Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Seizing grace in the face of injustice – a servant girl & Naaman’s healing

Her name is unknown, … anonymous,
Her life is recorded in just 2 verses in the Bible.

What she did was extraordinary (in 2 verses 🙂 )
…. even Jesus mentioned the impact of her act.

Here’s her story,

2 Kings 5:1-3 (NASB)
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. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.
She said to her mistress,
“If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.”
Then the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”
He departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes.

a young girl from Israel
At a tender young age,
…. unexpectedly,
she was seized from her family, her town, her country.

Kidnapped, stolen,
… taken captive against her will.
Taken to an unfamiliar country, … language, religion, culture, etc.
Sold as a lowly servant girl, … a maid.

Her childhood, … her growing up years, … stolen.
Trapped, … unable to return home to her loving family.
Her future … unknown.

Hurt, … confused … alone

Where’s justice?
Where’s God?

But, …
God had a plan.

God was mindful of her.

God’s hand strategically placed her in the home of someone prominent and powerful in Aram (Syria), Naaman.
Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Aram.  The highest army officer in the land.

a great man … highly regarded … valiant

At the height of his career,
unexpectedly,
Naaman had an incurable, infectious disease, .. leprosy.
A diseases that slowly destroys and disfigures the body.

His seeming armor of invincibility pierced.
His future … in question.

Scrambling for answers.

Where’s God? … Why me?

The mighty, the great,  … the weak, the vulnerable
both touched by the fragility of life

… seeking a comforter, … a deliverer, … a savior


But,
… God was mindful of Naaman.

Interestingly,
… rather than serving in Naaman’s kitchen, or house, or fields, etc ….
the young girl was assigned to serve the person closest to Naaman, … his wife.

In child-like faith, the young girl said to Naaman’s wife, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

She must have heard about the miracles of Elisha the prophet in Samaria (2 Kings 2-4), like how he miraculously raised the dead son of a Shunammite woman.

She shared with Naaman’s wife about Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals.

servant-girl Naaman first heard about the Lord, through his wife who listened to this captive servant girl from Israel.

(Naaman certainly is one guy who listens to his wife 🙂 .)

Naaman went in and told his master (king), saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.”

Amazingly, … Naaman believed in the girl’s testimony,
and the king was convinced enough to sent Naaman forth with his blessings :-).
“Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

aram-letter-to-king

An official diplomatic visit, with a personal request.

In faith, … Naaman traveled  to Samaria to meet the prophet.


Consider ….,
If we’re Naaman or the servant girl, or the king
how would we have responded?


Somehow, the young girl gained credibility before her mistress.
… such that she believed her testimony, and shared it with her husband.
Perhaps, when she observed the quality of the girl’s work, her character, her speech, her attitude and her deeds,
her confidence in this young foreign girl grew.

In spite of the pain and trauma the young girl went through,
at such a tender age,

Instead of hate,
she chose love,
forgiveness of her captors,
compassion,
healing.

Instead of seizing personal justice or revenge,
she seized grace.
Sharing the grace of God to Naaman’s wife.
healing grace.

Her actions mirror the words of Jesus on forgiveness and grace.

Matthew 5:44, 45 (NASB)
44 
But I say to you,
love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you,

45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven;
for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good,
and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Instead of despair in her captive situation in a foreign land
and despising her mundane, lowly servant work,
the young servant girl saw the big picture,
God’s view,

Her attitude/focus carried her through.

Colossians 4:5 (MEV)
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside,
wisely using the opportunity.

Like Joseph in Egypt, she chose to be a blessing to the people, and the household she was serving.

Luke 10:5 (AMP)
Whatever house you enter, first say,
‘Peace [that is, a blessing of well-being and prosperity, the favor of God]
to this house.’

In the wisdom of God,
the Lord God-incidently caused their paths to cross, … Naaman and the young girl.
In God’s hands, un-timely interruptions to us humans,
become the canvas for His divine appointments.

Rather than trying to find or figure out God’s will,
God’s will found them,
& God will find them
— being fruitful wherever they were at.

She also took a risk in speaking of the power of God to her mistress and master.
Her thoughts were more for Naaman’s illness, … than her own life.
She lived out the Scriptures, the Law,

Leviticus 19:18, 33, 34 (NIV)
18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people,
but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.

33 “‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them.
34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.
Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

She boldly declared her faith,… He would cure him of his leprosy.
There’s a ring of absolute confidence in her God.

She had faith, … she was faithful,
she honored the Lord,
and she played a part of His-story.

…. and her simple life of faith, … an inspiration to us all.

Like her, … our role is to share, … to point others to the Lord.
It’s God who heals, God who saves.

As a child, her understanding of the Scriptures was limited.
She was not detered.
She stepped out in faith and shared the little she knew of the God she believed in.

She had faith in God who loves her,
and Naaman’s family.

Naaman and his wife believed her simple sharing 🙂
The Holy Spirit touched their hearts through her simple sharing.
Praise God!

