2 Kings 4-5
(Those Who Listen are Healed)

April 16th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

- 2 Kings 5:2-3 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

In chapter 4, Elisha performed many miracles, including the provision of large quantities of oil for the widow of a prophet, the raising of the dead son of a Shunammite family, and the feeding of 100 men from a meager ration of bread. In the subsequent chapter, a Syrian military officer is miraculously healed from a long-term skin disease after he humbles himself by following Elisha’s advice to wash in the Jordan River.

In each of these cases, the people who benefited from the miracle had to listen to Elisha and take an action that he described in order for the miracle to occur:

    The Widow: Had to collect as many jars as she could, and then fill them with oil

    The Shunammite family: Allowed Elisha to go into the room with her dead son in order to bring life back to him

    The servant of the man from Baal Shalishah: Had to distribute the small amount of loaves in order for it to expand to serve 100 men

    Naaman: had to wash himself in the Jordan seven times to be healed

Those who did not listen to Elisha suffered consequences. The servant of Elisha tried to hide the fact that he collected money from Naaman even though Elisha had declined any payment for this miracle. But Elisha knew what he had done and gave him the disease that Naaman had just washed away.

Reflection and Application

One of the lessons from this duo of chapters is that God rewards our faith in proportion: The widow’s family gathered many empty jars in faith and they were all filled by a miracle. If they had gathered more, then more jars would have been filled. If they had gathered less, then less jars would have been filled. God was prepared to respond to whatever level of faith that this family demonstrated.

Naaman shows us how important it is to listen to people who may have a lower position or less authority. First, he listened to a servant girl by going to Israel in search of Elisha. Next, he listened to Elisha, who was a prophet of God, but Naaman did not yet worship the true God. Then, he listened to his own servant who encouraged him to follow through with Elisha’s instructions. He finally humbled himself by bathing in the dirty Jordan, and was rewarded with healing.

    But his servants caught up with him and said, "Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn't you have done it? So why not this simple 'wash and be clean'?"

    So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.

    - 2 Kings 5:13-14 (MSG)

The story of Naaman demonstrates God’s merciful nature, because Naaman was from a country that was often hostile to Israel. In fact, his servant girl was a captive from Israel. This is a wonderful story to remind us that his grace was offered to people beyond the chosen twelve tribes long before the days of Jesus and the disciples.

Jesus reminded the people of Nazareth of this fact one day, as recorded in Luke, chapter 4. He had returned to Galilee and went to "the Meeting Place" on the Sabbath, where he was handed the scroll of Isaiah to read. After reading it Jesus announced that he was the fulfullment of that scripture. You would think the people in his hometown would be proud to have hosted the Messiah, but they rejected him. Jesus knew that this rejection was in their hearts, so he acknowleded their disbelief and referenced these stories from 2 Kings 4-5:

    “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

    - Luke 4:24-27 (NIV)

In saying this Jesus made quite clear that he had come to save those who believed - regardless of whether or not they were part of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What was the largest gathering of people to which you served food?
    2. What is one of the miracles of abundance or healing that you have experienced or heard about from a person close to you?
    3. How do we practice the discipline of slowing down to listen to other people and to God, particularly when we think we already have the answers?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know you are the source of healing. Help us to slow down to listen to your instructions for healing and salvation.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Hometown Heroes

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: 2 Kings 6-7 (He Intervenes)

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