In II Kings 5:1-15, there is a description of an important historical event regarding a captain in the military service of the King of Syria. The captain’s name was Naaman. He is described as a great man with his master and honorable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria. He was also described as a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. Leprosy is a long-term fatal disease that greatly disfigures individuals before they eventually die. In Naaman’s time, there was no cure for the disease.
The Syrians brought back captives from their various military actions. One of these captives was a young Jewish girl who waited on Naaman’s wife. The young captive said if her master would go to Samaria and visit a prophet there, he would recover from his leprosy.
The king of Syria heard what this young girl had said and insisted Naaman go. He said he would send a letter to the king of Israel, as well as 10 talents of silver, 6,000 pieces of gold, and 10 changes of raiment. As you might expect, the king of Israel could not help Naaman. In fact the king was very upset, and said, “Am I God to kill and make alive, that this king sent me this man to cure him of leprosy.”
Elisha, the man of God, heard about the incident and sent a message to the king to send this man to see him. Naaman and all the people traveling with him went to Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a servant out to speak to Naaman. The servant told Naaman to go and wash seven times in the river Jordan and his flesh would become clean. Naaman was incensed, he had come all this way and the prophet sent a lowly servant to tell him what to do. He said “BEHOLD I THOUGHT the prophet would come out and call upon the Lord and strike his hand over me and I would be cleansed of the leprosy” (KJV, emphasis mine-DA). Naaman also said, “Are not Abana and Pharppar rivers in Damascus better than the waters in Israel, why could I not wash in them?” He left in a rage.
However, he had a wise servant who said to him, “If the prophet had asked you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much better that he said wash and be clean?” Naaman came to his senses and went down in the Jordan River, washed seven times, and his flesh became as a little child. He was cleansed.
What can we learn from Naaman’s mistake? First of all we need to follow God’s commandments precisely as He has given them. Remember Naaman was not cured until he washed seven times in the river Jordan.
I want to focus on the words Naaman said in II Kings 5:11.
BEHOLD I THOUGHT
- Behold I thought we could improve our singing with the addition of musical instruments. In the New Testament we are told to sing with no mention of musical instruments–Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; l Corinthians 14:15
- Behold I thought I could accept God as my personal savior without having to be baptized. The Bible says “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:15-16). “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
- Behold I thought God wanted me to be happy even if my present marriage is not scriptural. God’s word says, “And I say unto you, who ever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9).
- Behold I thought I could spend my money for all the things my heart desires and give to God what was left. The Bible says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7). Also, in Malachi 1:6-9, God condemned his people for offering sacrifices of blind, lame, and sick animals. When you give God what is left you are doing the same thing.
- Behold I thought I had plenty of time to obey the Gospel after I enjoyed the things of the world and sow my “WILD OATS.” The Bible said of the rich farmer who was going to tear down his barns and build bigger ones, “You fool this night your soul will be required of you…” (Luke 12:20).
We could make many points when man says “Behold I Thought,” and tries to improve on God’s commandments. However, just as Naaman was not cured of his leprosy until he did exactly as God instructed, we will fail anytime we add to or take away from God’s word.