The king of Aram knew there was something special about the Lord. Even though he worshipped another god, the king recognized the power that “Naaman’s God” possesses. Naaman knew it, too, but in a different way. Now, Naaman was a man of God, apparently, but he didn’t exactly recognize how to effectively call on the Lord or trust in the Lord. And the king’s letter didn’t help the matter at all. First, he went to the king to present him with gifts … so that he could see a prophet, as Naaman’s wife had suggested, but instead of the king of Aram asking the king of Israel in his letter if he would find the prophet for Naaman, he wrote, “I want you to heal him of his leprosy.” Well, the king of Israel certainly knew he didn’t have God’s powers to heal within him (though, all he would have had to do probably was ask), and at that time, he didn’t even think about calling on Elisha. I can understand the king of Israel’s reaction in thinking that the king of Aram was trying to pick a fight with him. Now, how the message got to Elisha so quickly, I have no idea. Perhaps, he knew what had happened in his spirit just like he knew when Gehazi (greatest name ever!) went to Naaman to get the payment Elisha had turned down. Regardless of how he knew, he knew, and thank goodness he did, for in his learning of the king’s reaction, he was able to show Naaman and both kings He is for real. “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel (v. 15).”
Verse 18 brought up some thoughts about our missions work in Southeast Asia. In this verse, Naaman asks if he can be pardoned when he accompanies the king into the temple of Rimmon and has to bow with the king. God granted his request. One thing I learned on the mission field is that sometimes it’s better not to rock the boat. This is what God is allowing here. Specifically, I am thinking about a young girl who wanted to know Jesus so badly, but her entire family was hardcore Buddhist. She was of the age, too, that she was old enough to get booted out of the house (which could mean several awful things), so she didn’t want to do anything to offend her parents, and their religion was one thing they wouldn’t allow being messed with. Having to bow at their home temple and go to temple with her parents was making this girl feel unfaithful to Jesus, though. She was struggling to the point of tears one afternoon. So, we accompanied her to her parent’s house, and one of our team members went and bowed in front of the home temple with her parents, but before he did it, he told them he would pray to Jesus instead. So, the girl learned that she could still appease her parents but commit her prayers to Jesus when they bowed at temple. Not only was she relieved that she didn’t have to disappoint her parents, but she realized she was getting the opportunity to pray to Jesus more! She was a sweet girl with a huge heart. I pray her whole family knows Jesus now.
Writing prompt: pardon
Have you ever needed a pardon like Naaman or the girl from the village? Write about how God pardoned you, or write about an experience for which you wish you would have asked God for a pardon, and ask Him for that pardon today.