And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. (Luke 4:27)
Godly Parents In An Ungodly World
The story of Naaman the leper is one of the great Biblical examples of the power of God to heal every disease, the grace of God to have mercy on a Gentile and the influence of parents on a little maiden girl who changed the life of the Syrian commander. 2 Kings 5 is where the story is found in the Old Testament but one reference is found in the New Testament when Jesus defends Himself against the prejudices of His own people of Nazareth. He had come into the city and as was His custom read scripture on the Sabbath day before the people. His reception was anything but cordial because the people rejected Him for suggesting He was the Messiah. Using the story of Naaman as a backdrop for His rebuke of the people’s rejection of Him, Jesus reminded them of the many lepers that were in Israel during the days of Naaman but the Syrian was the only one that was cleansed of his leprosy. This was especially a vital point considering Elisha the prophet lived in Israel at the time to which Naaman had received the instructions to be cleansed of his leprosy. Those familiar with the story know that if it were not for one certain maiden girl taken captive in a raid by the army of Naaman, no one would have been healed of leprosy. Through the love of a little girl the story of Naaman and his cleansing of a dreaded disease is inscribed in holy writ.
Jeff Himmel recently presented a lesson on the little maiden and made a startling observation. The historical marker of 2 Kings 5 is during the time of the divided kingdom where all of the kings of the northern tribes were evil. Judah had a few good kings but Israel was plagued by kings like Ahab that did more evil to seduce Israel to sin than any other king. When the story of Naaman unfolds Ahab had not been dead very long. Jehoram the son of Ahab was king of Israel and he did evil in the sight of the Lord persisting in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin. The legacy of kings for many years was nothing but wicked idolatry and harlotry. In the midst of this troubled world a father and mother welcomed the birth of a little girl. What became of the parents is unknown and how the maiden girl was taken captive is also unknown. A band of Syrian raiders entered Israel and took the girl from her home. The scriptures do not reveal what happened to the girl’s family and whether she would ever see them again. It must have been a horrific and terrible ordeal to survive the raid and then be taken to a foreign land of uncircumcised people to become a slave. The little girl would have had more reasons to hate the Syrians as she became a slave in the house of the commander of the Syrian army. Instead she had pity and love for the leper and implored her mistress to tell Naaman of the prophet in Israel that could heal his leprosy.
Jesus said there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Naaman and yet he was the only one that was healed. One family can change the world and the family of the little maiden was a family living in the midst of an evil world yet maintaining their deeply devoted faith in God and His power. They taught their daughter to trust in the power of God and to believe in the impossible. Leprosy could not be healed without the intervention of God. The little maiden believed in the impossible and loved her enemy because her parents had taught her to love God with all her heart, soul and mind. Growing up in a world reeling from the leadership of Ahab and Jezebel and wickedness pervading the country to its very core must have been an incredible challenge of parenting. Through it all a young girl saved the life and possibly the soul of a heathen Gentile who suffered from an impossible disease. What excuses can parents offer today to not teach their children to have a deep love for God and belief in His power? Godly parents can teach their children to live a godly life in an ungodly world. The parents of the little maiden proved that and she proved her faith by her works. Parenting is tough but when things get difficult godly parents get tougher. No excuses. Thank you Jeff for pointing out the power of godly parents in an ungodly world.