This is a true story in which the characters are real people.
The central figure in this story is a little Jewish slave girl whose name is unknown.
She is mentioned once only in the whole story and seems to have been forgotten but without her, we would not know certain things about God’s character and personality.
We tend to focus on the big events; the success stories; the big ministries; those in the limelight and overlook the people behind the scenes who can often keep everything going without any apparent reward or acclaim. Our story is found in 2 Kings chapter five and there are four central characters, the first one of course is this little girl. We also see the prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi and the other person is Naaman who was a great and honorable man in charge of the army and did great exploits. The account continues with a little word called “but”. When we see words like that in anyone’s curriculum vitae, it can qualify the person better than the other statements that may or may not be true
In my secular career in a high level tehnical managerial position, I often participated in personnel management skills and staff selection processes. Part of the latter included being on a three man selection team who interviewed applicants for promotion to prominent positions. There was a three part process that looked at (a) the applicant’s ability to do the job; (b) that he was the right person for that job and (c) that he knew what the job entailed. We compared what the applicant said against the job description. Someone could be qualified technically and so could do that task, but not really know all that was involved in that position, like managing staff or coping with stress.
Naaman was a great man and met all the requirements and would have got the job—but he was a leper.
The bible also speaks about Elisha and Gehazi, but almost nothing is said about the most important person in the whole story. Without her we would not see a side to God and a flaw in human nature by someone in the ministry.
Without this girl we would not see the association between the greatest prophet to have ever lived, who of course is John the Baptist and the Jordan River. This river is important throughout scripture, as it is associated with cleansing, healing and crossing over into a new life. Water baptism signifies these things and more like, cleansing from sin, the cutting off from the old and so the Jordan has always carried this meaning.
Elisha told Naaman to bathe in that river, but the man would never have gone there if that little unknown girl who was a servant girl in a foreign land, living in a heathen environment, possibly alone or an orphan
The Lord has been teaching me that He places a very high value on the “little people” or those unknown folk who do not ever seem to receive any acclaim by man for what they do. They might seem to be forgotten but they are very important.
You could be one of those precious ones.
Despite its relative importance, the story of the girl and Naaman is the only time that healing in the Jordan River is recorded in scripture. I wonder why. There has to be a reason. I keep coming back to the fact that we do not see things like God sees things and we do not think like He thinks. I am starting to see that it is not so much as what we do for God than who we are. Shortly after I was born again and reading my new bible, I was in Acts 1 where the favorite “Pentecostal passage” of Acts 1:8 that reads:
I am one who takes the great commission seriously, but “getting people saved” and “winning the lost” does not necessarily produce disciples.
The Lord wants Discipleship
I doubt if He wants a church full of babies and adolescents. I certainly don’t and prefer mature healthy sheep who bear their own lambs and they in turn reproduce. A pastor is a shepherd of the Lord’s sheep and he should really focus on bringing the lambs to maturity so that they can grow up to reproduce. Pastors do not bear lambs—sheep do. It is much more than running meetings and holding services and doing all kinds of things that have a lot of activity that is the “doing” but the Lord wants us to be in the business of “being”. This sounds harsh but it is true. In Matthew 7, particularly from verse 21 onwards, Jesus dealt with this issue, telling certain folk to get out of His sight because they were doing things that He never authorized them to do. Many other pastors do not like me saying such things...
The grammar might not make sense, but He really wants us “to be”, not “to do”.
If we are the salt of the earth, all that we need to do is be salty and that saltiness can make others thirst for what we have got.
Sometimes all that we need to do is walk into a room or get on a bus and say nothing because we are carriers of the anointing! We are “be-ing” what the Lord said we can be and not trying to force issues. I was in Anaheim, Los Angeles many years ago with some other brethren and we got into an elevator on the ground floor to go to the top. It was one of those “glass bubble” elevators that passed through a mezzanine floor before outside and conitnuing upwards. A man got in on the mezzanine floor and asked, “Are you going up?” One of the men with me replied, “Yes. Are you?” The stranger asked him what he meant and my friend started to talk about the Lord—not church, not healing, not about prophecy—but talking about the Lord. By the time we reached the top, the stranger wanted what he saw that we had, asked how to get it and was born again.
