Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Christian witness among people of other faith
2 Kings 5: 1-14
v3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
We tend to feel that the blessings of God are only for the chosen people but God had made a commandment for the Gentiles as well. God promises Abram “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All of the families of the earth will be blessed in you” (Genesis 12:3). The Bible portion for today’s meditation is a record of how healing of God from above reaches a Gentile by crossing boundaries and act of a new ritual that he had not seen. We are talking about Namaan, a Gentile and the army commander of Araam who had to his credit many victories some of them at the cost of God’s chosen people – the Israelites.
1. A powerful man looking towards the powerless for help: Though Namaan was a great man and honourable with his master, he was a leper. There was no known cure for leprosy and it was a painful, debilitating and socially isolating disease. Namaan might have tried everything in his power to cure his disease but in no vain, that he agrees to listen to his wife’s Israelite maid, the lowest in status. In our times of helplessness, even we heed to words of people whom we might not in our prosperity and success. But more prominent thought here is that the maid had a painful past in the hands of Syrians, yet she extends her message of healing towards her master. I wonder, if we were in her place would we have extended this advice to Namaan or we would have desired him to suffer of leprosy? As Christians, one of the messages we have to carry across the world is that of healing in spite of any pain that the world might have inflicted upon us. We do not know how God might act upon the situation creating positive transformations in people’s lives.
2. Crossing obstacles to experience healing: The suggestion given by the maid required Namaan to enter the land of Samaria, an enemy of Aram, for healing – the first obstacle Namaan had to cross. Though the King of Aram sends a letter to the King of Israel indicating that his army commander is seeking healing from the land of Israel, it fails to communicate the reason – the maid’s suggestion. Hence this letter panics the King of Israel because he thinks this might be a trick by the King of Aram to pick up a fight. But when the news reaches Prophet Elisha, he sends a message to the King asking Namaan to be brought to him. The second obstacle that Namaan had to cross was that of his ego developed out of having lived in grandeur. Namaan was angry that Prophet Elisha never came out and met him personally and also that he asks him to wash himself in the River of Jordan while there were much cleaner rivers in the Land of Aram. Yet Namaan overcomes this ego when his servants request him to obey to the Prophets advice and he gets healed. Like Namaan, the people of other faiths might not accept what we have to offer initially, yet it is our duty to spread the message of healing to the world and we must never be miser in that. We have no right to say that God’s healing is only for us. God’s healing is for everyone who believes in Him.
As we continue reading the verses 15-17, we see how the healing transforms Namaan and frees him from his false pride and humbles him. It also describes the transformation of Namaan’s faith where he requests Elisha to gift him “two mules” of soil from the land of Israel that he could carry back to the land of Aram where he could offer prayers and burnt offering to the God of Israel. Namaan also seeks forgiveness from Elisha if he might have to practice certain rituals in the land of Aram due to his responsibility. Elisha tells him to go in peace. The Israelite maidservant in the land of Aram and Prophet Elisha provides us guidance on how we are supposed to be Christian witnesses among people of other faith. May our Lord help us be true Christian witnesses in this world.
Teach us to be obedient to you and love you sincerely with all our heart,all our soul all our strength and all our mind.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Obedience is better than sacrifice.
Elizabeth Abraham W/O Rev Johnson Abraham, The Mar Thoma Church Staten island.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma ChurchThank