Sunday service, Kjell Olsen, 10 April 2016
2Kings 7:3 “Why sit we here till we die?”
One expects Kings to be full of the glory and pomp of world leaders. Instead we find 4 beggars. If you removed all the stories of suffering, broken people there wouldn’t be much left in the Bible.
Syria had surrounded the city and there seemed no hope. A donkey’s head was sold for 2 pounds of silver and dove dung fetched a high price. Cannibalism had started. The famine in the city matched the famine of faith.
Consider the plight of the lepers. Their condition was worse than in the city. They lived off scraps thrown over the wall but even these had stopped. Lepers were to shout “unclean, unclean” if they got within 3 metres of anyone. They were rejected, starving and dying.
Our condition in sin is even worse. Separated from God, defiled by sin and dying an eternal death. “Without hope in this world”, see Ephesians 2:12.
Elisah was blamed for their plight. We read in 2Ki 6:31 and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.” But Elisha, instead of attacking the unbelieving king promised God’s grace and that within 24 hours food will be abundant and prices normal. The closest advisor to the king refused to believe, and even mocked that God Himself couldn’t do it if He opened the windows of heaven.
Back to the lepers – blessed are the desperate! Many are as outcasts and hopeless but don’t see their need. However, these 4 felt their need intensely. They had 3 choices: go back into the city, Samaria, where there was no help and they would be rejected. So too the world offers nothing, even the education and entertainment of this world is empty. Secondly they could sit where they were and die a miserable death, or thirdly, plead for mercy from the enemy, which they also did. We read in Rom 5:10, “… when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…”. Christ died for us while we were His enemies. And so we can go to Him and plead for mercy and receive pardon and reconciliation.
There are many ways to die but only one way to be saved – move towards God. Stop sitting there mourning that nothing works. God’s love, mercy and abundance are waiting for us. “He that comes unto Me I will in no wise cast out” [John 6:37].
When they got to the enemy camp, there was no sentry to stop them. Just silence. There was enough food, clothing and goods for a 100,000 man army, for many days, since they were laying siege to Samaria.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” [Psalm 23:4-5].
As they plundered the Syrian camp they enjoyed abundance but then felt guilty of having it all to themselves. They could have said “We are outcasts, why share?”, but didn’t and went and told it in the city.
At first the king thought it to be a conspiracy by the Syrians so that they could get into the city. But when they went, they found it to be as the lepers said. There was food, gold, silver, freedom from fear in abundance.
A few more thoughts: the city was rescued and there was food in abundance that night even before they knew it. The watchmen watched in vain for the enemy for God had chased them away. Perhaps you mourn your predicament and bondage. Yet God has done the work, chased the enemy away and provided more than you need. God stepped in when His people had come to the utter end of their resources. He can raise from the dungeon to the palace (Genesis 41:14; Daniel 6:23-28); can make men ready to worship one whom a moment before they denounced as a murderer (Acts 28:3-6); can “set on thrones” those who have been treated as “the offscouring of all things” (1 Corinthians 4:14).
We also note that the king’s closest advisor was warned but did not repent. He saw with his own eyes what Elisha said, but did not enjoy it, as he was trampled in the stampede.
Telephone to glory