I personally had an occasion when I meet a stranger who stated that I was “different” and asked why. I did not get too involved in “witnessing” and talking about all kinds of matters that often turns people away, but talked about the Lord. The conversation was, “Do you know Jesus?” “No”. “Would you like to?” “Yes.” He was born again. It was so easy, it took me by surprise. Obviously the Holy Spirit had been paving the way somehow and I wish it were that easy all the time (which it isn’t) but proves that we can move in a dimension totally beyond our natural faculties at times when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.
Paul said that we carry a fragrance...the aroma of Christ. Every believer is to be a carrier of the anointing whether we stand behind a pulpit or not; preach or not; plant churches or not. We are all brought into the Kingdom to represent the King with or without a reward this side of Heaven. We are not the central figures in our part of the world, yet we are, even if only by default. We can all achieve greatness in the eyes of the Lord—for merely being who He wants us to be wherever we are.
True greatness is not measured any other way.
This unknown maid, a servant girl living in a foreign land, was truly great
There are times in our lives when things do not always go according to our own personal plans or desires. Life can have its problems and this little girl, although an heir of Abraham was taken captive in a war and led away to a foreign land, culture and religion. She was a captive who served Naaman’s wife. Perhaps we could liken her experience to that of Joseph who was treated badly by his own brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt, but he was sent there as part of God’s plan.
You too could be treated unrighteously by your brethren or even by people in your church and be wondering why.
Perhaps this is happening because God is working on something in which you are a part—perhaps a vital part.
My advice is not to react negatively but seek the Lord about it, find out the truth and learn from Him what to do about it.
No matter what happens to us, the best thing we can do in any situation is to remain faithful to the one who is always faithful and keep your focus on Him and nothing or no one else.
Whatever this girl had, it was the thing that motivated her and she kept saying that she wished Naaman was living in Samaria, because that is where the prophet Elisha lived. She knew that he was anointed. She knew that God had chosen and anointed him to be prophet, so it was not the person but the office or the anointing to which she referred. There were other prophets of course, but Elisha was the anointed one that God used to teach us from this story.
Whenever there is a need or a problem and you need a touch from God somehow, find a person who has been picked by God and not self-appointed. Find a person who is anointed by God. Find a person who can flow in the Gifts of the Spirit. Find a person who has an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord and go to them. They might not be in your church and I suspect they are often not—but they are there and God has a man or a woman that He has hand picked and set aside for specific tasks and assignments and really know how to move in the Holy Ghost.
She knew that Elisha was such a person and kept saying that if Naaman was hanging around him, the man of God could do something. Someone overheard her! This is more important than we often think.
People do watch us. People do listen to what we say so what you say is very important!
How you say it and to whom is also important, so choose your words carefully, or say nothing. People really do not want to know about doom and disaster, end time prophecies, the judgment of God, conspiracy theories, or your local church activities no matter how good they may be.
They want answers that work.
I attended church for the first 26 years of my life but never knew the Lord. My father was a prominent leader in the diocese and the Church warden in the local parish of three churches. I was the priest’s protégé and got involved in all kinds of church life, but never had a personal relationship with the Lord. That all changed in September 1968 when my son Gary was admitted to hospital for an unknown ailment that was causing his left hip joint to decay. The doctors showed the decay on the x-rays they took and admitted that they did not know what it was, let alone what to do about it. At that time, new found friends were asking me to come to their church but I refused. Don’t ask people to come to your church—we want them to come to Jesus! They may or may not come to your church later, but our primary objective is to want them in the Kingdom.
They said that they believed in divine healing and that a month long crusade was being held in their church and asked for permission to pray for my son. I readily agreed to that, not to going to their church. By the end of the week, Gary was discharged from that hospital completely healed! That—got my attention and so I attended the very last meeting and met the Lord.
That was the kind of thing I believed Jesus did but never witnessed before and I have found that emulating His ministry is the only thing that really works and changes human lives.
