Monday, March 13, 2023
The Servant Girl Speaks Out in Faith, 2 Kings 5
A number of years ago, during our bedtime routine reading, my daughter and I read the juvenile fiction book “Adara”, which she found in the Grace Lutheran Stinson Library. “Adara” is written by Beatrice Gormley and is based on the Old Testament Bible story of Naaman and Elisha found in 2 Kings, chapter 5. I was not familiar with this Bible story, but it became one of my favorites after reading this book. The book “Adara” is a fictional account based on the story of the great commander of a king’s army who was healed of leprosy by the prophet Elisha. “Adara” is told from the point of view of the servant girl who suggested Naaman go to see Elisha to be healed. The only part of scripture that mentions the girl is:
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.”
Naaman went to his master and told him what the girl from Israel had said.
The girl is never mentioned by name, but apparently this passage captured the imagination of Beatrice Gormley who wrote a novel about the girl beginning on the day of her life when she was apprehended and put into slavery. As I think about this girl I realize how she could have been full of hate and spite for the people who were holding her in servitude. Instead, she decided to try and save Namaan’s life. She also could have decided not to say anything to her mistress, as she must have known that she might be punished for speaking out. And what incredible faith she had in the healing powers of Elisha, for if he had not healed her master, she could have been held accountable for the waste of money for the trip and the humiliation, etc. The fact that this powerful army captain was listening to the advice of a girl, nonetheless a servant girl, is quite unusual too. A lot of questions exist about this passage. Beatrice Gormley must have had these questions too and decided to weave a story around how this could have happened. Reading the story has made the passage memorable for me and relatable for my daughter.
Clearly FAITH is central in this story. The faith of the servant girl and the faith of General Naaman to listen to her and to make the journey to Israel to see Elisha. I urge you to read the entire chapter 5 of 2 Kings. In addition to faith being central in this story, you will also read about the pride of General Namaan and how again listening to his servants and humbling himself allowed him to receive healing.
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The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.