Steven Furtick — Why I Went Off?
This week I want to share a character study on a Bible character who is so familiar to me, and by that I mean not only have I read this story quite a few times, but I feel like I know this guy. I feel like I've met him one time, in the mirror, and certain things about him really spoke to me, and so I just pray that the same will happen for you today. As I read this text, I want to just tell you the spoiler alert right up front. Naaman in 2 Kings 5 has leprosy and gets healed, but that's just the headline. And so, there's a lot to learn in the midst of it, and I want to read a few verses and kind of drop in and explain and move along in this narrative. Bible says in 2 Kings 5:1, "Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram".
It's interesting the way that is phrased, because it says it wasn't by him that the victory was won, it was through him, and I think understanding that is very critical if you have any hope of remaining sane in your life, just to know that God's gonna do it through you. You know, half of the time that I'm messed up is 'cause I'm trying to do it for God and He's trying to do it through me, but He can't do it through me when I'm trying to do it for Him. And so I just start forcing situations, and then I'm frustrated, and irritated, and agitated, and I'm mad at everybody and everything 'cause I'm trying to do stuff for people and for God that God would like to do through me if I would yield myself and yield my will. And this is even more interesting, because Naaman is not an Israelite. He's not one of these chosen people, as they understood it at the time. He's actually a commander of an enemy army from Aram that would consistently raid the Israelites, and not only do damage to their crops, but many times take their people away in bondage at the end of one of this raids.
And the Bible says, "He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him"... he was highly regarded because of what he did. He was highly regarded because of the results that he achieved. He was highly regarded because of the outcomes that were brought about through his skill set. And so, "He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him", I'm reading it over and over on purpose, because it's so profound that if we skim the surface, we will miss the meaning. "He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. And he was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy", an incurable skin decease, a non-lethal form of it in this case, but a problem nonetheless. He was great, but. And, depending on when you see someone and the setting that you meet them in, you might be sometimes more acquainted with their victories than their vulnerabilities.
That's why I advocate just a little bit of time dating, just a little bit of time to see them in pressure filled situations, just a little bit of time out of the candlelight, under the harsh neon glow of some of the trials of life. Just a piece of advice, but I can't prove it in the Bible, but I think, you know, depending on where you see someone determines what you see. And I realize this and more now because I think people think that they should behave in front of a pastor, so when I meet people, a lot of times I realize I might not be meeting the truest version of them. Do you know what I mean? They might not always speak in Hebrew and Greek. They might sometimes speak in other tongues. But when I really want to know about somebody, especially on staff, I don't go off of my first impression because I don't really trust my first impression of people anymore. I used to. I used to say I have discernment.
Now I realize that a lot of what I thought was discernment was really me just vibing off of somebody, or maybe they reminded me of somebody, and I didn't like some people that were really cool, consistent people, but I thought they were boring, but the reason they were boring is because they're not always having to create drama in their life. And I found out that drama works good in movies, but in real life I don't want to take it to that show. Am I preaching already? This is just the first verse. And what I learned about myself is I need to ask others. I need to get references. And at times I'll meet somebody on our staff, and it's not a small staff and I don't know everybody on the staff anymore. I used to. I used to hand select people, and oh, man, when I hired the first staff member, I got the opportunity to spend just hours and hours getting to know him, so I knew his strengths and weaknesses pretty well.
But now, I will ask someone about someone, and I'll ask somebody that works with them and has had to work with them in a pressure... hopefully if I can get somebody that has had to work with them when there was a deadline involved, or has seen how they managed a disappointment, you know, and how they treat others, and things like that. So I will ask, how is so-and-so? Let's say that I wanted to know at J.T. I would ask, I would be like, hey, how's J.T.? And I would wait for the person who knows them, not the person who met them, but the person who knows them. I would wait for them and see how long they hesitate before they answer the question, because I want to see how long they're gonna scroll through... you know, and sometimes people will say the right thing, but it's the inflection in their voice they say it with that lets you know there's something else. I'll be like, hey, I've noticed J.T. on our staff. He seems like a great guy. And if the person's voice goes up when they answer, you've got to pay attention to that. And so it's like, how's J.T.? And they'll go, "Oh, he's great". And when they hit that falsetto, like unnatural soprano note, "He's great," when they start sounding like Axl Rose, you know? I'm like, "But what"?
