Daily Lesson for Monday 27th of November 2023
Christ died for all, regardless of their background, wealth, ethnicity, or status. God ceaselessly draws all humanity to Himself, incuding those individuals classed among the powerful non-Christians of the world (see Ellen G. White, The Acts of Apostles, p. 416).
Read 2 Kings 5:1-19. What can we take from this story about reaching people for the Lord?
In 2 Kings 5:17-19, Naaman made two unusual requests after God healed him of leprosy. First, he asked to take two mule-loads of earth from Israel back to Syria for the purpose of worshiping the living God. He states, “For your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to the other gods, but to the Lord” (2 Kings 5:17, NKJV). Though Naaman is clearly now a believer in the only true God, his first request shows that pagan influences still held sway over his thinking to a degree. The Syrian commander regarded the God of Israel as a divinity who must be venerated on soil native to that land. Although Naaman acknowledged the reality that there was no God aside from the Lord of Israel, he had not whollly dispossessed himself of the notion that God was, by some particular means, connected to the land of Israel. Thus, in his own country he desired to worship God on Israelite soil.
Naaman’s second petition shows the sincerity of his faith. While he resolved to serve only the God of heaven, he realized carrying out such a reso-lution in his own idolatrous country wouldn’t be easy. Moverover, the king of Syria still worshiped the god Rimmon, and in this occupation Naaman would serve as the king’s escort. While Naaman had no intention of forsaking his duties to his earthly king, he did not wish to be deemed as bowing in worship to Rimmon. Having surrendered his heart to Jehovah, Naaman desired not to make any concessions to idolatry by worshiping the heathen god. Nor did he want word to get back to Elisha that he was doing so.
Elisha responded to Naaman’s entreaty by saying “Go in peace” (2 Kings 5:19, NKJV). “These words must not be thought of as either expressing approval or disapproval of Naaman’s parting request. He was to depart in peace, not in doubt or restless uncertainty. God had been kind to him, and he was to find happiness and peace in his knowledge and worship of God. Naaman was a new convert, a man with conscientious scruples, who would grow in strength and wisdom if he clung to his new-found faith. God leads new converts on step by step, and knows the appropriate moment in which to call for a reform in a certain matter. This principle ought always to be borne in mind by those who labor for the salvation of souls.”—The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 878.
What lessons should we learn from this story about not pushing people too quickly, especially those who come from a non-Christian background?