My friends never spoke about a preacher, a pastor, a prophet or an evangelist, but mentioned the Lord. If you really want to be effective in the Kingdom, speak about Him! Frankly, telling someone that you had a great time in your church and the worship was awesome really means nothing to others. They could think you are plain weird, or you may even turn them away. “Witnessing” is often a bragging session, but pointing to Jesus like John did is totally different and more effective.
This girl did the only thing she could and spoke the only way she knew how and was overheard in the process. Someone told her mistress, who told someone else, who told the King, who in turn sent message to the King of Israel—and Elisha found out about it.
I see a pattern here. I hope you do also. In a way, it is similar to the pattern seen in Jesus’ ministry and that in the early Church. If we are to gossip, then gossip the Gospel. If we are to talk, then talk about God and not about our programs and the like.
Keep the focus on the Lord. Paul did not tell others to follow him, but to follow him—in the way he followed Christ.
He is working to a plan that we do not always see and not necessariily agree with until understanding comes. I keep calling this getting revelation. This Jewish girl was part of that plan and it involved being taken captive and sent into servitude. We do not like to hear such things. We prefer to think of victory in Jesus, good times, church activities and the like, all of which are perfectly acceptable, but we also need to allow for the sovreignty of God, the good and perfect and the acceptable will of God. I for one do not want to settle for the acceptable will of God but enter into His perfect will for my life.
God wanted us to hear about Naaman.
Gossip the Gospel
Naaman was a military man at the peak of his career; the Syrian commander over the troops of Aram, of which Damascus was the capital. He served Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, but we do not know his background. I find this interesting because many stories in the bible are about people whose background is completely unknown.
It seems to me that God delights in using people who have no reputation or repute, or are misfits. Four lepers who were outcasts in society were the vehicles He used to rescue the nation. Jesus came to a murderer and threw him off his horse to bite the dust on the road to Damascus and turned his life around so much that he wrote most of our New Testament.
We form opinions and judge by external appearances but God sees the heart. Naaman was the enemy, but God gave victory to Israel’s enemy. He did not worship the Lord, but Aram’s false god, Rimmon. Naaman did not know the Lord—even though the Lord knew him—the enemy of His covenant people and gave him success. To the natural mind this does not make sense, but we are to have the mind of Christ. We are supposed to see things from His perspective but usually remain in the natural, so of course it can get confusing. Sometimes things happen in our lives that we do not understand and can easily blame the devil, not understanding that God could be working on something in our lives. We then try to resist it. Stop! Ask the Lord for understanding! Ask Him to open your eyes. Even if it is something that is not pleasant, it could be part of a much bigger plan than you can not see at the time. He raised up Pharaoh who inflicted much pain and sorrow on His people—to reveal His glory!
God did not rescue this girl but allowed Naaman to capture her so that you and I could receive something thousands of years later.
Leprosy was more than a medical condition. It was a serious, lifelong, degrading social disability. Lepers were quarantined, ostracized from all of society including their families, eventually being cut off from everyone except for other lepers.
They wore torn clothing, their hair was unkept, they had to cover the lower part of their faces and if near other people had to cry out, “Unclean. Unclean”. According to Leviticus 13:45–46 they had to live outside the camp.
This was unacceptable for a general and his whole career was in jeopardy. He was accustomed to being the one who issued the orders and watched other people carry them out, but was facing something over which he had no control. There was no one to turn to for help, without which he would eventually die. Have you ever been there—when something devastating has come into your life, and there is not a single thing you can do about it?
You may discover that no one else can do anything about it either. Someone else may encourage you and pray for you but no man has the power to solve your problem—it’s just there. It is awful and it will not go away. Like Job, one of the things you feared the most is happening to you and it seems that you are inside a darkened tunnel where all glimmer of hope is gone and have hit rock bottom. At such times, God’s word tells us to look up! If we keep looking down at our problems, that is all we will see, but if we choose to look up, there is light at the end of that tunnel. We may still have to go through it, but we are assured we will come out the other side.
Leprosy is not sin, nor can we say that it is caused by sin, but it is a picture of sin that clings to you and will not go away.
Like leprosy, it eats away at you. It is destructive and ultimately leads to death. There is only one person who can help you and His name is Jesus.