Everybody say, "But what"? Because, one thing that has really helped me in ministry and in life is to realize that everybody has two eyes, two ears, one nose, one neck, most people two arms, two legs, and everybody has at least one but. He was a great man, but. It's in the Bible, people. I'm not making it up. It said that this great man... he's great, but. The problem with being a preacher is I can see your eyes. I can see your ears. I can see whether or not you're taking notes, and if you have a pen out, I'm judging you so hard right now I hope you feel the vibrations of the flames of hell. And the issue with this arrangement is I can't see your but, and it's probably better that way! I've spent a lot of my ministry preaching to people's heads, preaching to people's intellect, and I messed around and pastored this church now for over 12 years, and I messed around and got a few stray grays in my beard, and I messed around involved in a few people's lives, and I messed around and found out that everybody has a but, and the only way I knew it is that a few people showed me their...
I know it's awkward and you know, half the reason that sermons don't really register more than two hours sometimes is because we're all trying to cover our but. That's the strategy most people come to church with, CYB, Cover Your But! You cover it behind a big smile, and a praise the Lord. You didn't know I could do that. Do you know what I'm sayin'? He was a great man, but he had a skin issue, and nobody can see that on the battlefield, 'cause on the battlefield I've got armor. And we all have something that we use to cover a spot in our life. Let's be honest, we're not talking about human anatomy here. You are great with people, but you don't take care of yourself. You see what I'm saying? You are really good at succeeding and really bad at being content. So I'm successful, but I'm miserable. I'm killing it at work, but my 15-year-old... do I even have to finish this? I've got a great marriage - I'm great! But I'm not making any money right now, and I'm a good emotional provider, but financially, you know, I never learned how to do that. The thing about a really good encounter with God, you can tell when you've encountered God. It will expose your... And the way it happens, it'll often be an unlikely way.
Let's talk about this in three stages. The first is exposure. Naaman is perhaps changing one day in his own home, and verse 2 says: "Bands of raiders from Aram," remember, he's a captain. He's a commander of these armies from Aram, which would often go out and take different people captive, and on one particular such occasion, the "Raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman's wife. And she said to her mistress, "If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy". And so, the Bible says something really important in Verse 4, because you are not blessed based on the word of God that you hear or the word of God that you understand. You are blessed and your life is changed in accordance with the word of God that you apply, obey, and act on. That's why you can hear 13 years of teaching and still be mean as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. No, that's why you can hear a lot of teaching about love, but if you don't make the decision to forgive, the teaching about love will be snatched up by the birds of the air and will not take root in your heart.
So, Verse 4 becomes really important if we really want to change, if we really want to get beneath the surface and, you know, not just have a skin deep spirituality and a skin deep relationship with God, where we can fake it for a little while and we create stages to impress people, and we have armor that we put on to go out into our job, but we come home and feel like miserable, miserable people to live with, or we feel like we don't know how to be intimate, but we know how to be impressive. And so, as long as people only see us from a distance, they don't really notice what's starting to cover our skin and cover our souls, and things that are just leaping out of us at all the wrong time. Verse 4 says, "Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said". And it took courage and it took humility for Naaman to go to his master and show his but, to show his vulnerability when he was a man with so many victories. I just want to stay there for a minute, because sometimes I feel like we use prayer as an opportunity to read God our resume, you know?
And while I think it's great to celebrate all the Goliaths that we kill, sometimes the giants in us are kicking our butt and we don't say anything about it until it's too late. And, I'm getting bolder every year I pastor, as I commit more and more to preaching to the part of you that you would just as soon hide and never mention, because I think that's where real help is found. And, "Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said". I mean, this is a servant girl, and Naaman is what? A great man. A great man! He's a great man, but he's got these spots that are starting to spread, and if he doesn't do something soon, there's no telling what might happen next. And since there are no essential oils for this particular form of leprosy at this point in antiquity, Naaman has to take the advice of a little girl, and now we have a great man going to an enemy nation in Israel because of the advice of a little girl.
Are you willing to obey God even if he speaks through something that seem smaller than you? Because I notice a lot of us won't. A lot of teenagers will listen to me preach and roll their eyes at their parents, and I don't understand that, because I'm not paying for your college or your braces. I'm not even buying you ramen noodles! And, sometimes I've noticed that men will listen to me preach, but their wife knows them better than I do and could say some things that would actually help them. It's gettin' quiet, and even the women left me out on that one! It's something about exposure, and when a spot in your life... everybody say "spot". A leper's spot, something that is consuming you that others can't see, when it is exposed by an experience, that's the second stage I wanted to mention is experience, because things will happen in your life and you'll come up upon situations that will expose something that you would prefer to hide, and what you do next determines whether you get healed.
