Designed for Sun, Nov. 4th
Welcome to Episode #100 of the Sunday Scripture Podcast!
We follow the Narrative Lectionary and the theme our this section is Living Faithfully in the Promise. In last week’s text, we talked about a young king named Solomon. He was placed in a leadership position and had a great deal of humility about his ability to do the job.
As we turn to this week, we acknowledge King Solomon was known for his wisdom, but he was also a king whose policies put his nation at risk. His concern was for wealth over the unity of the kingdom, and desire for wives over faithfulness to the one true God, which led to the eventual split of the kingdom.
The ten northern tribes of Israel broke away from the southern kingdom, and would become known as Judah. During this time the prophets spoke, urging the people to faithfulness and a return to God’s ways. One of these prophets was the prophet Elisha, whom we read about today.
Our key point this week is - Trusting in God’s power creates opportunities to share God’s love and healing with others.
We’re going to start with a quote from our materials.
Quote #1: In the opening verses of this text we hear of Naaman (pronounced Nay-man), a commander in a foreign army that had recently been victorious in battle over the army of Israel. Captives from Israel had been taken, including a young girl who became a servant to Naaman’s wife. In spite of being a powerful man, Naaman had a major problem—leprosy. Leprosy is a horrible skin disease that can cause the loss of limbs and a slow, painful death. Perhaps even more significant, leprosy was treated with disdain and fear, often leading to people with leprosy being ostracized from the community.
2 Kings 5:1-7 New International Version (NIV)
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
4 Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said. 5 “By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. 6 The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”
7 As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!”
2 Kings 5:8-15 New International Version (NIV)
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
15 Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”
Quote #2: Naaman expected a showy public ritual rather than a small, private act. It was also customary during this time for the person being healed to present a large gift to the healer or prophet. This makes Naaman’s situation even more awkward when Elisha refuses the gift. This shows that God is more concerned with our internal motivations and faith than great, showy acts. This contradiction—Naaman’s expectations and God’s requirements—leads to Naaman’s change of heart.9
Our hope is to provide any individual, teacher, or pastor with a comprehensive look at the lectionary text for Sunday through our podcast, blog, and social media posts