20/6/11 2 Kings 4,5; Psalm 83; 1 Timothy 2
S: 2 Kings 5 The story of the healing of Naaman the Syrian general's “leprosy”. (Note: this “leprosy” is a different thing from what we call “leprosy” today – see this Wikipedia entry for a fuller explanation.)
O: The Syrians had been at peace with Israel at this time, but earlier, they were at war and this little Israelite girl had been taken as booty to Syria. She probably saw her father killed and her mother and sisters taken as slaves, and her family separated. Yet, somehow, she held on to her faith, even though she was from the apostate northern kingdom.
This was evidence that even in the northern kingdom, with all its evil kings and idol worship, there were still believers. Actually, the stories of Elijah and Elisha are also proof that not everyone abandoned Yahweh and followed Jeroboam's apostasy, because in both those stories you find that there are others who remained faithful to Yahweh.
Naaman starts out arrogant, but is converted by “power evangelism”. He becomes a believer, but his place as an official of Syria means that he is forced to participate marginally in the worship of Rimmon. Elisha shows God's mercy to him and doesn't demand a legalistic adherence.
Naaman came with large amounts of gifts, but Elisha refuses them, not willing to be paid for God's miracles. But his assistant Gehazi gave in to greed, and ended up being afflicted with Naaman's former “leprosy”.
A: What a contrast between the little slave girl, Naaman, Elisha and Gehazi. May we have the faithfulness to God of the little slave girl, who ended up being instrumental in leading a great “enemy” general to the Lord, and not give in to greed like Gehazi.
Also, let us not be so focused on the legalistic prohibitions but to extend grace to new believers like Elisha towards Naaman.
P: Father, keep us from temptation, and keep us steadfast in Christ. In Jesus' name, amen.