So, "Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel said". And Verse 5 says that the king said, "By all means, go. I will send a letter to the king of Israel". So, Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold," that's like 75 pounds of each, so Naaman is going to Israel with his resources to attain healing. He's gonna deal with this like he always deals with things, 'cause he's a great man, he's a persistent man, he's a prepared man, he's a powerful man. He's other things that start with the letter P as well. "And the letter that he took to the king of Israel read: "With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy".
There's all kind of stuff wrong with that sentence. It's like the telephone game we used to play, when you pass a message along to somebody and it starts out we're having, you know, chicken for lunch, and it answer dying of cancer, and you pass it down and it only takes three people. This chain of communication has polluted the message itself, because number one, the servant girl didn't say the king can heal him, it said the prophet can. And sometimes we run to the wrong people because we have our own ideas about where our help comes from. And it's not the king that is going to have the faith to get him healed, it's the prophet. His name is Elisha. But the king sends the commander to the king because, you know, this is to me the most logical way to get him healed, we'll go straight to the top.
But watch the king's response, and this is kind of interesting, because when the king gets the letter and Naaman shows up with all of the accumulated wealth that he believes it's gonna take to get him healed... you know we have our own ideas about what it's gonna take to make a change in our life, and I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna go back, I'm gonna get my degree. I'm gonna go back, I'm gonna get my degree. And I'm gonna eat so much kale, it's gonna be coming out of my nose. I'm not eating gluten again until 2024. I'm gonna do hot yoga, and cold yoga, and power lifting, and I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna read my Bible. I'm gonna delete every social media off my phone. I'm never going on Facebook again, I'm gonna face in the Book.
And he shows up with a lot of stuff that he thinks it's need to get healed, but "As soon," Verse 7, "as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God"? You want me to do what? I'm not a doctor, I'm a king. Have you ever felt like life brought you something that was above your pay grade to handle? God, they're doin' that thing again where they sit there and look at me like they always have it together and they have all the answers. 'Cause I looked at my kids the other day and said, "I am not Google! I am not a search engine! I do not know! Furthermore, I do not care! Get out of my"... sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and replay things that I've said to my kids, and feel so bad that I have to get up and baptize myself in the bathtub and get saved again just as I am with that one plea! Oh, Lamb of God, what do You want from me?
I'm only a man! And the king says I know what this is. This man, watch, "Can I kill and bring back to life"? He's triggered because he is confronted with a situation that he is unable to transform, and whenever life presents you with something, that you are not equipped for, so, you gotta be a dad and you didn't have a dad. You gotta pay a bill, but God didn't give you a job. You've gotta step into something that you've never seen before with the faith to believe that it's already done, and it can be exasperating to the point, watch this, that you allow your past experience to contaminate your perspective of the present moment.
Remember what I said, the king of Aram, Ben-Hadad II, would often go and invade Jehoram's land. Jehoram's king of Israel. And so, when he gets the letter saying, hey, can you help my guy, Naaman, can you heal my guy, Naaman, it triggered within him a traumatic memory of the last time he was attacked. And so he goes off, not because of the situation that he's experiencing, but because of past experiences. Do you ever wonder why you go off and it's inexplicable? Like, the level of the offense does not match the level of the outrage, and you wonder why? What was that all about?
Have you ever went to Elevation Church, sticker on your car, said some words that weren't "Bless the Lord, O my soul," and wondered? You how you all think Holly is so sweet? One time in college she was singing a worship song, and the song said... I was there, I was in the passenger seat! The song said, "You are so patient with me, Lord". She didn't get to "Lord" before she was screaming at the Dodge Ram that pulled out in front of her, and she's loud! Holly is loud! When she's up here at reflection, she'll be smiling, but I'm gonna tell you something about Holy Furtick. What? What was that all about? Where did that voice come from? And then the devil starts telling you, oh, you know, you're not a real Christian, you're a hypocrite. Some of y'all are gonna lose it before the day is over, and you'll wonder, why did I go off like that?
It's understandable because we live in not only the age of anxiety, but have you noticed we live in the age of outrage, too? How trendy it is now to just get mad about anything that you don't like the first time you hear it? I think like, for me, now this is just what I'm working through, and so if this makes you think I'm crazy, you're right. But, I'm going through this season of my life where I don't want to keep blaming my environment, or consulting things that happened in my life, because the cross of Jesus Christ gives me a new reality. And it really changes everything in the sense that all of my life has to be viewed through that lens of what He did for me and who He says I am. If I'm not careful, I'll be like the king, who when confronted with an impossible situation that reminded him of a past hurt, he inflicted the opportunity of his present moment with the pain of his past.
