The House of Rimmon

Naaman was a great man in Syria. He had led the king's hosts to victory, and was a valorous man, a man of honor, too, and was rightfully honored by king and country. We remember the story of his healing through the ministry of Elisha, whereby he learned true humility—"and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean." His whole thought was changed by this experience. "And he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel." He resolved also that he would no more offer sacrifice to other gods. But there was a ceremony he must go through which he explained thus: "In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing."

Paul makes a clear statement regarding idolatry in his time, saying, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one." He had already stated the individual relationship of man to God in saying, "But if any man love God, the same is known of him." Applying this to a present day problem, one may see that if any man love God he is necessarily protected by God's love, and even if human belief peoples earth, water, and wind with malevolent agencies, "though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth," yet to the enlightened mind "there is but one God, the Father." Fear then is reduced to nothingness by every clear recognition that all power belongs to God, and "God is love."

Naaman, the soldier, through the healing of his incurable disease, came to know the one God; and the psalmist must have experienced healing who could say: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." To-day these words can be uttered in truth and gratitude by a great host. Many of them are soldiers, who, like Naaman, find that to be in obedience as the soldier is required to be they must take part in some meaningless ceremonies—he to accompany his master through the rites in the temple of Rimmon, they to submit their bodies to medical rites less cleanly, involving vaccinations and inoculations.

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Light and Gladness
May 18, 1918

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