Do you consider yourself to be too socially insignificant or incapable of acting for God to help other people?
If that’s the case, I want to remind you that you are the child of the Supreme God, Creator and King of the universe. That alone tells you how important you are. God chooses you, yes you, to be a channel of His power and grace to enable you to do great things in this world. Do not ever think of yourself as being less than anyone. The only hands God has, are yours!
In 2 Kings 5, the story is told of Naaman who was healed of leprosy through the intervention of his wife’s slave girl. Naaman was General of the Army under the King of Aram. He was important to his master, who held him in the highest esteem because it was by him that God had given victory to Aram: a truly great man, but afflicted with a grievous skin disease (leprosy). It so happened that Aram, on one of its raiding expeditions against Israel, captured a young girl who became a maid to Naaman’s wife. One day she said to her mistress, “Oh, if only my master could meet the prophet of Samaria, he would be healed of his skin disease.” (The Message)
- We’re all vulnerable and need God – regardless of our social standing
Although Naaman is respected by many, including the King, who is his boss, he has leprosy – a disease that relegates people in Biblical times to ‘outcast’ status. In spite of Naaman’s social status, his illness in the form of leprosy is a reminder that regardless of our station in life, human beings are all vulnerable and flawed in some way, and in need of divine intervention.
- We can be used by God to be the solution – solutions can come from unlikely sources
The proposed way in which Naaman can be healed comes from an unlikely and seemingly ‘weak’ source – an enslaved Israelite girl who was captured by Naaman’s army and is assigned to serve Naaman’s wife.
- Love leads us to serve God and others – true love motivates us to act in faith, regardless of our situation
We are led to believe that the slave girl doesn’t hate those who captured her. Driven by a courageous faith in God, she seeks a way for God to be glorified in her oppressive situation. By declaring that Naaman can be healed through a prophet in Samaria in the land of Israel, she offers the possibility for the oppressor and the oppressed to worship and serve the same God.
Are you deterred from bringing God’s blessing and doing his work because of material things, social and psychological barriers?
Verses 5 – 7 show how several factors come into play and threaten the flow of God’s blessing to Naaman.
Naaman went straight to his master and reported what the girl from Israel had said. “Well then, go,” said the king of Aram. “And I’ll send a letter of introduction to the king of Israel.” So he went off, taking with him about 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and ten sets of clothes. Naaman delivered the letter to the king of Israel. The letter read, “When you get this letter, you’ll know that I’ve personally sent my servant Naaman to you; heal him of his skin disease.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he was terribly upset, ripping his robe to pieces. He said, “Am I a god with the power to bring death or life that I get orders to heal this man from his disease? What’s going on here? That king’s trying to pick a fight, that’s what!” (The Message)
- Political correctness and social rules of communication can hinder the delivery of God’s Word.
God’s inspired message to the young slave girl about how Naaman could be healed is first spoken by the slave to her mistress who is Naaman’s wife. Naaman’s wife then speaks to Naaman, who then speaks to his boss, the King of Syria. The King of Syria then writes a letter to the King of Israel – the country where the healing prophet resides. We note that in the letter, Naaman’s king requests not the prophet, but the King of Israel, to heal Naaman. The expected healing by divine intervention of the prophet as told by the slave girl is therefore lost in the maze of ‘respectful rules of communication’, social ranks and political correctness.
- Material things appeal to the physical senses and detract from spiritual discernment.
In exchange for Naaman’s healing is the offer of material gifts of significant value: 10 talents of silver, 6,000 shekels of gold and 10 changes of clothes. We learn that openness to the grace and healing blessing of God can be marred by the power and influence of material things that entice and induce the physical senses.
- The on-going psychological effect of sin and oppression can hinder the flow of God’s blessing
The King of Israel reacts with suspicion and outrage to the King of Syria’s letter and Naaman’s presence in his court. How could the king and captain of the dominant nation of Syria that plundered Israel now turn to Israel for help? The King of Israel is suspicious, outraged and anguished. He tears his clothes – an act declaring his grief and mourning as he perceives that the leaders of the oppressive nation of Syria are again attempting to assert their power over his nation, again. The King of Israel’s reaction shows us how military and political oppression by one nation and race dominating another not only cause suspicion, hostility and poor communication among nations, but it also has adverse psychological effects on the people of the oppressed nation or race.
Resolve today to bring glory to God by being a blessing to others, regardless of social and psychological barriers that may stand in the way!
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