Do you see what I'm saying? He projected. See, every time he dealt with Aram it was an attack, and now it's an opportunity for this man to be healed and see what God can do. But if what you went through isn't healed by what Christ did for you, you will treat the opportunity like an attack, and I've noticed that I've spent a lot of my time fighting stuff that God is actually sending into my life. I spend a lot of my time fighting against people that I'm not really mad at. It's really not them. Tell the person next to you. It's not you. It's me. It's me. I'm a perfectionist. And so sometimes when things are just like I want them to be, here's what really happens. It really happens with my expectation.
Put that word up there. Because, when I expect it to be one way and it's the other, like, when I went off on my dad a few years ago, it was because I rented him a house, I moved him and my mom to Charlotte, I, well, I didn't move 'em. I hired movers and they got fired 'cause my dad was crazy. It was so funny. It really wasn't funny. It's funny now. Can we laugh about it? Okay. But the day I went to see him, and, the story has a happy ending. We ended up being together, you know, and it was good and all that. But in between, remember, Naaman gets healed at the end of this story, but there's some stuff in the middle that I wanna talk to you about. Because in the middle of that whole messy situation with my dad, I remember going over to check on them one day, and I was so proud of the house that Holly had found. That we rented for them, and my mom liked it, and she was happy. And my dad, the first thing he said when we went through the door, he said, "This ain't gonna work, Bo".
And I know, honor your mother and father in the Lord. I know that Bible verse. I promise you I know it. I even know that honor is ka-bed in Hebrew, and it can also be translated "glory and weight". But the only thing I wanted in that moment, I'mma just be honest with you. I don't like to be disrespected. And it felt disrespectful to me. And so I went off. And it really wasn't what he said 'cause really what he wanted was just a few small tweaks. But I couldn't hear that anymore. You know? 'Cause my expectation was that he was gonna meet me at the door, and give me a big ol' hug, and say, "My son, in whom I am well pleased". And the dove would descend. But, he didn't read my script. What do you do when people don't read your script? Meet you expectation.
Here's where the story gets good, because I want you to notice that the same event that triggered the king, and made him go into fear mode, which is usually what's happening when we're lashing out or withdrawing. Because not everybody fights outwardly. Some of us bottle it up inwardly, and we never go off. One day, we just tap out. And you wonder, how do they drop like that? Well, it's usually a series of unmet expectations. In this case, the king of Israel, Jehoash, he's traumatized to the point that he thinks that everything is a fight. It says it in the text. "See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me," that's verse seven. See how they're looking at me? They didn't even wave at me. This is a Southern thing. You're supposed to wave at people when you drive by them.
The town I grew up in, you waved at everybody. And the first time that we were driving through the neighborhood, and Holly didn't wave at people, I corrected her. I was like, "What is wrong with you"? And she's not from Moncks Corner. She's from Miami. And it's a different culture. It's an inferior culture of rudeness. And so, anytime that you've been used to in your life, you've been used to fighting. If life has really been a fight for you, if you've had to fight for your mental health, or you've had to fight for your emotional health, or if you've had to fight through issues of bitterness and forgiveness because of abuse, if you've had to, you know, fight for your own, and fight to make it, or if you had to fight your own family. When you've had to fight over and over again, everything looks like a fight. Everything looks like a threat. Everything sounds like an insult. Every time somebody doesn't check on you, it feels like abandonment. It's the trauma that's being triggered.
But what's encouraging to me, and what I got up here to tell you about today, 'cause this is pretty depressing, so far, but the same stimulus that triggered fear in the king's heart triggered faith in Elisha's. The Bible says in verse eight, "When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message". Now watch this. The king said, "Who do you think I am? You think I'm a healer"? Elisha said, "I know God is a healer". So, watch this. "Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel". This man said, "Where you see opposition, I see opportunity". And the same thing that triggered you to tear your robes, and freak out, and fall down in fear, triggered Elisha to rise up in faith. Elisha said, "Send him to me, because the word of God is with me".
