THE SONG OF NAAMAN’S WIFE



Two kings, a prophet, and a man of war

Busied themselves because my little maid

Believed if only Naaman stood before

Elisha, his poor flesh that was decayed,

By which we all had been so long dismayed,

At once and ever after would be healed.

Why would opposing monarchs both be swayed

By a slave girl stolen from her father’s field?

The question should be asked, the answer not concealed.


How was this girl different from other girls?

What quality of hers impressed me much?

Was it her love, (of mimicry and curls,

Of pagan masters, animals, and such

As God put round her), love that made me clutch

At words she uttered almost without thought?

The idea that the prophet’s healing touch

Could cure the sores that made us all distraught,

Gave me a living hope, when I had long had naught.


O, plagues will come; but faith’s contagious too,

Able to change whoever catches it.

By faith our old dilemmas look so new

That even those who were inclined to quit

Will keep on going, rather than submit

To Doubt, and to her progeny Despair.

It’s hard for mighty masters to admit

That something so important and so rare

Is given to their servants, while they are unaware.


But there was something in my little maid:

How was she so good-natured and so sure?

She always thought that I should be obeyed;

She never had a doubt about the cure

Of leprosy she wanted to secure,

Because she saw it made me very sad.

Her love for me was real and so mature

(Though Syrians and pagans must be bad);

Her love was captivating, and it made me glad.


I loved my husband, knew that he was great;     5

It was so hard to watch him withering.

My little maid accepted her grim fate.

She mourned at first, but later she would sing

And try to make the best of everything.

She was so certain Naaman could be cured,

I had to send my husband to the king.

Though mockery might have to be endured,

We had to find out why she was so well assured.


As I of her, the king thought well of me:

What Naaman told him, he did not reject.

I laugh to think now of the way that we

Thought gold could gain the holy man’s respect.

Though our approach to him was incorrect,

And it was plain that we were enemies,

He sent this word: baptism can effect

The cure you need. (He knew it would displease

A man too arrogant to seek him on his knees.)


Life is a school, and in it God will teach

Us lessons we’d not gather on our own.

Because He knows that we are hard to reach,

He will repeat them till at last they’re known.

Our self-importance is so overblown

Our servants have to show us what we miss.

We would learn little if we were alone:

What we need most we often would dismiss.

Yet with our servants’ help, we find our way to bliss.


Naaman stormed off, because he was too proud

To heed the message that Elisha sent.

Thank God his serving men were not so cowed

That they their sage advice would not present.

After they helped their master to relent,

His flesh in Jordan seven times he dipped.

(For baptism no man can circumvent,

If by God’s healing power he’d be gripped.)

Blessed is he who with brave servants is equipped.


Our blessings, which are more than I can count,

We would have missed without our servants’ aid.

The thing to emphasize in our account

Is how they very bountifully repaid

Our kindness to them. They were not afraid

To teach us things we did not understand.

I wonder what great blessings have been stayed,

That might have dropped down from the Father’s hand,

Because proud men abuse the ones whom they command.


Children and servants ought to pay respect      10

To those who in the world are over them.

But those above them ought to recollect

That God’s their Father. If they would not stem

His blessings to them (and each one’s a gem),

Rather than being haughty, they’ll be mild

To faithful servants. God will not condemn

The merciful. Those who respect a child

Will in the end be those on whom the Lord has smiled.


My sisters in the Lord have made it clear

They’re honored to be ancestors of Christ,

But there are other honors that are dear,

By which our hearts are much more than sufficed.

However much we may have sacrificed,

The blessings we’ve been given by the Lord

Could never be considered overpriced.

As you study what the Scriptures here record,

Come celebrate with me my glorious reward.


For leprosy in Scripture stands for sin:

In Jordan Naaman’s sins were washed away;

What brought him to the end of his chagrin?

My faith in what I heard the maiden say.

And are there not as many men today

Who’re brave and strong and have accomplished much,

And yet because of sin they’ve lost their way,

And though they think religion is a crutch,

The thing they really need is Jordan’s healing touch?


So God made me the mother of all those

Who help their husbands find what they need most.

How it will happen, really no one knows;

But whether he’s the captain of the host,

Or with his corporation is engrossed,

Somehow his spouse plays an essential role,

Cooperating with the Holy Ghost.

He in His mercy saves her husband’s soul,

Despite his ignorance of how he could be whole.


She may do little; she may do a lot;                              14

But as she knows her husband’s deepest need,

Before the Lord he will not be forgot.

For she has understood and has agreed,

Long as she lives, that she will intercede

For him, though he is skeptical or wild.

So as she learns to be a spouse indeed,

She’s incorporated in the Bride so mild

That with a mother’s heart She listens to a child.

                     









Notes:


The Song of Naaman’s Wife: II Kings 5:1-19.


Stanza 2: words she uttered almost without thought, II Kings 5:3.


Stanza 12: leprosy in Scripture stands for sin, “[The] plague of leprosy . . . This was an emblem of sin, and the corruption of nature, which is an uncleanness, and with which every man is defiled, and which renders him infectious, nauseous, and abominable; and of which he is only to be cured and cleansed by Christ, the great High-priest, though his blood, which cleanses from all sin.” John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the Old Testament (A. D. 1755), commentary on Leviticus 13:3.

           In Jordan Naaman’s sins were washed away, II Kings 5:10-14.

 
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