Through what kind of "lens" do you see? Naturally, we all view the world around us through the lens of our own individual perspectives. If we came from broken homes, our view of the family might be tainted. If all we've known is a mediocre marriage, we may not think too highly of the arrangement. If we have been stabbed in the back or manipulated by someone close to us either at work or in our personal lives, we may have a low opinion of people in general. Unless we make the effort to see all sides of a situation, we tend to get stuck in the rut of always seeing things the way we "want" to see things rather than how they actually are in in reality.
Biblical characters are no different. They are flawed just like us. The stories are in the old testament are filled with intrigue, suspense and drama. We find some "drama" in 2 Kings 5:1-7. Some real, some not so real. Let's dig in.
The Disease, & The Dispatch & the "Deception"
In our passage, we see Naaman, commander of the king of Aram's army, valiant though he was, suffering from leprosy. People were shunned in that day because of leprosy so this was a serious matter. However, there was hope for a cure to be found thanks to a young servant girl taken captive from Israel. This young girl knew things of the true God, the one of Israel and His power to save through men like the prophets. She knew of Elisha and of his storied miracles. The girl passed on this information to Naaman's wife, who then told Naaman, who then told the King, who then dispatched a letter to the king of Israel asking for his help. This reminds me of an old hair care product commercial: "And they told two friends, and so on, and so on and so on... :) Isn't God's power contagious?
But the letter wasn't initially received as planned for...
As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!" (2 Kings 5:7 NIV)
You will either have to stay "tuned" to see how the story turns out or read the rest of 2 Kings 5 for yourselves, because I don't want this post to be too long. However, I do want to look at a few application principles before closing. After all, we aren't just reading our bibles for the stories and the knowledge are we? What "fun" would the bible be if it didn't make us think?
"TAKE HOME" THOUGHTS:
1. Focus on God. I thought it was interesting that the power of God was remembered in pagan Syria (Aram) through a kidnapped Israeli servant girl. She passed on her faith to Naaman & the others and they acted on this faith. On the contrary, in the land of Israel where God should have been on the king's heart and mind, the king, upon receiving the letter referenced above, did not even think about the wonderful prophet Elisha who lived in his city. How are we Christians like the Israelite king? How often are we blinded to God's presence because our focus is on the wrong things?
2. Perspective is everything. As I mentioned in the introduction, we all naturally view life through the lens of our own personal experience unless we change our view by focusing on the things of God and His kingdom, renewing our minds with His word. Why do you think the king of Israel thought that the Aram king was up to something with his innocent letter? I think he might have been so focused on worldly things like power and prestige that he failed to see the blessings of God all around him. What has your focus been on lately?
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. - Colossians 3:2