As fascinating as all the names we find in Scripture are, I am more intrigued by the names that are missing; like the lady with the weeping womb. Obscure individuals doing extraordinary acts of giving glory, praise, and honor to our God. Great faith in action in spite of less than perfect conditions. From the very young to the very old, God uses a willing heart for the great good of others and they in turn find Holy God to be all sufficient and powerful and kind. His kingdom is extended.
In II Kings 5:1-4 we find one such individual. A young damsel, snatched from her family during the invasion of Israel by the Syrian army. Her master is the “commander in chief” of this army of Aram, king of Syria, and he took this young girl home to serve his wife. Mary Hallet is quoted in Bible Gateway as writing, “one of the most amazing things about Bible stories is their sheer restraint. With one or two deft strokes a scene is painted, a character is sketched, or an incident described.” Indeed, in four short verses and we meet this young girl, see her character, feel her compassion, and witness her courage. We are not told her name, but we see once again “all things work together for good to those who love the LORD and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) We also observe how very wise this young girl was and how much her family poured into her life prior to her captivity (Proverbs 3:3, Colossians 3:12-14,17) for she is an example of all Paul wrote about in Ephesians 6:5-8, “Slaves, obey your masters; be eager to give them your very best. Serve them as you would Christ. 6-7 Don’t work hard only when your master is watching and then shirk when he isn’t looking; work hard and with gladness all the time, as though working for Christ, doing the will of God with all your hearts. 8 Remember, the Lord will pay you for each good thing you do, whether you are slave or free.” (NLT)
Her master, Naaman, suffered from a skin condition known as leprosy. In the Hebrew it is tsara’ath that means a “smiting.” Leprosy in Scripture refers to a variety of skin conditions and may even extend to molds and mildew infecting clothing and homes. Leprosy itself is a bacterial infection causing disfigurement, muscle weakness, permanent nerve damage and numbness which can lead to significant injury of fingers, toes, nose, ears and limbs due to the loss of sensation not a rotting away as some think. It is a curable disease and only within the Jewish community were the sufferers isolated according to Levitical law (Leviticus 13-14). It was considered an outward sign of spiritual corruption leading to the social stigma that persists to this day. It is a contagious disease but not considered “highly contagious.” It is transmitted through extended contact and coughing. We see within the Syrian community Naaman was not living “outside the gates,” but was living at home. The Jewish laws were given to the nation of Israel to end all the diseases of other nations and set Israel apart. The laws were to provide health, healing, protection, safety, and longevity of life. They were not meant as a punishment.
As with any chronic illness, much anxiety and concern surrounds not only the sufferer but the family as well. This young maid was privy to the conversations between Naaman (name means pleasant, agreeable) and his wife while she served in their home. This young girl knew Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals. She had heard that Jehovah’s prophet was near. To her credit, she shared her knowledge with her captor! This young slave girl, took time out from slaving to share her faith in the God of Israel, the one true God. No animosity toward her captor. She cared about his health and his soul. Naaman was desperate for a cure and was willing to listen to anyone, go anywhere for healing. She was placed in his home for “such a time a this.”
The gospel is this– because a very young girl in adverse circumstances did the right thing, the person who had turned her life upside down found Yahweh, Jehovah, the LORD God of Heaven and Earth and became a worshipper of Jehovah.
Was she rewarded? We are not told directly. We are told Naaman tried to reward others involved in his healing and many heard and continue to “hear” of Naaman’s healing and faith. Jesus refers to Naaman in Luke 4:23-27. Other scriptures assure us of her rewards when we read I Corinthians 10:31 and Hebrews 6:10.
Today, are you a prisoner, a slave, in a time out not of your own making? Can we look up and trust our God to keep us safe and use us to lead another to Christ and MAYBE just change the course of history? God did not give us her name because He wanted us to focus on her circumstance–she is a slave! Her body was in bondage but not her Spirit or her soul. She was free: Free to choose to serve God while indentured. With God no situation is wasted. He uses the most adverse circumstances to extend His grace not only to those who love Him but to those who do not yet know Him. Can we today begin to see our circumstances as endless possibilities in the hands of the Master? Does this mean slavery is the right way to treat people? NO it does not! But should we someday find ourselves in this place, may we recall a young slave girl who chose to serve God regardless of her life status. She was not always a slave. She started her life free and loved. One small act of kindness and she found a place in God’s Word! May we too point others to Christ through the seemingly small and insignificant acts of love and kindness.
Throwing THE LIFE ring,
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
weep over the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
Though they are slighting him, still he is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive;
plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently;
he will forgive if they only believe. Refrain
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that were broken will vibrate once more. Refrain
Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way patiently win them;
tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. Refrain
Words: Frances Jane (Fanny) Crosby, 1870