The Servant Girl: Part 6 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this fourteen-week Bible study based on Girls’ Love Letters from God. If you have time, you may wish to keep a journal to record your responses to the questions. Please DO leave comments, responses or questions on this post so that we can learn from and encourage one another.

The Servant Girl

Read 2 Kings 5:1-16

Last week I saw an amazing movie called Hidden Figures. If you haven’t seen it yet, GO. It tells the untold true story of three brilliant African-American women, who served as the brains behind one of NASA’s greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The film’s tag-line is:

Meet The Women You Don’t Know. Behind The Mission You Do.

Our Bible heroine for this week is also a hidden figure. She is largely unknown. We don’t even know her name. We’ll find her with a broom in her hand, sweeping floors, preparing meals, making beds, serving quietly in the household of the commander of the Syrian army. But this quiet, unassuming, insignificant girl has the power to change lives.

 

Imagine for a moment, if you can, what life had held so far for this young Jewish girl.

Let’s assume she’d been happily living in Israel with her family until one day, a dreadful event occurs. A band of Syrian forces descends on her village, and our little girl is carried off to a foreign country, where she becomes a servant, a refugee in the home of the commander of the army.

How awful! I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that if it was me in that situation, this is how I’d react:

I would be distraught, disheartened and downright devastated.

I would cry myself to sleep every single night.

If I was brave enough, I might try to run away.

I would probably lose all my faith.

I’m almost certain I would rant and rave at God.

I would plead, why me?

And I would, without doubt, hate, loathe and detest my master.

And remember, I’m a grown woman. This is a young girl we’re talking about. But instead of doing all those things, it seems that she does the exact opposite…

Naaman’s servant girl seems to be calm, sensible, hard-working and compassionate. You could flip through her story several times and nowhere would you find the slightest whiff of self-pity.

In fact, instead of feeling sorry for herself, this young girl feels sorry for her master, the one responsible for her captivity, who happens to suffer from leprosy.

This is a girl who knows God, trusts God, is not afraid to talk about God, and who has absolute faith that God is the one who can heal her master of his skin disease. She bravely approaches her mistress with words of wisdom and says:

I wish that my master could go to the prophet who lives in Samaria! He would cure him of his disease.  2 Kings 5:3

Did you hear the conviction in this girl’s voice? She doesn’t say maybe Elisha can cure her master, or perhaps, but: He would cure him of his disease.

And that is exactly what happened. Not only does Naaman find the cure for his leprosy, but he also finds the only One who could have delivered him from it. We can almost hear the awe in his voice, as he looks down to examine his perfect skin and exclaims:

Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel! 2 Kings 5:15

How wonderful! This little servant girl, who was so ready to share her faith, is the means by which Naaman, the commander of the entire Syrian army, came to know God.

We don’t know what Naaman did with his discovery, but we can be sure that whenever he was asked about his leprosy and the cure, he must have talked about God.

Think, for a moment, about the people whose lives must have been impacted because of this servant girl, and her faith in God.

Naaman was forever changed, and those who heard his story were changed too: his wife; the other servants living in their home; the people in their village; Naaman’s extended family; the soldiers in his army; their families; the kings Naaman met with in neighboring countries… the list could go on and on.

The influence of Naaman’s servant girl spread far beyond the home where she quietly cooked and cleaned. Her influence spread into the world.

She was a hidden figure. As a young servant girl, she had no authority, the least power, and the most lowly position.

Yet, in the hands of God, she had the power to impact the world. And she did.

Prayer:

The following prayer is known as The Peace PrayerPenned by St. Francis in the thirteenth century, its words perfectly describe the attributes of Naaman’s servant girl.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

Amen.

Your Turn:

Please share your response to one of these questions in the comments. 

Questions for Reflection

  • What impresses you most about this story?
  • If you could have a conversation with Naaman’s servant girl, what would you ask her?
  • When have you felt insignificant? How could this story encourage you?
  • Think of someone you know who could be described as a hidden figure. How could you encourage or empower them?

Going Deeper

In 1944, less than one year before her death, another young girl, by the name of Anne Frank, wrote:

It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.

Compare her story with that of Naaman’s servant girl. What similarities do you find?

12 thoughts on “The Servant Girl: Part 6 in a Fourteen-Week Bible Study for Women

  1. Mary Jane

    I think that depending on how and by whom I had been raised would determine how I would react. I am grateful for my parents and the faith they introduced in my life. Maybe it was the German background, but it is a determination to survive even though certainly without wealth or prestige. My best friend in school was from a wealthy family and she loved the warm milk straight from the cow at my place and I loved the cold milk straight from the refrigerator at her home. I feel blessed for the home in which I was born and raised.
    I would ask her, Naaman’s servant girl that is, if she was thankful to be a servant girl because it sure seems like she went along with her situation with faith and grace, not wishing for a better life.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      That would be a great question to ask her Mary Jane! I was also thinking that she must have been raised in a very strong, faithful household to react the way she did. I’m sure your German background has stood you in good stead!

      Reply
  2. Judy

    Behind the scenes, hope still reigns! Either in this world or the next. The servent girl’s faith quietly lead her to share, with two sentences, what makes her strong. Let us lift His name up also at every opportunity!

    Reply
  3. Lori

    The hidden figures I thought of are moms. We love, encourage, teach, and believe in our children when the chips are up and when they are down. We can never love as fully as God but He is our example. He has instilled the traits of caring and helping in us.
    How can I encourage? To continue my walk with God and be an example to other moms -women to know and walk with God in faith. When it is easy and when it is hard. Naaman had an easy answer but without the encouragement of his friends he was going to walk away. How sad that would have been for him.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      You’re right Lori…how sad it would have been if he had missed out on God’s healing, as well as the knowledge that God is the only true God. I love it that you thought of other moms as hidden figures and, by your example, are encouraging them. Thank you for faithfully commenting here.

      Reply
  4. Natalie

    Well… I feel like a hidden figure, and not to come off sounding pompous of course.

    I try, I try to encourage those around me without the harsh echos and hard love that some people fighting their own demons need in order to conquer their fears.

    I’m okay though being that hidden figure, knowing that I am cherished by those close to me. That is enough for me.
    (this may not be the answers to your questions…)

    Reply
  5. Pauline Smith

    I would want to ask the servant girl how she knew about Elisha. Had she met him previously or had she just heard of him. She must have known about the miracles he had performed and perhaps Elijah too before him. I guess she would have been brought up in the faith and she knew Elisha was a prophet of the one true God and that Naaman needed spiritual healing, not just the curing of his physical disease.

    Reply
  6. Carol Ashcroft

    What impresses me about this story? I am familiar with it for starters! I have read and pondered this text thanks to a book that encourages “writing back” to scripture. This passage was the first exercise. Your beautiful “hidden figure” has such a grown up faith doesn’t she? You wonder what her upbringing at home was like to generate that faith and trust. For me, however, the striking part of this story is a few things (more from the Naaman angle): 1. God can restore any way He wants to: through a servant girl, an enemy land, a dirty river. His miracles grab our attention and lead to acknowledging it HAD to be from God because it is too incredible to believe it could have happened any other way. 2. We think we know better how things should be done-we fight, we doubt, we question. Healing requires humbling ourselves and opening our hearts. and 3) Healing is for all-God doesn’t distinguish what “land” you are from.

    Reply
    1. Glenys Post author

      Ooh…what wonderful thoughts Carol! I love the thought that God can restore us however, and through whoever. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Reply

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