THE SUPERNATURAL POWER OF LOYALTY

The redemptive grace of loyalty is so powerful it can literally infuse any situation with healing and miraculous blessings. Any force that powerful, however, cannot be violated without dire consequences. There are few virtues in the kingdom more honored by God than loyalty. Absalom's doom was sealed by his disloyalty to David, but David's loyalty to an unworthy Saul confirmed his destiny for the throne.

In the household of Naaman, a Syrian general, there lived a young Jewish slave girl. She had been captured by a Syrian raiding party. Plucked from the bosom of her family, alone in a foreign land, she served as a personal body slave to Naaman's wife, hardly a circumstance to inspire loyalty. Even the most outwardly obedient slave might murder his master mentally. Yet this little girl chose to be loyal with her whole heart. Somehow her family in Israel had deeply instilled loyalty in her character at a tender age. Now a slave in Syria, her well-shaped character found genuine concern for the one who owned her just as he owned his horse.

When Naaman contracted leprosy, the slave girl told her mistress, "Would God my lord were with the prophet [Elisha] that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy" (2 Kings 5:3).

Amazing! She sent him who held her captive to her home country, where she surely longed to be. She sent him to be set free of his disease, though he held her in slavery. She genuinely wanted Naaman to be healed, and he was. The miracle that Naaman received by the ministry of Elisha never would have happened without that slave girl's unlikely loyalty.

Grateful for the miraculous healing, Naaman offered Elisha a substantial reward, which Elisha declined. Elisha's servant and understudy, Gehazi, shook his head in amazement. The Syrian had been miraculously healed! Why shouldn't Elisha be blessed? Gehazi reasoned in his heart. Do not muzzle the ox, he thought to himself.

Elisha refused the luxurious gifts of the Syrian, but Gehazi would not. He waited until Naaman was out of Elisha's sight, and then he raced after the foreign general. Elisha had changed his mind, Gehazi explained to the Syrian. Two visiting prophets had arrived, and Elisha would now be happy to accept some gifts after all. Naaman was only too delighted to give.

Elisha, however, discerned the deception and struck the hapless Gehazi with leprosy. In other words, if Gehazi wanted the Syrian's money, then by all means he should have the Syrian's disease as well.

The greed of Gehazi is obvious. The subtler issue of disloyalty is more easily overlooked. For personal gain he misrepresented his employer's motives. Acting out of self-interest, he denied his superior's nobility, goals, purpose and will. What an ironic contrast!

A slave girl's character and loyalty brought miraculous healing and blessing, while the disloyalty of a prophet in training brought scandal, disease and death. Loyalty is a gemstone virtue whose luster, in a golden setting of faithfulness, brings glory to God and health to all it touches.

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Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

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