Posted here is the sermon delivered by Br. Nitish Patel at Borivali Assembly on 23 March, 2013.
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LITTLE PEOPLE OF THE BIBLE
Passage of Reference:2 Kings 5:1-5
1. HER CAPTIVITY
“And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid” (2 Kings 5:2)
The Hebrew word for “little” is Njq qatan kaw-tawn’ or Njq qaton kaw-tone‘
(Strongs 06996) meaning –
1) young, small, insignificant, unimportant
The word is also used of David when he was considered too young to be important compared to his older brothers …
“And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.” (1 Samuel 16:11)
She suffered a great tragedy as she was ripped away from her parents at such a young age and taken as a slave to a foreign land.She had to learn a new language and get used to new country, new customs, new food, new masters.She had to put up with all the false religion and idolatry around her.She must have been broken hearted and homesick missing her parents. We cannot understand the distress she must have gone through.
Her story is much like that of Joseph, who is more well known as the young boy was taken as a slave to Egypt at the age of 17 and eventually became the second ruler of Egypt. We do not read of any great exaltation for this girl.It seems that she learnt like Joseph to accept her circumstances as the will of God. God put her there for a reason so she could be a witness to the greatest military commander in Syria and bring him to the knowledge of the true and living God.
Paul was imprisoned but called himself a “prisoner of Jesus Christ” (Philemon v. 1). Paul spoke of the blessing that came from this imprisonment …
“But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12)
Truly, the same words could be said of this little girl … “The things that happened to her have fallen out to the furtherance of the gospel”
Practical application for ourselves … In life we sometimes suffer many reversals and great disappointments. For some believers ill health comes and their life is changed. They cannot do the things they once did. For others they are house bound and life becomes a misery.
Illustration: John Bunyan’s captivity
Illustration: The bedridden sister Austin of Lewisham
2. HER SERVICE
“and she waited on Naaman’s wife.” (v. 2)
The Hebrew word “waited” is paniym paw-neem’ pl. (but always as sing.) of an unused noun paneh paw-neh’
KJV – before 1137, face 390, presence 76, because 67, sight 40, countenance 30, from 27, person 21, upon 20, of 20, …me 18, against 17, …him 16, open 13, for 13, toward 9, misc 195; 2109
1a) face, faces
1b) presence, person
1c) face (of seraphim or cherubim)
1d) face (of animals)
1e) face, surface (of ground)
1f) as adv of loc/temp
1f1) before and behind, toward, in front of, forward, formerly, from beforetime, before
1g) with prep
1g1) in front of, before, to the front of, in the presence of, in the face of, at the face or front of, from the presence of, from before, from before the face of
She was in the presence of her mistress waiting on her instructions and obedient to her. Both this maid and Joseph are examples of what Paul and Peter wrote to the Christians who were slaves …
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:22-24)
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” (1 Peter 2:18)
Froward means crooked, perverse or unfair. See also Ephesians 6:5; 1 Timothy 6:1; Titus 2:9. The application for the believer today is clear. We are to be a good testimony in our work place if we work for others. Are we also serving the Lord in our assembly?
Illustration: Water instead wine
There is a story from the Middle East of four brothers who decided to have a feast. As wine was rather expensive, they concluded that each should bring an equal quantity and add it to the common supply. However, one of the brothers, thinking to escape the expense of such a contribution decided to bring water instead of wine. “It won’t be noticed,” he reasoned.
But at the feast when the wine was poured out it wasn’t wine at all. It was only water. Each of the four brothers had thought alike, “Let the others do it. Water is less expensive.”
We can ask the question, “If everyone in the assembly did what I am doing would there be any assembly left?”
3. HER WITNESS
“And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3)
We see her sympathy for her master’s plight. She bore no ill will against the man who had bought her as a slave. We see a forgiving heart in her that bore no grudge against the people who caused her so much distress.
Let us learn from this girl that we are to be a witness to the unbelievers we work for, who live next door to us, and who live around us of the sure and certain salvation that we have.
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” (Acts 11:19-21)
There are two words translated “preaching” in vv. 19 & 20. In v. 19, it is the Greek word laleo (Strongs 2980) meaning “to talk”. Here it was personal one to one witness of believers to their fellow Jews. In v. 20, it is the Greek word euggelizo (Strongs 2097) meaning to preach “as a herald”.
There was a PERSONAL witness and a PUBLIC witness. They witnessed in every place and to everyone.
“Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.” (Acts 17:17)
4. HER FAITH
“for he would recover him of his leprosy.” (v. 3)
She had never seen a leper cured but she believe Elisha was a prophet sent from God and that he would without any doubt in her mind would cure her master. Such great faith in such a little girl. Despite living in another country in an idolatrous land with few believers around, she maintained her faith in Jehovah her God. She is an example of what the Lord taught in Matthew 18:1-4 …
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-5
To enter the kingdom of heaven we need the simple faith of a little child and to become great in the kingdom of heaven we need the humility of a little child. Young people today go to university but sadly some do not take their faith with them. They seem to have a testimony until they are amongst a new company and they start forgetting the Word of God. Those who have gone to university and either backslidden or shown that they were not saved are in the legion.
Illustration: What I was asked by the parents of a girl of theirs who was going to university.
Some look for an assembly after they choose where they want to move to. Too late when there is no assembly near by!
5. HER TESTIMONY
“And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.” (2 Kings5:4)
She was believed. Her word was not dismissed as from someone who was just a child who believed in nonsense. It shows that she had a testimony. She was not known for telling lies or fabrications.
Paul could say …
“When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” (2 Thessalonians 1:10)
He had a testimony that was believed because his life backed up the message he preached.
Illustration: Sinful life closed his lips
A young man was working at an Alabama factory when he was thrown accidentally onto a red-hot armor plate. When he was rolled off by fellow workers, it was clear that he would probably not live. His workers cried, “Send for a doctor!” The young man, though, cried, “Never mind the doctor. Is there anyone here who can tell me how to be saved? I’m about to die without God—who can help me!?”
Although there were 300 men present, no one could tell him what he wanted to know. After twenty minutes of agony, he died.
Later, another young man told his tragic side of that story. He had been there, and he’d heard the desperate cries of the dying young man. Yet, he was paralyzed by his awareness of the unholy life he’d been living. He would say, “I have heard those cries ever since, and I wished I could have stooped down and pointed him to Jesus … but my life closed my lips.”
Has a sinful lifestyle “closed your lips,” making it impossible for you to share the Gospel with integrity, authority, or genuineness?
Source: “Proclaim,” 1980 #2, p. 37
6. HER REWARD
We would like to quote a scripture to say that Namaan set her free to go home to her parents or that he adopted her as his daughter and heir but the Bible is silent. We would think that Namaan now a saved man and cleansed of his leprosy must have greatly rewarded the girl whose witness saved his life. However, there is not doubt that the Lord will reward the girl who left such a sweet savour of Christ behind her.
Later in the story we read of wicked Gehazi who did not want to serve God to glorify Him. He wanted a reward and lied to get it from Naaman. He was punished by God …
“And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.” (2 Kings 5:26-27)
We feel that her reward is not mentioned to contrast her with Gehazi. What she did was out of love for her master and for the glory of God. What Gehazi did was for self and dishonoured God.