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The Bridge to Naaman’s Conversion (Part 1)

A child of God needs to look for every opportunity to witness for Jesus or build a bridge to eventually share the Gospel. I had an unexpected request yesterday after church. A lady called me asking if I could sign documents as a Commissioner of Oaths. As she is the sister of my opposite neighbor I agreed, realizing that as her father had died recently it could well be to do with that. There were seven bundles to sign, date and stamp. The lady was extremely grateful and wanted to pay me. I refused because this is a service … but I had the opportunity of speaking about Jesus to her in such a way that other members of the family could hear. There was another lady who had a better opportunity, building a bridge that eventually led to a man’s conversion.

1) An unnamed girl. I am starting here on purpose.

2Ki 5:2 Now bands from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife.

Raiding parties from Aram (likely Syria) went in search of cattle and possibly small cities (city states) they could raid. In the process they took an Israeli girl captive. Because Naaman was the Commanding Officer of Aram’s Defense Force, he took the girl to be a servant for his wife. As we think of this, it could anger us because the girl was stolen from her family, likely never to see them again and her role of one of God’s children was now servitude. As you read this account, and see the story’s intent, you see that this was God’s plan because God was going to use this girl to be an agent in Naaman coming to faith in the One, True, Living God … Yahweh, The Lord who was God of Israel. For me what is so exciting is that this girl is not named. The reason is that all too often we can get puffed up when we are credited with some work or the other for the Lord. The sinful nature tricks us into wanting fame … yet the truth is that whatever we do we do out of thanksgiving for what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

2) A commanding officer. He was admired by the king … yet again we can see God at work without Naaman even realizing it!

2Ki 5:1 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. God enabled him to achieve a victory for his king and country even though they were not followers of the God of Israel. What I would like you to see is that even though he was “a valiant soldier” … he suffered with leprosy. It seems as though the king overlooked this disease because of his military skills. Coupled to this, leprosy was not considered unclean in Aram. He even went into the temple of the god Rimmon with his king to worship (v18). The point I want us to see here is that illness or even disease does not need to prevent God’s people working and even serving God. We have an elderly lady in our church who struggles with terrible body pains. The problem is such that it cannot be treated other than with anti-inflammatories and pain killers. She runs the Book Library in the church, the library in the old aged home and a knitting ministries making blankets and jerseys for disadvantaged children. Here is a lady moving towards 90, in terrible pain, yet still serving the Lord and people. What excuses do we make to prevent serving?

3) An evangelist in captivity. Now we start seeing how God’s plan starts coming together. Remember that God chose whom He would save before the creation of the world (Eph 1:4). During every age in every country, the chosen are brought into the sphere where they will hear or experience God in a saving way.

2Ki 5:3 She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

Here we see the young captive servant girl been used by God to bring about His plan. She is a godly girl. At no stage did she forget her God, religion or prophet (Elisha). As a woman and a slave she could not speak to her master so she speaks to his wife, her mistress. She is concerned for Naaman. Even though he was the commander in chief when she was taken captive, stolen from her parents and removed from country and place of worship, she had compassion for this man covered with a skin disease. With all her heart she believed in her God’s prophet and what God could do through him … so she encourages her mistress to speak to her husband. There might be times when we can’t get to speak to someone about Jesus directly but we can use the strategy this young girl used. We can talk to someone close to our intended Gospel target.

4) Naaman responds positively to the girl’s plea. His wife loved her husband and wanted him healed. She spoke to him about what the young girl had said and in turn he goes to his king.

2Ki 5:4 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.”

The king is favorable to Naaman’s request and strangely writes a letter to Israel’s king. Naaman leaves with many gifts. Are you seeing the chain reaction? God wants to save Naaman who is a leper. His men capture an Israeli girl who lands up working for his wife. She speaks to his wife about God’s servant, prophet Elisha whom she believes is able to cure him. His wife talks to him and he turns to the king who supports a visit to Israel, even writing a letter and most likely providing all the gifts he took with him. We are far from the end of the story, but consider the many links in the chain that brought you to faith in Jesus. Someone prayed for you. Another took you to church. Someone shared the Gospel with you. Another encouraged you until the Holy Spirit convinced and saved you.

O Lord, thank You for all those You used to bring me to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ even though I am not aware of them. Use me too. Amen.

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