Monday, March 5, 2012

The Sound Of Victory

In 2 Kings 6 we see a desperate situation. Israel was ruled by Ahab’s wicked son Joram. Most of the godly Israelis had emigrated to the southern kingdom of Judah, to the righteous kings Asa and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 15:9). At the time of Elijah and Ahab’s showdown, there were only 7,000 godly people in the entire country of Israel. Fast forward about twenty years and things hadn’t changed much. The natural son of Ahab - Joram - and the spiritual son of Elijah - Elisha - were still locked in a battle for the hearts of God’s people.

Because of Israel’s backslidden condition, God had begun to allow other nations to begin swallowing them up. The nation of Syria was one of them, and in 2 Kings 6 they had laid siege on the capital city of Samaria. Still, God goal was reconciliation, not retribution. His desire was that his wayward people would return to Him. But the more they refused, the more desperate their situation became.
Food was scarce in Samaria. The Syrian army closed around the city like a clamp. No one could come or go. But God was about to make a power-play to wake his people up!

As it always does, God’s Word came first. Elisha prophesied that within 24 hours everything would change. Food would be so plentiful that any amount of money would buy it. No one believed him though, and no one moved.

Outside the city, sat four lepers. If the people inside the city had it bad, can you imagine life for a leper at that time? These were throwaway people. They weren’t allowed inside the city, and who would give precious food to someone who was just going to die anyway? If the word to describe conditions inside Samaria was desperate, the word for these four lepers would be hopeless.

The very evening that Elisha prophesied, these four lepers decided to do something about their situation. They said, “Why should we stay here and die? If we go back into the city, we’ll die; if we stay here we’ll die. Let’s go to the Syrians. If they have pity on us, we’ll live. If they kill us, we’ll die quickly at least.

So they got up at twilight, as the sun was setting and went to the Syrian camp. When they got there, things weren’t at all like they were expecting. No one was in sight! Not one soldier, not a man or woman anywhere! Every tent they entered was deserted! Not one Syrian was in the entire area! But...all their stuff was! The four lepers cleared out one tent, taking all that stuff and hiding it. Then they came back and did it again!

On their third trip back, they realized that they weren’t exactly doing the right thing. All of Samaria was starving to death, and they were hoarding the abandoned supplies. So they went and told the king in Samaria. Within hours of when the lepers told King Joram, the markets in Samaria were full of Syrian supplies!

Why did the Syrian army just disappear? What was it that made them leave everything they had behind? 2 Kings 7:6-7 says that “God caused them to hear the noise of a great army.” So, rather than staying and fighting whatever this massive army was, they turned and ran. They ran so hard that they stripped off everything they had on them so they could run faster! They actually left a trail of dropped supplies as they ran, not to mention everything that was still in their camp!

What I want you to see is in verse verse 7: “They arose and fled at twilight.” The same time the four lepers decided to get up and do something! God took the sound of four weak, starving lepers and turned it into the sound of a massive army! All He was looking for was someone to do something!

Now let’s talk...are there situations in your life where you feel like you’re starving? Does anything in your life feel hopeless? Maybe you have issues that have been going on in your family for far too long. Maybe your heart is broken for your city or your neighborhood and you wish something would change. Maybe you want to see God’s power and glory poured out in your church. Whatever it is, take a lesson from these lepers and just do something! If you do nothing, then nothing will change. But, if you get up and start moving you’ll get results! Maybe this means witnessing one more time to your loved ones. Maybe it’s praying a little more aggressively. Whatever it is you’re believing God for, don’t give up!

You may see what you’re doing as weak and ineffective, but if only you could hear what it sounds like to your enemy! God is able to turn the weak, tired efforts on your part and turn them into victory! He’s just looking for someone to start moving!

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