Perhaps also, … her child innocence & honesty won their hearts.
(without the hidden agendas/motives of adults)

Its a good thing that she’s not a theologian or religious leader, … the known healings in the history of Israel up to that time have been experienced by Jews.
Can it work for a foreign Gentile?
One who is not a partaker of God’s covenant with Israel?
An army general of one of  Israel’s enemies (Aram [Syria])?

Being, a leper, … Naaman was also technically unclean (Leviticus 13).
An unclean foreign Gentile?

Ephesians 2:12 (NASB)
remember that you (Gentiles) were at that time separate from Christ,
excluded from the commonwealth of Israel,
and strangers to the covenants of promise,
having no hope and without God in the world.

Isn’t it wonderful that children see people as individuals alike, … instead of color or race or nationality or creed, or clean/unclean, 🙂

Her boss was sick, suffering with affliction,
her little heart beat with compassion.

Romans 12:20,21 (NASB)
20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him,
and if he is thirsty, give him a drink;
for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head
.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.

Healing grace.

God’s word challenges us with its practical, down-to-earth applications in everyday life.

“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand,
but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”

Mark Twain

Like Joseph sold as a slave in Egypt, and later unjustly thrown into prison,
… the servant girl saw beyond her constraints, injustice, lowly position, predicament,
to how big her God was — a God who heals incurable leprosy.

Both of them did not choose to be in their situations,
they were somehow thrown into it.

And yet, in the midst of it all,
… God has a plan,
He’s in control,
He’s mindful of them,
God was working through them.

In the end, Joseph said to his brothers who betrayed him and sold him,
You planned evil against me;
God planned it for good
to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. 

You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Genesis 50:20 (HCSB, NIV)

Romans 15:4 (NASB)
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction,
so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.

With her God inspired vision, … by faith,
she seized whatever opportunities to honor the Lord.
She chose to be fruitful wherever she was at.

She chose to love and bless her foreign captors who seized her by force.
In compassion, she voluntarily offered a solution to her master’s illness.

Similarly, the early disciples were first fruitful where they’re at,
before moving to Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8),
in the face of unjust, vicious, deadly persecution.

Mark 16:20 (NIV)
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere,
and the Lord worked with them
and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Acts 8:1, 4 (NIV)
On that day a great persecution
broke out against the church in Jerusalem ….

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.


With favor from his king, Naaman went to Israel, found Elisha, and by faith he obeyed the word.

2 Kings 5:14 (NASB)
So Naaman went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan,
according to the word of the man of God;
and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean.

Healed!
Not only was the leprosy totally eradicated,
his skin was completely restored.
A miracle!

Naaman returned back to Syria, a new man,
a follower of Jehovah,
with visible, evidence-based proof of the Lord’s healing.

Exactly what Elisha had confidently declared before meeting Naaman,
“… he (Naaman) shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 2 Kings 15:8 (NASB)

Amen!  God’s amazing grace extends beyond the Jews to include the Gentiles,
even in the Old Testament.
even to army generals of the enemies of Israel,
a man of war.

Amazing grace!

The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.
— Fanny Crosby

Through Elisha, Naaman met the God of salvation.
Elisha’s name means “God is salvation” (Hebrew).

 

When Naaman is introduced in 1 Kings 5:1:
through Naaman
the Lord had given victory to Aram

The Lord also sovereignly works through Gentile nations like Aram (Syria) for His purpose.

 

An example of Aram triumphing over Israel in battle is recorded in 1 Kings 22.  In this battle, king Ahab of Israel was killed.  The Bible described Ahab as — There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife.  1 Kings 21:25 (NKJV)
(see also 2 Kings 13:3-5,  10:32)

The servant girl was a descendant of Abraham,
and by her act of faith
she lived out God’s covenant with Abraham,
“And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring
because you have obeyed My command.”
Genesis 22:18 (HCSB)

Hence, the Lord’s name and His works was shared from

young girl –> Naaman’s wife –> Naaman –> king
Naaman –> after his visible miraculous healing –> Aram (Syria), army, king’s court

In  a sense, Naaman became a walking advertisement for God,
with his clean, smooth, glowing, natural, youthful skin of a child.
(The envy of many women :-), … not botox or some elixir cream )


Even Jesus commended Naaman’s faith

Luke 4:27 (NASB)
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet;
and none of them was cleansed,
but only Naaman the Syrian.”

God saw beyond Namaan’s ethnicity, his occupation, his background,
to his need.
God saw Naaman’s faith,
and honored his act of faith.
100% grace received.

… those who have faith
are children of Abraham

Galatians 3:7 (NIV)

All sparked by a young girl’s child-like faith,
seizing grace in the face of injustice.

She sparked a great blessing upon Naaman and his fellow country men.
And …. even a diplomatic visit at the highest level between the 2 countries, Israel & Syria;  strengthening diplomatic ties.

