the Preserver of our lives. Has He ever failed to keep His promises to provide for our needs? Having considered those questions, I am confident when I say: THE LORD GOD IS WORTHY OF OUR TRUST! How then ought we respond to Him? As we consider the incident involving Naaman in our text today—let us listen, not dictate; let us obey, not rebel; let us remember, not forget!
The first seven verses of 2 Kings 5 provide us important background information. Naaman was a Syrian general. In fact, he was the highest ranking and most successful Syrian general. He was, therefore, highly thought of and prized by his king. Naaman, however, developed leprosy. A Jewish slave girl serving his wife commented to her mistress one day, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy” (v. 3). Naaman’s wife quickly informed Naaman of the girl’s comment and he in turn informed his king. The Syrian king promptly sent Naaman on a diplomatic mission to Samaria requesting that Israel’s king arrange for Naaman’s healing. The king of Israel, assuming the king of Syria was simply looking for an excuse to go to war, became frustrated and tore his kingly robes as a sign of his great distress. How was he, after all, supposed to heal a man of his leprosy?
As our text begins, Elisha—the prophet of the LORD God, upon hearing of the king’s distress, sent word: “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” Naaman was promptly sent to the prophet’s dwelling. Elisha did not even come out to meet him, but rather sent his servant to instruct Naaman to go and wash himself seven times in the waters of the Jordan River. Along with that instruction came the promise: “Your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean,” but by the time those words were uttered, Naaman was not even listening. He was too upset by what he considered to be an insult, and in his fury he ranted to the members of the entourage: “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘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 heal the leprosy.’ 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?” Our text then informs us that “he turned and went away in a rage.”
What was Naaman’s problem? In his pride he was unwilling to listen. He rather wanted to dictate to the LORD God what should be done. He had a preconceived notion of what should have happened. He had imagined quite a production with the prophet of the LORD God waving his hands and providing instantaneous healing—anything other than going to wash in the dirty Jordan. My dear friends—the skeptics and unbelievers in our world do the same thing. They do not want to listen to the LORD God. No, for them the Bible is too out-of-date! God should really do this, or permit that, or proceed in a way acceptable to the mind of man. Consequently, evolution is considered true while biblical creationism is deemed false; unborn children are thought to be expendable growths subject to abortion rather than individual lives created by God and deserving of society’s protection; the definition of marriage has been expanded to include same-sex couples; and the thought of Jesus being the sole source of salvation is considered far too narrow-minded and divisive! Let us not follow the way of the world in these or any other matters upon which our God has spoken. Let us listen, not dictate to Him! Remember these words of the LORD: “On this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2b).
Let us also obey, not rebel! The unknown hero in this historical account is an unnamed servant, who approached the raging Naaman and reasoned with him: “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” It is obvious that Naaman’s servant loved him and cared about him. He took the risk to confront his master, in spite of his anger. If Elisha had demanded that Naaman do something spectacular to earn his blessing, would he not have done it willingly? Why not simply obey the prophet’s command, rather than arrogantly rebel against it? Thankfully, Naaman listened and the blessing of the LORD became his! He was miraculously cleansed of a disease that would have otherwise destroyed his career and ultimately his life.
My dear friends, are we not like Naaman at times tempted to rebel against God’s commands? In pride we want what we want in the way we want it and at the time we want it! We, therefore, all too often get angry, stubborn, and ready to go out and have a good pout! But such an attitude and consequent series of actions is counter-productive. THE LORD GOD IS WORTHY OF OUR TRUST! His commands are not given merely to control us, as if we were mere puppets in the hands of a celestial puppet-master. No, God’s commands are always given with our good in mind. “God is love,” the apostle John tells us so clearly (cf. 1 Jn. 4:8). He will not mislead us and always seeks to bless us. Does He not tell us through the prophet Jeremiah: “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11)? Is not the reasoning of the apostle Paul correct when he states: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32) Of course it is! Let us, therefore, obey our God’s commands, not rebel against them!
Finally, let us remember, not forget! Upon being healed Naaman went back immediately to the home of the prophet Elisha. He offered Elisha many great rewards, all of which Elisha refused. Even when Naaman continued to insist that he receive something, Elisha steadfastly refused anything. Finally, Naaman, seeing that further encouragement would be of no use, made a simply request: “Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord.” Naaman made this request, because in reality the LORD God had given him a much greater gift than that of physical healing. Naaman now recognized that the LORD God was the one, true God. He had faith in the LORD God who would safeguard his future in time and eternity. He was determined not to forget that fact, but rather always to remember it. The fact that he asked for “two mule-loads of earth” with which to make an altar suggests he had an understanding of God’s will and intention. God had instructed His people in Moses’ day that all altars were to be made of earth or unhewn stones. The altars were not to be the elaborate productions of man as if somehow through their labor they might earn God’s favor, for man cannot save himself by his works. That salvation would alone come from God through the Savior He had promised through Abraham—a Savior for every family on this earth (cf. Gen. 12:3). Naaman had one concern. As a government official and the king’s closest advisor on military matters, he would be required to enter the temple of the pagan god his king served. He told Elisha when I am forced to bow down with my king, “May the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing.” Elisha, knowing that the LORD God could see the sincere intention of faithfulness in Naaman’s heart, simply said, “Go in peace.”
My dear friends, let us remember our Savior God. Let us remember and not forget to thank Him each day for the many blessings He pours into our lives. Let us remember and not forget the sacrifices of our Savior Jesus Christ—entering this sin-filled, death-dominated world to overcome sin and death on our behalf. Let us remember and not forget the promises of the LORD God, who hears, who helps, and who holds us close to His heart as we seek to follow Him with faithfulness as did Naaman. THE LORD GOD IS indeed WORTHY OF OUR TRUST! Amen.
--Pastor Paul D. Nolting
To God alone be glory!