Now, Elisha has an experience to build this expectation on. Elisha has healed the waters at Jericho. Elisha has multiplied the widow's oil. Elisha has spoken to barren wombs. And when that child died, spoke life and it resurrected from the dead. Elisha has dug ditches in dry valleys and seen God bring water from the direction of Edom. Elisha has seen God do things that only God can do. And so, when an impossible situation that is beyond him shows up, Elisha knows what to do. Bring him here to me. I got something for Naaman. I heal lepers for breakfast. Bring him to me and he will know not how great I am, but how great God is. And so, watch verse nine. I love this story. Naaman went with his horses, and chariots, and his expectations, and his leprosy, and his greatness and his but, and he brought it all, because he wanted to be healed.
I know you wanna be healed of something today even though you've been covering it up. And I know you use your charisma to cover your cracks. And I know that nobody knows how dark the thoughts can really get for you sometimes. But I've been doing this too long to sit there and preach to your armor. Because a business leader walked up to me, and told me that he had to kick his teenager out of his house. He said, "We almost got in a fist fight". He said, I swung at him and missed". Now, I realized, this has gone way too far. And the man, the man had on khakis while he was telling me. Pleated khakis. Double pleated khakis. No tattoos. But, didn't look like the kind of guy who would swing on his kid, but, I don't even really think you've seen your own but until you've been through certain things. And then the weird thing is, we all have short term memory loss. If we have one devotion, and read our Bible one morning, now we start judging other people when they flip out.
And so, Naaman is on the verge of something. He had to travel a long way to get here. It's like a 90 mile trip. And he's got a big crew with him and he needs a miracle. And, we admire him because he went. I do, at least. I think to even get to this point takes faith. So, Naaman went with his horses, and chariots, and stopped at the door of Elisha's house, and Elisha sent a messenger. This is not gonna go well, because Naaman is a great man, and when a great man comes to your doorstep, you give him a great greeting. And you welcome him by name, man. I'mma retire. This is my last sermon. Y'all enjoy. He sent a messenger to say to him, "Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan". "In the what"? "In the Jordan". "You mean that muddy excuse for a river that y'all like to celebrate so much in this nation of Israel which I don't even like anyway? And he didn't even come to the door"?
And Naaman went off. No, he literally went off. Not in the figurative sense. He literally decided, "I would rather go home with my leprosy. I'd rather go home and my arm fall off. I would rather go, I would rather die than be disrespected like this". And when he heard this ridiculous command, he says something very important. And the instruction, it was a simple instruction. It was a stupid instruction. It didn't make much sense. Just like it doesn't make much sense when God tells you to forgive somebody so that you can be forgiven? And you wanna say, "God, if they ask for it, I'll give it". And God says to you, "I'm not talking about what they deserve, I'm talking about your deliverance. I'm talking about your clean heart. I'm talking about your clear mind". So if you wanna get cleansed, I need you to do something that makes no sense because there is no cure for leprosy. It can't be cured. It's gotta be cleansed. And it can only be cleansed if you obey this command.
Verse eleven sounds so sad, but, there it is again. I'mma preach a whole series one day on the buts of the Bible. But Naaman, standing for a miracle. I mean, the guys around him are like, "Okay. That's all we gotta do? Naaman, you could keep the 75 pounds of silver and the 75 pounds of gold, and you can pass out the ten sets of clothing, and we could go home. We could start back home. That's easy. Somebody start running the water. Naaman, you want it hot? You want it extra hot? Naaman, you want a rubber ducky? Get the towel ready. You want some sunscreen"? But, it's a funny thing about pride. It's a funny thing about the small things. It's a funny thing about something that seems beneath you. Remember, the king was triggered by something that seemed beyond him. Am I God? And Naaman is triggered because of something that seems beneath him. You want me to do what? Uh-uh. Uh-uh. Not doing that. Uh-uh. Nope.
See, because, when your heart is filled with pride, you try to write your own prescriptions. This is how I want God to bless me. This is how I want God to come through. This is how I want God to heal me. This is how I want Him to respond. This is the opportunity I want. So Naaman went away angry. Said, this is two very dangerous words by the way, this is maybe the two most dangerous words for you to interpret your life through. "I thought". I thought. Maybe those two words are the two words that are standing between me and peace today. I thought. I thought my dad was gonna be grateful for the house. Now he's telling me about getting somebody over here to fix the, huh? I thought. I thought you'd say thank you. I thought you'd grow up and play piano. I put you in lessons. I thought. I thought. "I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God".
