Devotions for the week of: October 1, 2020
2 Kings 5: 1-4
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said.
The voice of a slave … the voice of a young one … the voice of a … (gasp) girl … speaks a word of hope and healing to one who had power and position and wealth. The one who had everything has nothing, for he has leprosy – that dreadful disease that leads to separation from family and community and leads to death.
Naaman, a man who appears to have it all, has a problem about which he can do nothing. His wealth cannot buy him health. His position of authority cannot bring him healing. His mighty power cannot change his circumstances. But within his household, there is one who knows the way of life and wholeness. This young slave girl dares to speak to her mistress, “If only he was with the prophet.”
This girl knows the power of the Living God. She knows the prophet who speaks the word of God and brings God’s grace to life. She could have kept quiet. She who had been taken captive could have been silent to let Naaman die his lonely death from leprosy. She could have taken revenge for her circumstances. But she knew about the life given by God and she could not keep quiet. It is as if she knew what Jesus would say. When challenged by the Pharisees after his Palm Sunday procession to silence the crowds, Jesus said, “If these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (Luke 19:40) The good news of the gospel cannot be contained. This young slave girl was compelled to speak the word of life.
As the story goes on, we learn that Naaman continues to learn that power and position and wealth do not buy grace or special favor. Rather, grace comes because it is a gift from God. As we let go of all to which we cling for security, the word of God breaks through and brings healing and wholeness, restoration, and life.
In the life of the Church, there have been those times when voices that could proclaim the good news of life were silenced. But in this year of 50-40-10, we celebrate all the voices that now speak the good news of the gospel. God does not limit grace and God does not limit who can speak that word of grace. In this story, we know that the voice of a slave, the voice of a young one, the voice of a girl speaks the word of life. Thanks be to God that the voices that were silent – unexpected voices, surprising voices – proclaim the grace of God given through Christ.
Reverend Siri Sorenson
Grace Lutheran, Sioux Falls
Gracious God, who spoke life into being, we give you thanks for all the voices that proclaim the life You give. Give us ears to hear all those who have your Word to share. Open our hearts to receive the good news that brings healing and builds community. Thank you for this unnamed young slave girl who speaks to us even today. In Christ’s name, Amen.
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