Without Christ we are in the same predicament as Naaman, so this story is a picture of God’s grace, love and mercy in action. It would seem that God, knowing all that would happen “orchestrated” the capture of this innocent Jewish girl—a daughter of Abraham, so that she could pass on a message of hope to a sinner! This challenged me. Is it remotely possible that in some way, you and I may have to go through some stuff at times to achieve God’s purpose? Are we really as immune to problems as we say that we are? We need to be mindful at all times that we are dealing with the sovereignty of almighty God.
I talk often about intimacy of relationship and sitting on “daddy’s knee” and the like, which is very real and true, but God is still God. As I said before, God did not deliver her, but allowed her to be taken captive and sent into a foreign land to be a servant for one particular task.
All that she did was to tell someone something like, “If only Naaman could meet Elisha, everything will be OK”—but She Did not Arrange The Meeting!
There is a principle here that we all need to learn. It is not up to us to “get results” or “make things happen”. We do our part of course, like the four men who wrecked the roof on someone’s house so that they could get him to Jesus—but Jesus healed him, not them. Many years ago when I was a field representative for the FGBMFI in its heyday, I met a man who was going on a caravan holiday. I gave him the names of various churches and pastors along the way encouraging him to go to church from time to time. He came back a changed man, having given his life to the Lord somewhere and he told me that each time he stopped and went into one of the churches I told him about, every one of the preachers gave messages that dovetailed together as if they took notes, or preached on a continuing theme, each one taking up from where the last one finished. He joked about it saying that I must have told them about him beforehand, but I did not know his itinerary! The Holy Spirit did however and that man’s salvation was His objective. Once more, I say that we need to know God’s objective and work towards that—not our own—not our church agenda, our ministry vision necessarily, our praise and worship sessions, but get the mind and will of God and drop everything else if you have to, if we are really serious. Leave room for the Holy Ghost to move. Stop the clock. Change orders of service. Tell the worship team to stop. Whatever it takes, do that, so that the purposes of God can take priority and if is it uncomfortable, so be it and get out of our predictable comfort zones.
This girl rewrote history by sharing what she had and knew—and we do not even know this girl’s name. That’s all we need. Someone else picked up upon it and ran with it She did nothing we associate with success in ministry or write a book (but she is recorded in The Book) and you can read about it today. That is true greatness. Far too many preachers want to control others and be in the limelight, receiving accolades from men for what they do, thinking that they are great and wonderful, but true greatness comes when God promotes. Jesus’ teaching about being the least in the Kingdom is much more powerful than we think and it is often overlooked. She was a preacher nevertheless and what she preached is the very heart of the gospel. This is the good news that we preach. People are terminally ill, the walking dead in desperate need of treatment that leads to life. There is only one place where it can be found and it is in one person—Jesus. Everyone needs to hear that. I called her a preacher, because she met the requirements of Romans 10:14–15: How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
All believers are preachers when they tell others about the gospel, but to whom are we to share? She proclaimed the gospel unashamedly to her enemy, not the converted preaching to the converted. The bible does not tell us if she was fearful when she spoke, but she did nevertheless and did so joyfully and without concern for her own life.
This challenges me. I ask myself what motivates me. Is it for fame and fortune or is it because I want others to know and experience an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord, regardless of what else happens; whether I am in a pulpit or not; if I have a big church or not.
I want to be a fisher of men, not the keeper of an aquarium.
Prophets break the mould and can be unpredictable
Prophets of God can sometimes break the mould and act strangely or unpredictably and as a result are often unpopular by religious people because they challenge them and threaten the status quo.
Some people are plain rude and this is rudeness indeed, but as a prophet of God, he knew that the issue of pride had to be dealt with and was following instructions. He sent his servant to Naaman who expected a much better greeting than that.
We want to sit up the front and look important. We want to be recognized and get attention, but that’s not necessarily how God works. Naaman’s pride was at stake and he stormed off angrily. We could say today, “What’s your problem?”
Naaman stormed off in a fit of anger.
We now see something interesting. Naaman’s servants went to him offering sound advice. Something is out of balance here. Heathens giving Godly advice?
They asked Naaman, “Listen. If he told you to do something great, wouldn’t you do it? You have nothing to lose anyhow, so why not give it a go?”
