Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 5:1-17
Elijah, prophet to the kings of Israel, was taken up in a fiery chariot and whirlwind. However, as he was going up into the heavens, his sheepskin cloak fell to the earth. His disciple Elisha picked it up, and in so doing took on the role of chief prophet. Now it was Elisha’s job to speak to an increasingly wicked and troubled Israel on behalf of God, and intercede to God on behalf of the people. Immediately, the “school of prophets” recognized Elisha’s authority, and began following him. A series of prophetic events, such as the “she-bear” attacking the youths who mocked Elisha and his interaction with poor and rich women confirmed God was with him.
Today’s scripture focus is about a foreign general named Naaman. Naaman had been given a measure of military success in Aram, a territory in central Syria. Unfortunately, Naaman had a skin disease that caused him much grief. All skin diseases in the Bible are called “leprosy”. Naaman’s wife had an Israelite slave girl who knew of the prophet Elisha, whom she mentioned. Immediately Naaman petitioned his king to send him to Israel. The king agreed, and sent him with the appropriate gifts to Israel’s king. Unfortunately, no one had really listened to the servant, and Israel’s king was clueless regarding how to help Naaman.
Israel’s king was convinced the king of Aram was trying to trap him into a war, and tore his clothes in anguish. Elisha heard about what was happening, and sent for Naaman. The general would have expected Elisha to come out to meet him and perform a healing rite, or apply a magic balm to his skin. Instead, the prophet angered Naaman by not even bothering to come out and meet him, but simply instructing him to go swim in the Jordan river! This was insulting to Naaman, but a brave servant talked him into giving it a try. What did he have to lose? When Naaman followed the prophets instructions, his skin became like a baby’s!
It is interesting that in this story, the only ones named are Elisha and Naaman. The two kings and the servant girl are all nameless, placing them on the same level. While the king of Israel was frightened by a foreign general, the prophet was not intimidated by him in the least. The remedy prescribed Naaman was one for a common man, and not a mighty military hero. Our scripture focus shows that God does not respect status or standing. God respects humility and obedience. The mighty soldier had not learned humility through his illness, so God allowed him to learn it through his cure. God will work in whatever ways necessary to humble us.
- Go around the table and share prayer requests. Have someone lead in prayer.
- Let everyone who would like to share anything exciting from their week.
- Ask these three questions. Let as many answer each one as they would like.
Has God ever answered prayer in your life in a way you did not expect? Has God ever used your life circumstances to increase your faith?
Is there anything in today’s scripture that especially speaks to you?
What questions would you like to ask about today’s scripture?