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2 Kings 7:39, 1213, 1516acomment (0)

January 27, 2011

By Jay T. Robertson

Related Scripture: 2 Kings 7:39, 1213, 1516a

Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

2 Kings 7:3–9, 12–13, 15–16a

Realize God Is Always at Work (3–7)

The army of Syria besieged the city of Samaria. No explanation for this outbreak of hostilities is mentioned. A chokehold was placed on everyone who lived in the city, civilians and soldiers alike. The effect was gradual but after some time, there was a great famine in the city. Chaos mounted and as food supplies dwindled, profiteers took advantage of people’s desperation. Even virtually inedible things, normally discarded as trash, sold for exorbitant prices. Cannibalism even took place. The king, probably Jehoram, exploded in anger, not at Baal, the evil introduced into the nation by his parents or the evil hearts of people — but at Elisha. He declared he would have Elisha killed.  Elisha announced that by the next day at that time, quality food would be available at low prices. The king’s captain thought the man of God was out of his mind. But this was not the prediction of a man but the promise of a prophet speaking in the name of the Lord. Elisha then pronounced a judgment on the cynic: “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it” (2 Kings 7:2). During a famine, people on the edge of society such as lepers were the most vulnerable. They were not allowed to enter the city; if they did, then only death awaited them. If they remained outside, then they would be victims of famine or the first attacks of the enemy. Since they had nothing to lose, four lepers decided to defect to the Syrians. But God was at work for the good of His people. He caused the Syrians to hear the sound of a great army coming against them, and they fled, leaving all of their supplies behind. Remember that at times when it seems as if God is far from us, He will show Himself faithful to us.

Tell Others About It (8–9)
When the lepers reached the Syrian camp, they found it abandoned and a vast treasure trove available to them. They had no way of knowing what had happened, but they began to loot the tents and satisfy their hunger. But a guilty sense of responsibility came over them. “This is a day of good news,” they declared to one another. They had a responsibility to share this good news with the king. This news was not only good but it was also life-giving. They sensed a burden to share the news immediately. Out of a sense of moral rightness, these four men decided they must share their God-given good news with the suffering people inside the besieged city. We exist to spread a passion for God’s glory by making disciples of all nations. May God help us to long to see others respond to the good news of the gospel of Christ. The gospel is too precious to stop with you; it needs to spread through you to others who do not know Christ.

Urge Others to Check It Out (12–13)
The king greeted the report with skepticism, believing it to be a clever tactic of the Syrians. His unbelief was deep-seated and only an appeal by one of his servants could budge him. The king’s servant reasoned as the lepers did: We have nothing to lose. If we do nothing, then we will die. If the report is wrong, then the Syrians will kill the men. But if the report is right, then we all may live. We are to encourage others to check out the gospel. In order to be saved, a person must know the facts of the gospel, believe those facts are true, turn from sin and trust Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Jesus has commanded every Christ follower to make disciples. To be obedient, we must share the good news of Jesus Christ with the lost. We must not commit the sin of silence.

Share in the Joy (15–16a)
Two men were sent out to investigate. They discovered the evidence of the Syrians’ flight and followed it as far as the Jordan River (about 25 miles). Then they returned and reported to the king that the Syrian army had withdrawn. The story ends by emphasizing the fulfillment of God’s word through His prophet. The people of the famished city ran out and plundered the Syrians’ camp. Fortunes changed because four men refused to keep God-given good news to themselves. With whom will you share the good news of Jesus Christ?

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