I’ve been told that you can never read the Bible too many times. And now I’m starting to believe that that’s true. Our view and understanding of verses or stories can change with our moods. You may read a story one day and learn one lesson from it, but then you could read the same story the next day and get something totally different out of it. And that’s what happened to me yesterday.
My pastor recently (within the last few months) went through a sermon series about Naaman the Syrian. He was the commander of the king’s army, and his life was going pretty well for him. He just had one problem–he was a leper. He had the disease of leprosy.
My pastor of course went through the story, and by the end of the series I was pretty confident that I could tell it myself, not leaving out a single detail. I had read all the verses, I had listened to my pastor’s every word. But last night I noticed something that I hadn’t before.
I was at an American Heritage Girl’s meeting and our troop shepherd was reading the weekly devotional (we’re going through a children’s book about the “princesses” of the Bible). Last night, it was about Naaman’s young servant girl, who he had captured on one of his raids. Basically, she tells his wife that he should go see Elisha if he wants to be healed. II Kings 5:3 says this–“Then she said to her mistress, ‘If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” Naaman’s wife forwarded that message onto him, and he listened to her.
But when he got to the prophet’s house, he wasn’t greeted by Elisha. Elisha sent his servant to open the door, which must’ve agitated Naaman because he had traveled so far just to see this man. The servant told him to go wash in the Jordan seven times, although verses 11-12 tell us that Naaman wasn’t too happy with that command. Verse 13 tells us that it’s his servants that end up convincing him to listen. And as we know, he did end up obeying and was healed of his leprosy.
As the leader was reading the story to us last night, I noticed how many times the word “servant” was said. And then I realized that that’s because there are a lot of servants involved in this story–the young servant girl, Elisha’s servant, and Naaman’s other servants. The servants–although often viewed as less important because of their position–are very important to this story.
I hadn’t noticed that before, back when I was listening to the sermons in church. The servants were important. Jesus showed his disciples that they were to serve others by getting on his knees and washing their feet. He said that even He had come not to be served but to serve. He said the “last shall be first.” I find the significance of the servants in Naaman’s story very interesting.
So just as I saw with this story, there’s always something new to learn from the Bible or something that you hadn’t picked up on the previous time. Even common stories such as Noah’s ark or Daniel in the lion’s den can teach you something new. I encourage you to read the Bible intently, asking God to reveal to you what He wants you to see today. There’s always something new to learn.