What are a few of your favorite situations from the Bible? As I thought about this, a host of situations flew through my mind. One that I have recently walked through is that of Naaman and his healing by Elisha’ (2 Kings 5.1f). The beginning of this story should cause some surprise and learning from us. Naaman is the commander of the army of Syria; but also a man that the Lord has been with in his battles. In fact, he has been victorious because the Lord has been with him. Does that surprise you? God is providing victory for a pagan; a non-Jew; one who does not worship correctly; one that does not have anyone to offer sacrifices. We would probably agree that God operates in this world outside of the activities of the church. However, we still tend to be uncomfortable with stories like this in which God enables victory to a heathen country. It should cause us to reconsider some of our theology about our religious neighbors today. Not so much in terms of salvation and worship; but in terms of cooperating with them in certain settings.
As the Syrians were on a raid, they carried off a little girl from Israel who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. This man Naaman was a great man of war, of courage and of strength. And yet he had leprosy (vs 1). Leprosy was a terribly debilitating, humbling and terrible discomforting ailment. Imagine his embarrassment, his frustration and his discouraged outlook on life. This little Israelite girl sees her master’s pain and anguished situation and has compassion for him. What a great example of humility and kindness this young girl is for us. She has been taken captive by this man from a foreign nation. Yes she has God’s compassion “for her master.” Do we have God’s compassion for other people? Even those who treat you in an ungodly way, speak in a way that hurts and discourages and does harm to us?
She then related to her mistress that Naaman should go see Elisha and have his leprosy healed. This little girl amazes me. It may be that if she is truly “young” (the word seems to indicate a girl of 12 years or younger) she had not yet learned the ability to harbor anger and in turn withdraw help to one in need. This may also speak to how kind Naaman and his wife were to this young girl.
Naaman now sees the importance of giving this prophet (Elisha) the opportunity to heal him of the dreaded leprosy. However, Naaman is expecting some royal, personal treatment from Elisha. After all, he is the mighty Naaman, great man of valor and war. Instead, Elisha sends a junior prophet to meet Naaman and tell him to go wash in the Jordan seven times and he would be cleansed. This would be my great situation; to watch Naaman go from great frustration and anger toward Elisha, to then come out of the Jordan completely healed and clean.
When you have a challenge or difficult situation in your life and God tells you to be filled with His Spirit (Matt. 5:6; Jn 6.27; 4.14), are you willing to “dip in that water seven times?” When you have questions about your direction in life and God tells you to humbly pray and call on His name for strength and wisdom (Jms 1.5; Prov 3.5-7; Jms 3.17, are you willing to accept that “dip in the water…” and gain answers from God? When you wade in your life through an abundance of blessings (Eph 3.20; Jms 1.5), are you willing to overwhelming bless and praise God for his goodness in your life?
Naaman wanted special treatment from Elisha instead of attention from a junior prophet. What do you expect from God for your situations in life? May we be thankful for the ways that God cares for us – and earnestly praise Him and worship Him through all occasions of blessings.
~~ Andy Burns