God has given mankind his word in written form. It is given so that man can learn by the things that happened to others.
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). So by the examples of what happened to others, man today can learn many lessons.
In the book of 2 Kings, there is quite an interesting lesson to be learned. It is a lesson that shows how sometimes people can listen to the truth but not really hear what is being said.
The account is of a man named Naaman who had the terrible disease of leprosy. He was an important man in his country, as he served as captain of the Syrian Army. However, with this disease his life was in danger. He was told by one of his wife’s maids about a prophet in Israel who could help him with his cure. The king of Syria sent letters with Naaman to the king of Israel stating that the king was to cure Naaman of his leprosy. They heard what the maid said, but they did not hear correctly, for they were to find the prophet of God not the king of Israel.
Imagine how the king must have felt when he received the letters from the king of Syria. He knew he did not have the power to cure this Syrian warrior. Elisha the prophet heard of the letters and sent word to the king asking why he was upset, and if he would send the man to him, he would show him there was a God in Israel.
When Naaman arrived at the house of the prophet, things did not go like he thought they would. He was used to things being his way. Instead of a great welcome for this mighty man, a messenger comes out with a message for Naaman and he did not like what he heard. It just was not the way he thought it would be. The message for Naaman was, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).
Naaman was furious. What kind of treatment was this for such a one as he? This was not what he had thought should happen. The Bible records, “But Naaman was wroth, 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 strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:11-12).
He was willing to turn his back on the cure for his disease, because things were not as he thought they should be. It seems strange that he did not have a cure for his disease, yet he was not willing to listen to the cure that was given to him.
Fortunately for him, one of his servants asked him, “If the prophet had asked you to do some great thing, would you not have done it?”
When he followed the instructions, he was healed of his disease.
This is a lesson that still is needed today — not to cure leprosy, but to find the cure for sin that affects all men.
God has given man the Bible to read and study in order to know what man is to do for his salvation. In the New Testament, we are taught to have faith in Jesus as the son of God (Hebrews 11:6), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess the name of Jesus as the son of God (Romans 10:10), to be baptized for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38) and to live a faithful life (Revelations 2:10).
Like Naaman, some want to do different things, but it must be realized that God has the cure, and it must be followed.