I know some of you think the God of the Old Testament is vengeful, while the God of the New is loving and forgiving. Any truth to this? None whatsoever! Merely look in your concordance to find how many times the word ‘love’ appears in both Testaments of your Bible. You will discover, as I did, that ‘love’ can be found in many more verses in the Old than the New. Check it out! Not two but one God consistently loving, just, holy and compassionate.
In 2 Kings 5 we have a fine example of God’s mercy and love. In the Old Testament, no less! Naaman, commander of the military forces of the nation of Aram, contracts a dreaded skin disease. His Israelite servant-girl urges him to see the prophet Elisha, who would pray to Yahweh God for healing
Aram rarely gets along with Israel. They worship Baal, a false god here named Rimmon. Naaman comes for healing and Elisha prays for him, dipping him seven times into the River Jordan. He’s healed! He says, ‘Now I know that there is no god in all the world except in Israel (v.15). He becomes a believer in Yahweh God…in Him alone.
I’m floored by verses 17-19–by the sensitivity and understanding of our God, especially knowing the difficulties of following Him in a hostile world. Naaman faces a huge problem which he can’t shake. One of his responsibilities as commander of the King’s army is to escort the King into the temple of Baal with him leaning on Naaman’s shoulder as they bow in reverence and worship to Baal. To this false god?
Poor Naaman. Such an unexpected twist. He only wants to worship and follow the true God, but what can he do? ‘Please Elisha– pray to Yahweh God explaining my dilemma.’ Does God understand when we get into similar binds? Places we don’t want to be? Stuck between the Rock and a hard place? The plight of the persecuted church today.
Not them alone. What can we do? Pour our hearts out to God. He understands more than we realize. He knows all about it. No surprises for Him. Yes, stand your ground, but when in an impossible place, run to God. He will cover you with His grace, mercy and peace. What did Elisha say to Naaman? ‘Go in peace’ (v.19). God knows. He understands. Let God comfort you with His peace… and especially His love.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for understanding us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.