Devotional Week 38 Wednesday
“The Lord is good, a strength and stronghold in the day of trouble, He knows, recognizes, has knowledge of and understands those who take refuge and trust in Him.”
Nahum 1: 7
“For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous.”
Psalm 1: 6
“’He Knoweth!’ Yes, the dear Lord says He knoweth –
He knoweth them who trust in Him repose;
Perhaps He wills it should bring savings comfort,
This blessed fact – that He His children knows.
‘He Knoweth,’ too, what things we here have need of –
‘Your Father knoweth’ is the Saviour’s word;
And so, whatever things He sees are needful
Will, in good season, reach us from the Lord.
‘He Knoweth’ also what lies in the darkness;
So nothing there need make our hearts afraid;
He sees the utmost end from the beginning,
And peace is ours as we on Him are stayed.
‘He Knoweth!’ Yes, of course, He always knoweth,
And in this blessed fact our hearts may rest,
Rejoicing in the happy calm that cometh
When we our refuge make within His breast.”
J. Danson Smith
Today’s Study Text:
“Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.”
II Kings 5: 2
“Only A Little Maid”
“There are no trivial assignments in the work of the Lord.”
Have I ever felt that I was placed in a job where I was “only” a (your job here) and I felt the work I did was trivial and unimportant?
How can I appreciate, on a daily basis, the place God has put me to represent Him in this world?
J. C. Ryle
“The candle of mercy is set up not to play by but to work by.”
As a young child, my parents would gather my sister and me together at night before we climbed into bed, and they would read us a Bible story from a set of children’s books which contained simple biographies about characters whose lives are found in Scripture.
One of my favorite narrative accounts was about a little girl, who I imagined to be my own age at the time. As the story unfolded, this little Israelite maiden, was captured by a group of what I visualized to be Syrian bandits, who grabbed the young lady, and took her off to a foreign land. For whatever reason, in my young mind, I didn’t liken this event to something frightening. Instead, I almost theorized that there was an element of adventure attached to the girl’s capture.
Let’s just say, that with the passing of time, and hard evidence of how captured victims of raiding armies are treated, my thoughts about the world of the young maiden are very different today. As I have studied how others view the capture of this young child, my admiration for the loyalty, kindness and mercy, shown by one so young, under less than optimal circumstances, has greatly increased.
Bible commentator Dale Ralph Davis, effectively lifts the curtain on this story as he so descriptively paints a vivid picture of this tragic situation. He begins by noting that this is a “heart-rending” story, “even if reported matter-of-factly.”
“’Now Aram went out as raiding parties and took captive from the land of Israel a little girl, and she was serving Naaman’s wife’ (II Kings 5: 2)…This whole story hangs on this little lass and yet we don’t even know her name…chip away at Verse 2 and sense the personal tragedy in it. Were the girl’s parents killed in the Aramaeans’ raid? She was spirited off by raiders, never to return home again, never to see loved ones again, living the rest of her life in servitude in a foreign country…What was it like when she was wrenched away that Thursday morning? Was she not scared out of her wits? When Israelites received their electric bills there would be no enclosure with a picture of this lass with the legend, ‘Have you seen this girl?’ along with the date of her disappearance. No, she was gone for good – probably after the worst trauma of her young life.”
In my opinion, Davis does a phenomenal job of sketching out a dramatic image regarding the trauma that not only befell this young child, but her parents as well – for if they survived the raid and the brutality of this event, just think how they would have felt, thinking about their little girl everyday.
When we recognize that these Syrian groups, whose most likely maraudering intent was to plunder for financial loot or for individuals who would become available for human servitude, we can come to the immediate conclusion that the Israelite families most likely lived in constant fear that without warning, a vicious group of armed men would sweep down into their villages or rural dwellings, carrying away anything of perceived value – and in this case, it was a young girl who they believed would fetch a good price from one of the leaders in the land, as a servant girl for his wife.
