Devotional Week 38 Thursday
“For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that are suited to life and godliness, through the personal knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence. By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape from the moral corruption that is in the world because of greed, and become partakers of the divine nature.”
II Peter 1: 3,4
“When God made (you) a believer, He meant to try (you), and when He gave (you) His promises, He bode (you) trust them; He gave such promises as are suitable for times of tempest and tossing…I beseech you, do not treat God’s promises as if they were curiosities for a museum; but use them as everyday sources of comfort. Trust the Lord whenever your time of need comes on.”
“Go to the deeps of God’s promises,
And claim whatsoever ye will;
The blessing of God will not fail thee,
His Word He will surely fulfill.”
“How can God say no to something He has promised?”
L. B. Cowman
Today’s Study Text:
“But he (Naaman) was a leper. The Syrians had gone out in bands and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited on Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, ‘Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.’”
II Kings 5: 1-3
“Would That My Lord Was With The Prophet”
“God has two thrones; one in the highest heaven; the other is in the lowliest heart.”
How often do I spend time with my Lord?
How much trust in God did the little maiden have who believed that if her master was “in the presence” of Elisha, he would be healed?
“I no longer believe that God is up there, and I do not believe that God is only within me, and I do not believe that God is merely out there in history. I think we are actually in God at all times.”
Sister Madonna Kolbenschlag
“God is not far away from us. Rather He awaits us every instant in our action, in the work of the moment. There is a sense in which He is at the tip of my pen, my spake, my brush, my needle.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
She had been stolen away from all she held dear. And now living in a foreign land, this young Israelite girl had become the property of the “House of Naaman,” destined to a life of servitude in a Syrian home.
As I studied this story, I wondered how long it took this young girl to realize that all was not well within the walls of the home where she “waited” upon a lady of wealth and position.
Maybe she noticed that the master of the house, as F. W. Krummacher speculates, had skin that was “lacerated, suppurating, inflamed, and sore. His comeliness was changed to disgust and horror.” As we might assume, from a position of honor and admiration, the frightful diagnosis of lethal, spreadable leprosy would indeed carry a stigma that would isolate the once powerful military leader, Naaman.
But it is here where the little Hebrew maiden enters the picture. “Whether she was particularly well-informed and instructed we know not; but she brought with her sufficient light to cheer the dark and dreary path of the disconsolate,” is the beautiful way F. W. Krummacher explains this child’s involvement with the life of Naaman and his wife. But author Krummacher also makes this insightful observation, “It must, at least, have been known to her, that God was not only the God of the Jews, but also of the whole earth. She could not, therefore, have doubted, that…Naaman might experience Divine favour…hense she said, ‘Would God, my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria’…the wish of this child was uttered in perfect simplicity…In a moment did she thus revive the hopes of the afflicted pair, and introduce into this house of heathen gloom the first ray of cheerfulness.”
One of the first questions which came to my mind, as I thought about the confidence a child like this would exhibit in the healing power of Elisha, was, “Why did this ‘young maiden’ believe Elisha could bring heavenly healing to her master?”
The answer, I believe, is found in a phrase that appeared in reference to the prophet Elijah and continued to be woven into the fabric of Elisha’s life.
I first recognized this phrase in II Kings 4: 7, when the desperate, widowed mother initially brought her need to Elisha. She came before him and cried out and “told the man of God,” the Bibles reveals. Just two verses later, when Elisha was passing through the city of Shunem, we find the “great lady” in this city informs her husband that a “holy man of God” was in their midst. And when Elisha promised a son would be born to this couple, again the woman of Shunem refers to Elisha as, “that man of God.” In total, from II Kings 4: 7 through II Kings 8: 11, we find the phrase “man of God” mentioned 28 times, in regards to Elisha. I call this a pattern. And it isn’t a stretch for me to believe that throughout Israel, right into the home of a little girl who later ended up “waiting” upon Naaman’s wife, Elisha’s witness as a “man of God” had such impact on the people that when their lives were challenged by hardship, affliction and great need, their thoughts turned to Elisha – not because of some magical power He personally displayed, but because the power of God’s presence filled his life.
Interestingly, other than Jesus, no other Biblical character performed more recorded miracles than Elisha. So it would be easy to come to the conclusion that the people of the land might have nicknamed Elisha the “Miracle man.” A moniker like this in the 21st century would be something some publicity specialist could easily use to garner attention for a prominent client. You can just hear the evening news report: “The miracle man has arrived!”
But unlike today’s publicity hounds, Elisha was known by a title that I must say makes me pause for a moment as I take in the meaning of these words: “Elisha, the man of God.” How would you like to be known as “Laurie, the woman of God?” How about “Jeff, the man of God?” Or closer to home, “Dorothy, the woman of God?” I must tell you, this is what I long to be known as. It’s the only title or identification mark that matters to me.
What’s more, because Elisha was known as a person who was surrounded by God’s presence, a person filled with God’s Spirit, an individual whose contact with the Almighty was unquestioned, it meant that his life, lived as a tribute to the wonder of his heavenly Father, left a permanent mark upon those he touched and those who only heard about him.
Thus, when a little girl was brutally taken to a foreign land, she remembered that back home in the safety of a place she dearly loved, there was a man – a special man who was in touch with the God who ruled heaven and earth. A God who was in charge even in the bitterest moments of this little girl’s life. And her belief was so strong that this young one had the boldness to inform those she served, “If only you could get to the man of God, you would be healed. I know what it’s like to be with one who has been touched by God’s presence.”
I love these words penned by Hildebert of Lavardin who states:
“God is above, presiding;
This was the God whose presence was with the “man of God” Elisha and it was the God who was with a young servant girl in Syria. Thankfully, He’s the same God whose presence we can have with us every moment of every day. As the Apostle Paul reminds us: “God has done all this, so that we will look for Him and reach out and find Him. He isn’t far from any of us” (Acts 17: 27, C.E.V.).
“When we sing, ‘Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,’ we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”
A. W. Tozer
Several years ago, I was introduced to the most soulful version of the old hymn, “Draw Me Nearer,” as sung by the heavenly-voiced Nina Simone. As I have repeatedly listened to her touching rendition of these beautiful words, it has lit a fire within me which has turned into a yearning blaze, as I desire to stay surrounded by the presence of my Father in heaven.
“I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to Thee.
O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
While I kneel in prayer, and with Thee,
My God, I commune as friend with friend.
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.”
Fanny J. Crosby
“When Jesus is present, all is well, and nothing seems difficult.”
Thomas á Kempis
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author