See, Naaman had it all planned out 'cause that's what great men do. Great men make great plans. And when those plans don't go the way that they were supposed to go, great men go off. Great women go off. Because I had this family picture. Here's where you were supposed to stand. And here's where you were supposed to smile. And here's where you, I thought. Could those two words be standing between you and healing today? I thought. God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts. And My ways are not your ways. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are My thoughts above your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways". But Naaman went away angry. and said, "I thought he'd come out to me. I thought he would, see, 'cause I had this worked out. He comes to me, and then I give him the gifts, and I get the healing. This is how this works". Not this time, Naaman. Not this time. This transformation is not gonna happen on your terms. God's not gonna do it like you expect it. He's not gonna be held hostage to what you thought.
So, "I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God and wave his hand". He's supposed to wave. He's supposed to wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. He doesn't like the place God told him to get healed. "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? I didn't have to come here for this. Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed? So, he turned and went off in a rage". And one of his servants, this guy needs a raise, by the way, went to him. Notice how beautiful the story is told. It's chronicled like this. Naaman went to his master, and said, "I need permission to go to Israel," so, he went to the king, and the king said, "I can't do it". Then he went to Elisha with his chariots and horses. And Naaman went off in a rage and he's about to miss the opportunity to be healed because he is going off.
And here's why he went off. Because he didn't go in. He went off because he made his decision about what he thought about it, but he didn't go in. You know, I've noticed something about myself. When I don't go into the presence of God, when I don't go in and ask God, "What are you doing in this situation"? When I don't go into myself and seek for the spirit of God to lead me, I start going off, and then I spend the next week fixing stuff that if I would have taken one moment and worshipped. If I would have taken one moment and sought God's wisdom. If I would have taken one moment and said, "You know what? I don't wanna fight about this. I don't wanna be right. I wanna be healed. I don't wanna prove my own power. I wanna receive your power, God".
And what happens next is really beautiful because some of you are gonna do it today. Stand with me. The servant came to Naaman and said something that I think is very prophetic, and I hope you can hear it on the level which it is intended. The servant chased Naaman down. Naaman is on his way back to Damascus. He's gonna walk 90 miles back home with leprosy still on his skin, because of something that seemed to small and insignificant for a great man like him to do. He's gonna spend the rest of his like with this disease because he didn't want to do what he was told to do. And the servant said, "Hey, man, sir. Naaman, if the prophet had told you to some great thing, would you not have done it"? "Well, of course I would. 'Cause I'm a great man".
"Well, if you're a great man, how much more should you be able to do a small thing? So when he tells you, wash and be cleansed, why not give it a try? You know, you've been fighting so hard justifying your side of the story, and justifying yourself, and why it's all right, and why it's okay, but hey, man. Why not, if we already came 90 miles. If we already came this far, and that prophet is telling you that if you dip in the Jordan, you can be cleansed, isn't it worth a try? You already went to your master and got the letter. You already went with your horses and chariots". Now you're going off in a rage, but verse 14 is the happy ending. And I believe it's a new beginning for many of us today. The Bible says, "So he went down, and dipped himself in the Jordan".
I'm glad after Naaman went off, he went in. And he went in not just once, not just twice, not just three times, not just four times. Not just five times, not just six times, but all seven. Often when you're in the process of obeying God you see no immediate effects of change. It's not like your skin gets healed a little bit with every dip. Woo. Woo. Woo! You gotta have the faith to go through the motions even when you see no evidence. Who am I talking to? You gotta have the faith to go down, and pray again, to lift up your hands in worship, and say, "I don't feel a thing right now, but God is with me, and God is for me, and who can be against me? And I will not fear though a host of enemies encamps about me I will not be afraid! The Lord is my helper. I lift my eyes to the hills. My help comes from the Lord.
Bow your head and close your eyes for a moment. I believe this is a significant word for someone in the room who's about to go off. Maybe you've been going off. Maybe you already went off. I don't just mean temper tantrums, breaking stuff, throwing pictures around the room. I mean that there is something that God has given you to do in your life that seems so ridiculous that you like Naaman are at the point of frustration. I wanna speak a word over your life today, that in this moment the only way to receive healing is through your surrender. As long as you wanna stay in control of those situations, they will consume you. And that's what the presence of God is for. This is the Jordan River you can dip in seven time. The Bible says that when he did it, his flesh was restored like a young boy. Isn't that amazing? That the great man became like a young boy. And he was healed. And isn't it interesting that God's greatest goal in Naaman's life was not to heal his skin, but to produce faith in his heart.