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Monday, January 25, 2010
Canadian Geese on ice.
Photo by Doris High
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"If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy" (2 Kings 5:3). "Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:1).
Are you bearing a burden for someone today? Perhaps you keep a prayer journal and in that journal you write down the names of those who stand in the need of prayer. There are those we pray for out of obedience to the Scripture that admonishes us to, "Pray for one another" (James 5:16).
But then there are those special prayer needs when we deeply "bear one another's burdens." The kind that might awaken us at 3:00 A.M. and drive us to our knees in intercessory prayer. It often involves more than just taking that person's needs to God and leaving it there. The Spirit might compel us to make a phone call to listen and pray with that individual or to pay a personal visit. Perhaps God will even speak to us about being part of the solution to the burden we are bearing.
One of the most touching stories in Scripture is written about a young servant girl born in Israel whose name is not even recorded. She was taken captive in Syria and served Naaman's wife. Namaan, commander of the Syrian army, was very wealthy and highly esteemed in his country. He had led the Syrians to victory repeatedly, including victory over Israel.
Naaman had a critical health problem for which there was no cure. He had leprosy and this would certainly affect his present standing as commander and very possibly bring about an early death. But this young servant girl bore a burden for her master and his family. I believe it is safe to assume that she prayed about it passionately. As a child she had learned about the God of Israel and dared to bring up the name of a famous prophet who had performed miracles in her homeland, "She said to her mistress, 'If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.'” (II Kings 5:3).
Now this had to be a statement of faith since Luke tells us, "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" (Luke 4:27). The servant girl did not know of other people being healed of leprosy through the prophet Elisha, but she had courage and enough faith in God that He would bring about the needed healing if only Naaman would go.
By inference we could assume that this young girl had brought this up to Naaman's wife before when she said to her pleadingly, "If only…." She had likely bore this burden for some time and brought it to God in intercessory prayer.
As a good servant, she desired the health and welfare of her master, though she was forced by her captivity to live in a country foreign to her godly upbringing. Yet God had a bigger plan since He often works in unconventional ways to accomplish His purposes.
Think about it for a minute. A young, nameless servant girl is giving instruction to the famous commander of the Syrian army. This commander goes before his powerful, authoritative king to ask permission to obey his servant girl's instructions to visit a prophet in Israel. And then the king of Israel is forced to trust God in a situation that could turn out badly. He cried out, "Why does this fellow [king of Syria] send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!” And lastly, Naaman had to humble himself before God and obey the "foolish" instructions given to him by Elisha. It would seem that God wanted to teach Naaman, the king of Syria, and the king of Israel that they really were not all that powerful after all, and each of them needed a good dose of humility.
The good news is that Naaman finally quit bickering to himself about Elisha's strange instructions to dip in the dirty Jordan seven times. When he fully obeyed he then received the healing his wife's servant girl had told him about. After his healing he stood before Elisha and proclaimed, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel."
Sometimes we bring the burdens of others to the Lord and wonder why there isn't an immediate answer to the very request we deliver. But Naaman's miraculous story reminds us that God is accomplishing His will in ways that we can't always understand and in a time frame compatible with His plans, not our own.
Let us continue to bear one another's burdens and trust Him completely for His will to be accomplished.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Help us to know that as we pray we can trust You to hear and answer our prayer in Your time and in Your way. We want to also remember that our time in prayer is not just for the benefit of those whom we pray for, but it is also powerful and effective in our personal relationship with You. Keep us humble, faithful and ever-trusting just like the servant girl who bore the burden of Naaman's leprosy. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: I hope you'll read the entire chapter of 2 Kings 5 to get the context and fuller understanding of Naaman's healing. The healing was available but it did take Naaman's complete obedience before it took place. It is a reminder to us, that God stands ready to answer prayer, but at times the person we're praying for might be unwilling to receive it, since it doesn't always come the way we expect, i.e. Naaman was looking for a different instruction, one perhaps a little harder or using a bit more intellect, than dipping in the muddy Jordan. After all, the rivers of Damascus were far superior to Jordan. But that's not what God told Elisha to convey to Naaman. I'm sure glad he eventually listened to his servants and did some "double dipping" in the Jordan or we probably wouldn't know about this amazing and inspiring story! 2 Kings 5
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"Pray On" Video Babbie Mason
"Trust His Heart" Video
"He Will Carry You" Video
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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