Today's Lectionary Text
2 Kings 5:1-14
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.”
He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”
But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
When I was a little boy, I was fascinated by the story of Naaman, a commander of the army of Aram but had leprosy, which was a terrible disease. He was cured by the power of God through Elisha the prophet, by washing his body seven times in Jordan. But one day when I was reading this passage again, I thought about how this wonderful story of miracle could happen.
It began with a girl who had been captured by the raiders from Aram and served Naaman’s wife as a maid. She was separated from her family, friends and her hometown by the invaders from foreign country and was serving her enemy as a salve.
There is no account about the background of this girl: how she was treated by her family, her socio-economic status or even her name, etc. But even though we can imagine that her condition in Israel was not good and her masters treated her well, it must be so difficult for her to deal with being a slave for her enemy, away from her homeland.
But this little girl cared for her master, Naaman, and wanted him to be cured from his horrible disease. She could’ve wished them to be punished by God. Instead, she told her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” What a genuine heart of forgiveness she had! How often do we judge those who mistreated us?
Have we blessed them sincerely (Romans 12:14)? Have we even tried to love them (Matthew 5:44)? Not so much for me. Today, I ponder about her heart and our Lord who forgave those who killed him and a sinner like me.
-Pastor Young Je Kim
First UMC, Falls City, Nebraska
Trinity UMC, Rulo, Nebraska
Prayer for Reflection
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be whole through Your grace from our deadly disease of sins and death. Help us to follow Your Son's footsteps to embrace, forgive and bless those who are mistreating us, like the little girl who firmly believed you are almighty and cared about her enemies. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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