The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), June 16

UnknownToday’s reading covers a story set in motion by a testimony that impacts a general’s wife, a general, two kings, a prophet, and the prophet’s servant. The participants:

  • The testifier, an “unnamed” servant girl, expresses faith in the God of Israel to her mistress even in captivity.
  • A mistress who acts on a servant girl’s testimony and expresses hope of healing to her leprous husband.
  • A Syrian general with leprosy, who hopes for healing and petitions his king to call for Israel’s prophet.
  • The king of Israel, who lacks faith in God and panics when called upon to introduce the Syrian general to Israel’s prophet.
  • A prophet of Israel who fears God more than he fears man.
  • A servant of the prophet of Israel, who entertains a low view of God and a coveting heart.

A simple testimony by a young servant girl to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy,” converges the lives of all these people (2 Kings 5:3). The servant girl’s bold faith energizes her mistress to tell her husband about Israel’s prophet, who informs his king about Israel’s prophet, who informs Israel’s king, who calls for Elisha, who sends his servant. The domino effect of one testimony!

Several significant truths about proclamation and faith emerge from this story:

  • The servant girl’s work ethic gives a compelling edge to her testimony, and her bold declaration attracts the attention of her mistress. Being in captivity doesn’t dampen the servant girl’s faith in the God of Israel. Bitterness over her “undeserved” captivity is noticeably absent; therefore, nothing in the servant girl’s life discolors her testimony.
  • Without proclamation no one comes to faith. This story reveals the Galatians 3:5 truth, “Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”; the Romans 10:17 truth, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;” and the Hebrews 4:2 truth, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them: but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” A person may hear without responding in faith, but no man can express faith in the absence of proclamation.

Elisha’s servant demonstrates that anyone can live in the shadow of a great prophet and totally miss God. The servant girl lives in captivity; yet she holds a high view of God. Elisha’s servant sees the LORD perform the miraculous; yet he thinks his deception and misrepresentation of God will evade His notice.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading(2 Kings 5:1-8:15):
What do Elisha’s strange instructions to Naaman require of Namaan? In what other stories have we seen God require someone to do something unusual before He acts?
Review Isaiah 55:8-9. What does Naaman’s story reveal about God?
What has Gehazi failed to understand about God during the years that he served Elisha? How does his service to Elisha compare to that of Elisha’s service to Elijah?
What does the king of Israel reveal about himself to the woman on the wall during the famine? Yet, who does he blame for the famine?
What does the lepers’ discovery of the vacant Syrian camp reveal about human nature?
What does the story about the woman from Shunem reveal about God and providence?

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