Many people get nowhere saying, “What if it doesn’t work?” when God asks them to do something. What if it does? Jesus told a man to stretch out a shriveled arm that could not move, but the man did it anyhow and was healed. When God tells you to do something, please have enough sense to do it.
He eventually swallowed his pride, did as Elisha had instructed and went down into the water—but came up a leper.
Nothing had changed on the outside, although something was happening where no one could see in the natural. Just because you cannot “see it” does not mean it is not real or not working. Elisha told him to wash seven times, not once, or twice, or six times.
This shows me that the instructions God gives should be followed precisely to the letter, even when it is not convenient or does not make any sense. Philip was holding a revival in Acts chapter eight when the Holy Spirit told him to walk off the platform, walk out of the church and go out into the desert to speak to one man! Most pastors would not do that. It defies logic, but Philip knew enough to recognize that voice and obey it and the Gospel message went back to a whole nation.
Such sensitivity to the Holy Spirit like that is sorely lacking in our churches but I believe it is coming back.
Naaman went down again and again and again, but each time he got up nothing had happened. Imagine what would have happened if he had quit on the 6th time... nothing.
I am so glad that Naaman went under that last time, because when he arose, all leprosy was gone. Naaman returned to give all the credit to God, saying, “Now I know that there is no other God but the God of Israel”.
That sounds a little like a salvation experience, even in the Old Testament.
Naaman’s statement should be our driving force. It should be what motivates us in our Christian service.
This leads me to something important about this girl
Real faith is a demonstration of faithfulness and she was faithful to the God of Israel and to her master. She was not embarrassed or timid in delivering her testimony about what God’s prophet could do. She didn’t say that “he might heal you,” or “he could heal you,” but that “he would heal you!” She considered the healing a done deal if Naaman would simply go to Israel and see the prophet.
She was a child and she had the faith of a child. It was simple, sure, and unqualified. This is the kind of faith that pleases the Lord: Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Mark 10:15.
We must ask what she saw in this man. She looked past the obvious which we often don’t. We need to be able to look past those things and see the other person through God’s eyes. We see an enemy or a dirty, smelly homeless individual, or someone down and out and a drunkard, or someone who does not worship the Lord like we do, but God looks at the heart. Let me challenge you. When we look at another person, we are looking at someone made in the image of God. He or she might not worship as we do, curse and blaspheme and do disgusting things, but God sent His Son to die for that person and you could be the only human being on the planet who can tell them that and needs real help—not charity.
She focused on one thing only, targeting leprosy. She did not try something to see if it worked. She did not have any programs and props to fall back on, but went to the very core of the problem—sin. Seeker friendly churches tend to avoid such confrontations and whilst there may be great things happening in them, leprosy remains. People could have a good time, but often go home unchanged. Jesus went to the root of the problem as she did. He met a blind man on the road to Jericho who called out to Him—as He was passing by—and Jesus stopped and called for him. The Lord asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” Luke 18:40–42.
We testify to the world through “word and deed” but too often we separate them. Our testifying is not just talking but living the life so that others can see it and want what they see. It also includes living it out. Jesus did not separate them. He heard a man crying out to him and asked the man to tell him what he wanted. The man didn’t give a long-drawn-out, theologically correct answer full of church-talk jargon, thinking that this might be what the Rabbi was looking for. The blind man gave the simple, most obvious answer—an answer that every man and woman on the planet can understand: Lord, I want to see.
This answer was exactly what Jesus wanted to hear. Jesus did not say, “Of course you want to see, but what you really need is to come to faith in me”. We should be able to tell them that they need the Lord and then prove it, or show them why in ways that they cannot deny that there is a prophet in Israel. The Lord knew that this poor man’s immediate and obvious need was to be able to see, and He met the man and helped him at that level. When he gave him sight, it was far more than a physical touch or an object lesson. Jesus healed his eyes because he was blind—and because He wanted to.
So it was with Naaman’s slave girl. She didn’t go into the greater subjects that might have been discussed. What she knew and Naaman knew, was that he had leprosy and needed to be healed. Like Jesus, she spoke directly into his need. We need to be like that, to stop being religious and talk in ways with our jargon that they might not understand. We need to find out what we can about them and go to the core of their need or problem and let the Lord do His thing.
