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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Meadowview Road Farm
Meadow View Road in Lancaster County, PA.

"He Can Use Me"

Note: Due to opening illustrative material this message is a bit longer. Exposition begins at small graphic.

Message summary: Naaman’s miraculous healing is one of God accomplishing His will in ways that we can’t always understand and in a time frame according to His plans, not our own. And you never know who He will use, even an unnamed servant girl.

Listen to this message on your audio player.

"Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 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 1-3).

Jack Andraka was born in 1997. He was an ordinary kid until a close family friend died from pancreatic cancer. This inspired Jack to look for a way to identify early stages of pancreatic cancer.

Andraka wrote up an experimental protocol and e-mailed it to 200 researchers. Only Dr. Anirban Maitra at Johns Hopkins responded. He decided to invite Andraka to his lab. To oversee the project, he appointed a gentle postdoctoral chemist, who took the baby-sitting assignment in stride. They expected to see Andraka for perhaps a few weeks over the summer.

Instead, the young scientist worked for seven months, every day after school and often on Saturdays until after midnight, subsisting on hard-boiled eggs and Twix as his mother dozed in the car in a nearby parking garage. He labored through Thanksgiving and Christmas. He spent his 15th birthday in the lab.

At the age of 15, he invented a new type of sensor to spot the presence of pancreatic cancer cells, which proved to be less expensive, much faster (x168), and more accurate (25-50%) than all other tests.

All though history diseases like leprosy and pancreatic cancer have afflicted without discrimination, both rich and poor. In our own time we consider Steve Jobs, who is widely recognized as a pioneer of the personal computer and of course the ever-evolving line of Apple products. In spite of his wealth and fame he succumbed to pancreatic cancer when he was just 56 years old.

Servant girlToday let us consider a child in the Bible, who like Jack Andraka, made a real difference; a young servant girl born in Israel whose name is not even recorded. She was taken captive in Syria and served the wife of Namaan who was commander of the Syrian army. He was likely very wealthy and highly esteemed in his country. He led the Syrians to victory repeatedly, including victory over Israel.

But 2 Kings 5:1 reveals that Naaman had a critical health problem for which there was no cure. Naaman had leprosy and this would certainly affect his present standing as commander and very possibly bring about an early death. But this young unnamed servant girl bore a burden for her master and his family.

As a child she had learned about the God of Israel and dared to bring up a famous prophet who had performed miracles in her homeland, “She said to her mistress (Naaman's wife), 'If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy'" (2 Kings 5:3). That prophet was Elisha.

Now this had to be a statement of faith since Jesus, in recounting the story in Luke 4:27, 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".  Thus 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 through the prophet.

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 her intercessory prayers.

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. In this way today's story is similar to Esther.

Naaman in JordanThink for a minute. A young, unidentified 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. Naaman then had to humble himself before God and obey the seemingly "foolish" instruction given to him by Elisha. It would seem that God wanted to teach him that he really wasn't all that powerful after all, and he needed a good dose of humility.

Naaman submitted to Elisha’s strange instructions to dip in the Jordan River seven times. After 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". (We can't help but wonder if he lived the rest of his life with this faith outlook!)

Naaman’s miraculous story is one of God accomplishing His will in ways that we can’t always understand and in a time frame according to His plans, not our own. And you never know who He will use, even an unidentified servant girl.

If You can use anything Lord You can use me
If You can use anything Lord You can use me
Take my hands, Lord and my feet
Touch my heart, Lord and speak through me
If You can use anything Lord You can use me

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know that "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" and so is that of a young servant girl. 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 for whom we pray, 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. She is an example of one who was used of you just as You want to use us in making a difference in our sphere of influence. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Use Me"  Video   Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

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