For such a time as this Day 36

 A Faith Greater Than Circumstances

Character in a time of Crisis day 36

‘She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”2 Kings 5:3

These Bible notes have been character studies of Elijah and Elisha. However, we should remember that these passages also reveal others who display great faith in difficult circumstances. Today’s study certainly shows this.

2 Kings 5 is a chapter focusing on the Syrian General Namaan. Like all successful military leaders, he was held in esteem by his king and country (vs 1). The magnificent tombs of Nelson and Wellington in St Paul’s cathedral, show the admiration in which our own nation holds victorious generals. Namaan is described as a great man and a valiant soldier. He undoubtedly was, but he had leprosy ( vs1). Despite his success and fame, and the awe and respect he enjoyed, Namaan suffered from this incurable and at that time greatly feared illness. He is labelled as the leper, in the same way as Bartimaeus is always labelled as the blind man (Mark 10:46). The passage is about the healing of Namaan. Yet this passage is also the account of a faith that is greater than circumstances. We read in vs 2-3 of an unnamed slave girl in Namaan’s household  She may be un-named and with only a minor role, but she is the key to the whole passage. There are two points we can think of today.

Firstly we should not dismiss or forget those who we may consider having minor roles in the scriptures, as often they are those who show, as she does, faith that is greater than circumstances. Think for instance of the faith, courage and obedience of Ananias ( Acts 9), who was instrumental in the healing of Saul of Tarsus. Think of the role of Mordecai in protecting and inspiring Esther “ For such a time as this” ( Esther 4:4). The gospels would be very different without the input of Simon of Cyrene (Luke 23:26), Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus ( John 20:38-42). or as we saw way back on day 5 of these notes, Obadiah who  ‘ feared the Lord greatly( 1 Kings 18:3) and rendered valuable assistance to Elijah.

Secondly, this young person had the faith to believe in the ministry of Elisha (vs 3) and that her master Namaan would be healed not by Elisha, but by Elisha’s God.  There are several accounts in the Bible of how captives, actually help their captors Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dream (Gen 38), Daniel interprets dreams for Babylonian kings (Daniel 4). Psychologists today speak of Stockholm syndrome where captives, will rather than hate their captors, empathise with them, get to know & like them, even defend them, and become dependant upon them. I don’t think this is what we see in this case, but what we do see is a young girl moved by compassion and strong faith to seek the best for her master.  These may be her only recorded words in the Bible, but they speak volumes about her! 

We sometimes wonder how anything good can come from a bad situation, but God’s will and way are greater than ours, and God knows what He is doing. If she hadn’t been there, Naaman would never have gone to Elisha for help, and would not have been healed.In reflecting on the difficult and challenging times, can  we say like Joseph that God meant it for good” ( Gen 50:20) I hope we can take comfort from the testimony of scripture,

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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