Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, please let there be given to your servant two mule loads of earth, for from now on your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord. In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, leaning on my arm, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon your servant in this matter.” He said to him, “Go in peace.” II Kings 5:15-19a ESV
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice. Isaiah 42:1-3 ESV
There’s a Greek story about a man and a woman named Pyramus and Thisbe. They lived next to each other, and their houses shared a wall. But their parents were enemies, and they weren’t allowed to be together. Even though Pyramus and Thisbe were in love, they had to keep their love a secret. They could whisper to each other through the wall of their house, and they could sneak out of their homes to meet each other. But they were afraid to openly tell their parents that they were in love with each other and wanted to get married, because they knew how angry their parents would be.
Sometimes God’s people face difficulties if they openly worship the Lord. Naaman had that problem. After God healed him of his leprosy, he knew that there was no other God in the world, and he promised that he wouldn’t worship any false god again. But he was a high official of the king of Syria, and his king worshiped the god Rimmon. When the king went to Rimmon’s temple and bowed in worship, he leaned on Naaman’s arm. Naaman was afraid of making his king angry if he didn’t also bow to Rimmon. He asked Elisha to ask God to forgive him for doing that. Elisha reassured Naaman that the Lord would understand and forgive him.
We are also sometimes afraid to let people know that we love and worship the Lord. We might be afraid that people will think that we’re weird or stupid or just not cool. There are places in the world where people might be put in jail or even lose their lives if others know they are Christians. God’s people sometimes keep their love for him a fearful secret. God understands his people’s weakness and fear. He loves and forgives us because of what Jesus did on the cross for all of us. God sends us his Holy Spirit to give us strength and courage, so that we have the bravery to be able to share his love more and more. We can trust that God will take care of us and help us when we tell others about him.
Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for being weak and afraid. Please give us more strength and courage to share your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.