2 Kings 7:3-11
It is difficult for us to imagine the plight of the Samaritans in this story. The Arameans had been surrounding the city for so long that there was no food left. The people were so hungry that they had actually resorted to eating their own children! To have lived in the city of Samaria seems like it must have been the absolute lowest place a person could get in life. Yet, there was something even lower. You could have been a leper in the city of Samaria during the siege. Now that was the lowest of low positions!
As we track with the story of these four hopeless, yet courageously desperate lepers, let’s draw an analogy to this tale. Imagine that the city of Samaria represents humanity and that the surrounding camp of the Arameans represents sin. Because of the fall, sin has surrounded the city of man and has cut it off from its source of food and water; the life-giving relationship with God for which it was created. The effects of sin are morbid, leading humanity to cannibalism and self-destruction. Can you create the analogy in your mind?
Now, here we have four hopeless lepers. They realize that they are in a lose/lose situation. If they stay at the city gate they will die. (After all, no one even wanted them when times were good.) If they go into the enemy camp they will be killed. Yet, if they go into the enemy camp there might be the outside chance of a last meal. They reason that it would be better to be shot at dawn on a full stomach than to die a miserable death of starvation at the city gate. So, they make a courageous move and walk into the enemy camp.
Lo, and behold, what do they find? God had done a miracle. God has driven the enemy out of the camp and removed the threat from the city. No longer was the enemy cutting off the food lines. They were gone. Not only were they gone, but they had left behind food and riches to boot.
Imagine their feeling in that moment. Here are four of the lowest of the low, men who had been treated as sub-human their whole life, now sitting in the lap of luxury and feasting like kings!
How would you have felt in that moment? What would have been your attitude toward the Samaritans? It would have been very easy for the lepers to have thought to themselves, “Finally, we get sweet revenge. All these years the Samaritans have cast us aside and gloated in their bounty. Now it’s payback time. Now we have the bounty and they are suffering. They are getting what they deserve. Let them rot!”
What did the lepers actually say? They realized that they had “good news” for the dying citizens of Samaria. They were convicted that it was wrong to sit around, enjoying the bounty of God’s blessing, while the city lie sick and dying. They had to go back and announce the good news to their fellow citizens.
Now let’s return to our analogy. If Samaria represents the condition of humanity being ravaged by sin, and if the Aramean camp represents sin itself encircling humanity, then we are the lepers. As followers of Jesus we have entered into the truth that God has miraculously defeated the enemy, by no merit of our own, and has made the bounty of life with Him available to all who would enter into it. We are sitting at the table of God’s blessing, feasting in a peaceful and bountiful, life-giving relationship with Him. How does it feel?
Now, how do you feel about the rest of the people who are still in the city, starving to death? Do you think, “Hey, I found this on my own, they can find it on their own as well,” or, “those sinners deserve what they are getting.” Hopefully, you will become as convicted as the lepers and realize that it is not right to sit and enjoy this bounty, hording it for yourself, while others are perishing in ignorance. You have good news to share. You have tasted the Kingdom of God, and you have what they need…the bread of life.
The question is; what are you doing with it? Who do you know that is starving to death both physically and spiritually? Are you praying for them? Are you being the Kingdom of God in their lives through word and action? Are you being authentically intentional with your conversations with them, trying to open the door for God?
Let’s pray today that we would have the attitude of the lepers and shout to the city, “We have ‘good news’ for you!! Taste and see that the Lord is good!”