Before we become completely engrossed in the specific events that shaped this young girl’s life, I want to return to the flag that continues to wave over this entire story. Here is how Dale Ralph Davis draws us back to the sovereign rule of God. “In Yahweh’s providence, in this story everything hangs on this little girl, on her tragic servitude. Without her Naaman would never have been healed.”
Then Davis drives home his point with this thought-provoking statement: “People are often brought into the kingdom of God at great cost to other people.”
This statement brought to my mind a prayer by Dr. David Livingstone whose commitment to the people of Africa is legendary:
“O Jesus, fill me with Your love now and, I pray, accept me and my service, and take all the glory.”
A tremendous prayer of dedication. But as I have read several biographies about the great doctor, what struck me the most was the sacrifice his wife made, along with his children, who were, for most of Dr. Livingstone’s life of service, back in England. I understand, somewhat, this type of life for my grandparents were self-supporting missionaries for many years. Once they “came home” as they described their lives here in the United States, they frequently opened their home to other missionary families who came to spend “furlough” time where they knew their living expenses would be minimal. As I talked with some of the children of these families, I found that there were quite a few kids my age who had been sent off to boarding school and had endured many a Christmas’ without their family because the cost of air travel was too much. Probably, because we were the same age, these teens would be open with me about the “sacrifice” they felt they were making, for I recognized that for many of them, the service of their parents had a huge affect on their lives, too.
The young Israelite girl we are studying about was dragged away from all that was familiar, to an unknown existence in a foreign land. She could easily have chosen to decry the situation she found herself in but instead, her gracious and merciful presence was a balm in Namaan’s home.
As F. W. Krummacher shares, “There must have been a time, when her young heart was well nigh broken, when she thought upon her father and her mother, and her distant and beloved home.” But here’s how this tragedy unfolded into the providential working of our Father in heaven. As Krummacher explains, “She falls into the hands of Naaman’s wife; and how, but by the providence of Him who called the universe into being? This child proves to her mistress as a messenger from heaven…and hereby events transpire which were to interest Naaman’s household, and his prince, and the Syrian nation, and King Jehoram, and all Israel; yes, and ourselves also. Such Divine disposals, beginning often in sorrowful events, and often in (apparently) little things, it behooves us seriously to consider.”
In his book, The Power and the Fury, Dale Davis relates an experience shared by Arno O. Gaebelein who sent a free copy of his first book, Studies in Zechariah, to every rabbi in greater New York City. To his disappointment, not a single person responded. But, as Davis continues, “After a while, a young Hebrew Christian began to attend one of Gaebelein’s meetings. He had been a secretary to a well-known rabbi. The rabbi had tossed the book into the wastebasket, but the secretary had fished it out, read it, and trusted Christ.”
Whether it is a book in a garbage can or a young girl providing merciful service in a foreign home or if it’s you, in a job that doesn’t appear to fit your talents at all, our service, as painful and harsh as the circumstance may be, when rendered to others as if to God, can change a home, a company, a church, a city, a nation, or even the world.
“God made me for Himself,
to serve Him here,
With love’s pure service
and in filial fear;
To show His praise, for Him
to labour now;
Then see His glory where
the angels bow.”
Henry William Baker
“O Lord, baptize our hearts into a sense of the needs and conditions of all.”
“Lord of the universe, Master of all, look in love upon Your people. Pour the healing oil of Your compassion on a world that is wounded and dying. Send us out in search of the lost, to comfort the afflicted, to bind up the broken, and to free those trapped under the rubble of their fallen dreams.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
P.S. Over the past few weeks, because of the generous outpouring of gifts from God’s “Garden daughters and sons,” we were able to complete our current projects and send 10,000 bookmarks to Papua New Guinea. We also sent 500 bookmarks in the Hindi language to Northern India. Thank you. Now we are undertaking the challenge of sending bookmarks to Russia, Lithuania and Brazil and to several domestic abuse shelters here in the United States.