Indeed, God is full of blessed surprises,
whenever the odds are stacked against his people.
He relishes in the “impossible”, “never been done before”.
Expect the unexpected from Him!

On a side note,
isn’t it sad to hear Jesus say,

there were many lepers in Israel
in the time of Elisha the prophet;

and none of them was cleansed,
Healing was freely available to all lepers in Israel,
unbelief hindered them from receiving healing grace from the Lord.

but only Naaman the Syrian, a foreign Gentile believed,  had faith in the Lord.
only he was cleansed, healed and restored;  someone outside of Israel.
The Lord is willing to heal anyone who reaches out to Him in faith.
His grace freely available to anyone.

grace missed,
grace received,
the difference — belief.

Like the young girl,
along life’s journey, through whatever situations we face,
there are people we come into contact with,
to whom we can bless them in some small way.

He who is faithful in a very little thing
is faithful also in much
Luke 16:10 (NASB)

Let’s be faithful and express our faith in simple everyday deeds,
in everyday obedience and honor the Lord
wherever we are at.


God anoints little children for His ministry.
Remember the boy who gave Jesus his 5 loaves and 2 fishes, 🙂
or little child Samuel prophesying to the elder priest Eli.

Matthew 21:15,16 (NIV)
15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants
    you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Psalm 8:2 (NIV)
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.

Children respond uninhibitedly and spontaneously,
with little fear, in child-like faith.
Its always a joy to hear children in their simple, heart-felt prayer and praise to the Lord,
established a stronghold and silence the enemy,

(btw, Jesus was the least bothered by the children shouting praise in His house 🙂 )

Matthew 11:25 (NIV)
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned,
and revealed them to little children.

God has also given them His wisdom.
They have faith.

The stories in the Bible are uplifting, inspiring & invigorating,
as we see how God anoints the weak, the lowest, the least, the last, the worst.
the little, the forgotten, the despised, the outcast,
the underdog, the unlikely. … for His glory.

Only by His grace,
imperfect offerings ….
for His glory!

What a mighty & gracious God we serve!

In a chat with young Jeremiah,

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said,
“I do not know how to speak;
I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’
You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:6-8 (NIV)


The Bible is silent as to what happened to the servant girl after Naaman’s healing.
Consider …,
If we’re Naaman, what would we have done?


Like the servant girl, let’s maintain a God-conscious attitude of grace in whatever situations we find ourselves in.
Grateful for His amazing grace,
overflowing from a heart of thanksgiving.

Perfectly summarised by Paul,

15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong,
but always
strive to do what is good
for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always,
17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 (NIV)

In some countries, believers face the threat of persecution and dangers for their faith.
In response to to a visiting Western brother’s concern,  a Central Asian brother replied:

“Don’t worry, we are rejoicing in Christ.
We have a saying,

‘When you are persecuted,
thank God that you have not been thrown into prison.

If you have been thrown into prison,
thank God that you have not been beaten.

If you have been beaten,
thank God that you have not been killed.'”

He paused and smiled again,
“And if you have been killed,
thank God that you are with him in heaven.” *

— *Source:  David Garrison, A wind in the house of Islam, WigTake Resources, 2014, pg 158.

There’s much we can learn from our persecuted brethren about persevering, steadfast faith, with a heart of thanksgiving.


Forgive | Sharing Jesus

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
August 1, 2016
laymanointing.wordpress.com

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License


Advertisements

Information

This entry was posted on August 1, 2016 by in Children, Daily Rice, Marketplace, Missions, Serving Quietly, Sharing Jesus, Work and tagged , , .

Blog Stats

  • 10,049 views from 102 countries
Albania Armenia  Australia Austria Bangladesh Barbados Bahamas Bahrain Belgium Belize  Bolivia  Bosnia & Herzegovina Botswana  Brazil  Brunei Bulgaria  Canada  Chile  China Croatia Curacao Cyprus Czech Denmark Egypt  Ethiopia  European Union Fiji Finland France  Georgia  Germany  Ghana  Guatemala  Guyana Honduras Hong Kong SAR Hungary India  Indonesia  Ireland Israel Italy Jamaica Japan  Jordan  Kenya Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia  Lebanon Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Malaysia Malawi Malta  Mauritius Mexico Montenegro Mozambique Myanmar (Burma)  Namibia Nepal Netherlands  New Zealand  Nigeria  Norway Papua New Guinea  Oman Pakistan Peru  Philippines  Poland Puerto Rico  Qatar  Romania Russia Rwanda  Saudi Arabia  Serbia  Singapore Slovakia Slovenia South Africa  South Korea Spain Sri Lanka  Swaziland  Sweden  Switzerland Taiwan  Tanzania Thailand Trinidad & Tobago  Turkey Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom  United States  Uzbekistan  Venezuela Vietnam  Zambia  Zimbabwe

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 30 other followers

%d bloggers like this: