Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them. Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” (2 Kings 7:3-9 ESV)
To give a little background: the Syrians had laid siege to Samaria (the Israelite King’s castle/city) and a great famine struck the city. They were withheld food and were severely limited in water. They were eating up their horses and donkeys to survive. Lepers, like these men, we’re not allowed in the ity because of their leprosy. Elisha the prophet told the king of Israel that tomorrow food would be so plentiful it would cost practically nothing to buy. But how? This is the setting to the story.
When the lepers find the deserted camp, they feel like they just won the jackpot! Food to save them from the famine to feast upon, not to mention money and goods. But as they gather it for themselves their consciences are struck. Their people in the city are still starving. They can’t keep the good news to themselves. This story parallels our story in so many ways. If you believe in Jesus then you know that his death and resurrection is good news. You have been rescued from the sin that held you captive and now you have access to the riches of heaven in a renewed relationship with God. The thing is, there are many others that also belong to God who are still suffering in their own sin, just like the people in the castle. They too need to know the good news. They may even treat you like a leper. But still the news is for them too. We can’t keep this news to ourselves. It is too good! We must tell others, even if they choose not to believe it.
Do you know joy in the good news of Jesus? Do you know what riches you have in the heavenly realms (see Eph 1 for help)? Will you tell others the good news?
Thank God for his rescue of you and ask him for boldness to share the good news.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Kings 7, 1 Tim 4, Da 11, Ps 55