I don’t know the last time you read through some of those stories in the Kings and Chronicles in the Bible, but there’s some pretty interesting stuff in there. At a Bible study a few weeks ago, we talked about a story in 2 Kings 6 and 7. It goes something like this…
Israel’s capital, Samaria, is under a serious famine because they’ve been besieged by the army of Syria. It’s so bad that they’re selling dove dung as food for five shekels of silver, and even resorting to eating their own children. When the king hears about the cannibalism, he gets really upset and vows to kill the prophet Elisha. I’m not sure how killing a prophet is going to help the situation, but I guess when you get mad at God, you get bad at the people who work for Him.
Thankfully, the beheading is avoided, and there’s a civil conversation between Elisha and the king. The king says, “This disaster is from the Lord! Why should I wait on the Lord any longer?”
Elisha doesn’t argue. He just prophesies. “Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” Sounds a lot better than dove dung.
An officer who was with the king couldn’t hold back his reaction: “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened windows of heaven!” These were to be his famous last words, however, as Elisha also prophesied that he would see it happen, but he wouldn’t get to eat any of it.
Ok, so this is my favorite part of the story. There’s these lepers, and they get this brilliant idea to go surrender to the Syrian army and see if they can get some food. They figure that if they are killed, well, they were going to die anyway. But if the Syrians had mercy, then they could eat.
So they set out for the enemy camp at twilight, but when they arrive, the camp is empty! God had caused the Syrians to hear chariots and horses and they were convinced Israel had gathered reinforcements, so they’d fled, leaving everything behind.
But the lepers don’t know this. They just know they are really hungry. So they go from tent to eat, cramming food in as fast as they can, and grabbing silver and clothes while they’re at it. At some point there’s this awkward pause…crumbs falling out of their mouths, silver coins clinking to the floor. They look at each other, and somebody says, “We should probably tell them, huh?”
So they run back to the city and told the gatekeepers, who shout the news to the palace people, who wake up the skeptical king in the middle of the night. “It’s a trap,” he tells his officers, but he sends scouts and sure enough, the Syrian army has clearly run for their lives, leaving a trail of goods in their mad rush to escape.
Of course, everything happened just as Elisha said, including the demise of the officer who challenged God’s word–he was trampled at the gate when everyone rushed out to the Syrian camp for food.
I don’t know what word you need to hear in this story, but here are a few things to think about to get you started:
- Keep waiting on the Lord. Seek His help and His word in your hunger. He will come through.
- When God does speak into your life, believe Him. Otherwise you might miss out on His blessing.
- God uses us not just in spite of our weaknesses, but because of our weaknesses, and through our weaknesses.
- We have a responsibility to pass on the blessings God gives us.
Once or twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele and was sent to our volunteers on June 9, 2016.