Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Listening to a child

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 2 Kings 5:1-14*

TO CHEW ON: "And the Syrians had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman's wife. 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.'" 2 Kings 5:2,3


I love the unnamed little Israelite girl in this story. She gets past any resentment she may have felt at being captured and enslaved. She overcomes any fear or shyness she may have felt toward her mistress. It's her testimony of compassion and faith that gets this story started, and Naaman on the road to recovery.

In our time and place children are probably given a lot more credit and listened to more readily than were the youngsters (especially slave children) of Elisha's time. As parents, grandparents, teachers, and leaders, interaction with children is often a balancing act between training and disciplining them versus appreciating, doting on, and loving them.

The Bible tells stories of children who were obviously brought up well.
  • Samuel assisted Eli in the temple - 1 Samuel 2:18.
  • A boy alertly retrieved arrows for Jonathan prior to his secret meeting with David - 1 Samuel 20:36.
  • Joash was crowned king at seven - 2 Chronicles 24:1.
  • Jesus at twelve years was engrossed in fulfilling his destiny to be about His "'Father's business'" - Luke 2:49.
  • A lad gave his lunch to Jesus - John 6:9.

There are also Bible stories of children that imply failed training.
  • Elisha himself was the butt of a mocking gang of youths - 2 Kings 2:23.
  • The prophet Isaiah includes disrespectful children in his list of things that will oppress people - Isaiah 3:5.

Jesus' attitude toward children is a good one to study and imitate.
  • He invited them to come to Him and blessed them - Mark 10:14; Matthew 19:14.
  • He warned against causing them to stumble - Mark 9:42.
  • He appreciated and encouraged their praise as He recalled David's psalm about the potential of a child's words: "'Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants / You have perfected praise'" - Matthew 21:15,16, quoting: "Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants / You have ordained strength, / Because of Your enemies, / That you may silence the enemy and the avenger" Psalm 8:2.

Let's keep these things in mind as we relate to the children in our lives.

PRAYER:
Dear Father, thank You for the potential in each child. Help me to listen to and love well the children in my life. Amen.

*The reference given in the reading guide for July 5th is the same as yesterday's (2 Kings 2:1-18). I'm assuming this was a misprint and that the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5 was meant to be read in its entirety, as Part 2 of it is the reading for tomorrow, July 6. 
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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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