Today we continue to see through the lives of Naaman, Elisha, and the Shunammite woman, how the Lord works on behalf of those who trust in Him.
Naaman – Naaman is a successful commander over the Syrian army and he is “a mighty man of valor, but a leper.” Naaman’s wife has a servant who was abducted from Israel during a raid on her home by the Syrians. This servant girl knows the Lord, and she apparently has laid down any bitterness and anger for being taken from her home and forced to serve in the home of Naaman. We see that she is a girl who desires healing and restoration for others as she says to Naaman’s wife, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” The girl is speaking of the Lord’s prophet Elisha. So Naaman goes to see the prophet, and Elisha sends a messenger, who says to Naaman – “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”
However, Naaman’s pride rears its ugly head as he is outraged that Elisha didn’t come personally to heal him of his leprosy. In addition, Naaman is insulted that he was asked to dip in what he considers inferior water. But then another servant steps forward and says, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” So Naaman humbles himself, follows Elisha’s instructions, and is healed — not just physically but spiritually. Once healed, Naaman declares, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” Therefore, Naaman switches allegiance from the false gods to the Lord because he encountered the God who acts for those who trust in Him.
Elisha against the band of Syrian raiders – A servant of the king of Syria informs the king that Elisha has been revealing his plans to the king of Israel. The servant says that Elisha “tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” Therefore, the king of Syria sends raiders to go and get Elisha. When the raiders surround the city, Elisha tells his servant not to fear, for Elisha knows that the Lord acts on behalf of those who trust Him. So Elisha prays for the Lord to open the spiritual eyes of his servant so he too could see that the Lord is behind the scenes protecting them. Then the servant saw that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” Then Elisha prays again, and the Lord strikes the enemies with a type of blindness. Elisha leads the enemy raiders out of the city, once again proving that the Lord acts on behalf of those who trust in Him.
Famine in Israel – During the Syrians’ siege on Samaria, no trade is allowed to go in or out of the city in an effort to starve the population. The situation inside Samaria, the capital of Northern Israel, is so dire that women are eating their own children. However, during the Exodus Era when the Lord was giving the blessings for obedience and the cursings for disobedience, He said it would come to this if they continued in their rebellion against the Lord. The Lord would turn them over to their enemies and themselves— “They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the Lord your God has given you. You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you” (Deuteronomy 28:52-53).
Instead of repenting and turning to the Lord, the king of Israel blames the Lord’s prophet Elisha for their distress saying, “God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today.” The wicked always blame the righteous. However, the Lord sees all, and He responds His way and in His timing. So Elisha says to the king of Israel, “Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’” And since God always does what He says He is going to do, that is exactly what happens. The Lord works behind the scenes, scattering the Syrian army and sending four leprous men to the Syrian camp, where they discover all of their spoils which provide for Samaria.
The Shunammite woman – The Lord spares the Shunammite woman that we met in yesterday’s reading (2 Kings 4:8-37) and her household from the famine in Israel. Elisha told the woman, “‘Arise and go, you and your household, and stay wherever you can; for the Lord has called for a famine, and furthermore, it will come upon the land for seven years.’ So the woman arose and did according to the saying of the man of God, and she went with her household and dwelt in the land of the Philistines seven years.” And when the Lord brings her home, she encounters the king at the exact time he is hearing about what Elisha did for her, how he restored the life of her son. “So the king appointed a certain officer for her, saying, ‘Restore all that was hers, and all the proceeds of the field from the day that she left the land until now.’” So once again, we see the Lord acting on behalf of those who trust Him.
The Lord is the same now as He was then. He always acts on behalf of those who trust Him – “You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them— those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:9-13).
Tomorrow, evil Jezebel re-enters the scene, and the Lord is going to move against her. It will be just as Elijah said — they will go to find her and there will be nothing there. Keep reading. (2 Kings 5:1-8:15)