Have you ever needed help, and someone promised to relay your phone call or your request to another person but then failed to deliver on that promise? Or, have you ever wanted to help someone but didn’t think you had any resources with which to help them? Or, have you ever wondered how God expects you to help others when you have nothing to give? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then this article may offer you some suggestions.
The following Bible account is from II Kings 5:1-8
Naaman is the mighty, powerful commander of the Syrian army. Yet, he has a serious problem. He has leprosy. To be a leper in Bible days was a curse. Not only was it a physically painful and deteriorating disease, but it was also socially painful because societies back in these days often ostracized lepers so as to contain the disease from being spread. (Leviticus, chapters 13-14)
However, there is hope for Naaman because his wife has a servant girl who came from Israel, and when this servant girl realizes that her master suffers from leprosy, she immediately speaks up, saying, “Oh, if only my master was with the prophet, Elisha, then he would be healed!”
Well, when Naaman learns what the girl said, he rushes off to tell his king. Because the Syrian king favors Naaman, he gives Naaman money and several changes of clothing and sends him straight away to Israel with a letter to the king of Israel, commanding that Naaman be healed.
When the king of Israel receives traveling Naaman with his accompanying letter from the Syrian king, all he can think is that the Syrian king must be playing some kind of game with him, trying to trick him into a battle. Israel’s king has no intention of helping this foreigner, but, somehow, word gets out about this incident to Elisha, the prophet of God. Elisha then sends out a message to the king telling him to send Naaman to him to be healed. The prophet Elisha wanted this Syrian man to experience the power of the Almighty God and to know that God and His Word lived in Israel. When Naaman later comes to Elisha, he is indeed healed after obeying the prophet’s command to dip in the Jordan River seven times. (vs. 14)
There are many points to be gleaned from this Bible passage, but the ones I would like to highlight are these:
1. The contrast between the servant girl and the king of Israel
When the servant girl realizes that Naaman has leprosy, she speaks up. She wants to help him. Sure, he is the enemy, he is a Gentile, but she doesn’t care. She just sees a man in need of healing, and she knows who can help him, and she doesn’t hesitate to speak up.
The king of Israel, on the other hand, is offended by Naaman’s request to be healed. The king knows all too well of the prophet Elisha. He knows that the prophet has healing powers through God, but does he want to help Naaman? No, he is only thinking of his own agenda. He had the authority and influence to help Naaman, but he is only thinking about his political strategy with Syria. If it had been left up to the king of Israel, Naaman would never have been healed. But, because God was in charge, He saw to it that Elisha found out about this incident, thus making a way for Naaman to be healed.
There are many people all around us who are in need of something. Maybe it’s physical healing for sickness like Naaman. Maybe it is provisions like food, clothing, and shelter. Maybe the need is an encouraging word or a helping hand. How do we regard these people in need? Are we like the servant girl? Do we have a desire to help them? Are we eager to make an effort? We may not have anything ourselves with which to help them, but we may know someone who can help them. We may know of another person, group, or agency that can help them. If we are a Christian, then surely we can tell them about Jesus and His healing power, His comforting power. Are we willing to speak up like the servant girl, or are we more concerned about ourselves and our own agendas like the king of Israel? Will we tell others about Christ, or will we keep our knowledge of Him to ourselves?
2. It doesn’t matter how insignificant you think you are, you can work for God.
The servant girl was just a servant. We aren’t even given her name. She probably had nothing of her own, no money, no possessions, or no influence. All she had was one thing, and that was knowledge. She knew that God’s prophet, Elisha, could heal Naaman.
We might see someone in need and think we can’t help them because we are too poor ourselves, or we don’t have the resources. We might think we have no pull. We might think like the king of Israel, “Who am I that I can help this person?” But, if we have nothing else, we at least have the knowledge of someone else who can help them.
3. God wants to help all people, no matter who they are.
Naaman was not a Jew. He was not one of God’s “chosen people,” but God wanted to heal him anyway. And, whether a person is a Christian or not, God loves them and wants to help them. So, we should as well, like the servant girl.
“For the scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” (Romans 10:11-12)
Jonah had this problem when God sent him to preach to the people of Ninevah. Jonah didn’t want to tell the people of Ninevah about God. He didn’t want God to save them. He had his own agenda. However, God gave Jonah an attitude adjustment so that he did eventually preach to Ninevah, and the people there repented of their sins and were saved by God. (See the Book of Jonah)
Do we have our own selfish agenda? Do we let our job, our own problems, or our pride prevent us from telling others about God’s love for them and His desire to help them?
4. God’s word never comes back void.
The king of Israel totally ignored the letter from the Syrian king and had no intention of doing anything to help Naaman. If the whole situation had been left up entirely to the king of Israel, Naaman never would have been healed. He would have been sent right back to Syria still plagued with leprosy. However, God saw to it that Elisha found out about all this, and Elisha sent a message to the king to have Naaman brought to him.
Have you ever tried to ask for help from someone, and they say they will call someone for you, and they never do?
When God wants something done, it will get done. God wants others to know about His love and desire to help them. We might choose to be like the king of Israel. We may choose to do nothing, but this will not stop God from making another way to provide His love and power to help someone in need.
If you are that person in need, don’t despair if you are trying to get help, and it seems like your requests are falling on deaf ears. God will make sure you get your help. Just call on Him. Go straight to the One in charge, the King of Kings.
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)