When this girl told her mistress that Naaman would be healed of his leprosy if he would go to the prophet in Israel, she was putting herself at risk, inviting scorn and derision if it never worked. True compassion for another always involves an investment and sometimes such investment means risk. She was establishing a stronghold against God’s enemy—a stronghold that silenced God’s foe. Seemingly weak, she was powerful not in her own strength but in the power of the Holy Spirit. So this girl’s character, her love, faithfulness, and goodness, the fruit of the Holy Spirit living in her, became a great testimony to the power of Jehovah, Israel’s God. But there is something more—what she said is in essence the great gospel invitation to every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth. This is the healing that every person needs because everyone is terminally ill.
The slave girl might not have personally known Jesus, but she did know the prophet in Samaria and she knew what he could do for someone who went to see him.
They give good news to others as she did. Most of us who profess to be Bible-believing Christians do not give the good news like that. Most of us are the converted preaching to the converted. Whilst there is cause, we often see ourselves as being on the battlefield, waging spiritual warfare, even showing hostility to our spiritual enemies when we were once like them. How do we deal with abortionists for example? We can rightfully denounce their acts as sin and offenses against a holy God, but we also have the gospel heart to plead with such oppressed people to go to Israel and get healed. Do we have the humility to do this and to enthusiastically and lovingly urge those hostile to the gospel to come to the Prophet in Israel?
People who are dead in their sins and destined for hell do not want to hear about doom and disaster, or the end of the world and the like, yet we spend considerable time and effort in debating with them about such issues—and they remain lepers.
One thing that I did not see her doing was to try to orchestrate anything. She did not force issues and try to prove that she was right, but merely shared the truth from her heart with no guarantee of success. Another person heard what she voiced and passed that on. This illustrates what Paul said about being co-workers in this thing in 1 Corinthians 3:1-17.
Brothers and sisters, when I was with you I found it impossible to speak to you as those who are spiritually mature people, for you are still dominated by the mind-set of the flesh. And because you are immature infants in Christ, I had to nurse you and feed you with “milk,”not with the solid food of more advanced teachings, because you weren’t ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready to be fed solid food, for you are living your lives dominated by the mindset of the flesh. Ask yourselves: Is there jealousy among you? Do you compare yourselves with others? Do you quarrel like children and end up taking sides? If so, this proves that you are living your lives centered on yourselves, dominated by the mind-set of the flesh, and behaving like unbelievers. For when you divide yourselves up in groups—a “Paul group” and an “Apollos group”—you’re acting like people without the Spirit’s influence.
Who is Apollos, really? Or who is Paul? Aren’t we both just servants through whom you believed our message? Aren’t each of us doing the ministry the Lord has assigned to us? I was the one who planted the church and Apollos came and cared for it, but it was God who caused it to grow. This means the one who plants is not anybody special, nor the one who waters, for God is the one who brings the supernatural growth.
Now, the one who plants and the one who waters are equally important and on the same team, but each will be rewarded for his own work. We are coworkers with God and you are God’s cultivated garden, the house he is building. God has given me unique gifts as a skilled master builder who lays a good foundation. Afterward another craftsman comes and builds on it. So builders beware! Let every builder do his work carefully, according to God’s standards. For no one is empowered to lay an alternative foundation other than the good foundation that exists, which is Jesus Christ!
The quality of materials used by anyone building on this foundation will soon be made apparent, whether it has been built with gold, silver, and costly stones, or wood, hay, and straw. Their work will soon become evident, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by blazing fire! And the fire will test and prove the workmanship of each builder. If his work stands the test of fire, he will be rewarded. If his work is consumed by the fire, he will suffer great loss. Yet he himself will barely escape destruction, like one being rescued out of a burning house.
Don’t you realize that together you have become God’s inner sanctuary and that the Spirit of God makes his permanent home in you? Now, if someone desecrates God’s inner sanctuary, God will desecrate him, for God’s inner sanctuary is holy, and that is exactly who you are.
We are often success motivated and performance driven, but the measure of true greatness and success in God’s eyes can be vastly different to ours. Noah preached righteousness for 120 years but never had a single conversion. By today’s standards, many folk would call him a failure, but he did precisely what God wanted and that is real success. God wants us to be co-workers together with each other as well as with Him and I long for the day when this becomes reality. I think that our little girl saw this too. Her few words had far reaching influence, well beyond her days and up to the time Jesus started His ministry.
You never know what influence you may have on the world.
Her story had an affect on the life of Jesus. His life was threatened in the first year of his ministry because of her testimony.
Luke speaks about His first public appearance in Galilee saying: He healed the sick and cast out demons. He performed such miracles in Capernaum, he taught in the synagogues, and everyone praised him. Luke 4:15.
When we read on to where the Lord declared that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, we tend to stop there. When He came to His home town the mood changed and the religious people and those who did not see past the ends of their noses started to turn on Him. Their resentment to anger and their anger into a murderous fury:
“Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.
But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way. Luke 4:22–30.
Jesus did not a get a welcoming sign on the highway just out of town, “Welcome to Nazareth, Home of Jesus”. He was not honored in any way at all. They saw Him as a carpenter’s son. It could have happened to this girl, but she kept affirming her faith gently, without forcing issues or trying to prove anything and someone allowed her words to sink in. If you have been proclaiming simple little things like that where you are, you could raise the ire of the religious folk around you or you could say one word that can be the very thing God wants to use. It is a part of natural human nature. The Jews hated Naaman because he was a Gentile. So was the widow at Zarepath and Jesus mentioned them to the religious people. Pharisees are still with us.
God blessed them nevertheless. Their stories reveal God’s love for Gentiles and Jews alike; sinner and saint alike and dare I say it... backsliders also? We need to look past our prejudices, holding the opinion that God can only do great things in our church, or by our pastor, or by someone of renown. The gospel is not for those who want it only on their terms.
Jesus had a way of going for religious throats, telling the Pharisees that tax collectors and prostitutes were nearer the kingdom than they were in Matthew 21:31–32 and by healing the Roman centurion’s servant in Luke 7:1–10, 7:7-9.
This little slave girl merely believed that if a sick and helpless man would only ask and go, he would find healing from the prophet in Israel even if he was not in Abraham’s lineage. It didn’t take laborious study. It didn’t take good works or tithing.
It didn’t require a star for perfect attendance at the synagogue. It didn’t take circumcision. It didn’t require a Jewish law degree. It did not require a bible college degree. If we think we need such things, we are lost. What it does require is recognition of utter helplessness, a bent knee, and simple obedience to the command that all men everywhere must repent Acts 17:30.
No one can get it on any other basis.
The little slave girl surely did not know it, but her announcement of the good news to Naaman was going to result not only in the physical and spiritual healing of a Gentile, but in evangelism to the Jews. Paul spoke of such things extensively
My problem now it how to wind this thing up. I have not touched on Gehazi at all, although he also speaks volumes to us.
He tried to prostitute the gospel, which in not unusual today and I do not think I need to say more about that other than to remind you of what happened to him later. I want to leave you with a good report.
I do not know what happened to this girl and do not know her name, but God does and I would not be surprised to find her in the company of the great figures in the bible as listed in Hebrews chapter eleven.
Perhaps things are not going well for you right now, but you just might be right in the middle of a great and wonderful process in a project that God is working on.
You may not be prominent in any way in your part of the world; stand behind a pulpit, write a book, lead a worship chorus or do anything at all in a church. You could feel rejected by your peers, not accepted in your bible study group, or not even acknowledged by anyone where you worship God, but love the Lord and would like to be able to share what you have with someone else, even if your words do not come out right. You do have God living inside you, so who cares about those other folk? Perhaps you might find yourself standing at a bus stop in the rain and invite someone to share your umbrella, see a woman struggling to open a door and open it for her, or offer to carry her shopping bags. Simple things like that could be the very trigger needed on that occasion, so share what you do have and let God open up the conversation in the process.
You never know what God can do with what you offer Him and your few feeble words just might achieve something no other human being could do. What you say and do could be recorded in eternity... even if no one knows who you are here!
Allow this story of a slave girl whose name is not even mentioned inspire you.
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