Ever Wonder what it would be like to be DIFFERENT? No . . . I mean REALLY different . . . the kind of different that makes people turn away when they look at you? What if you ARE that person already – – is there any use at all to your life?
1 Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Lord says: ‘About this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria, six quarts of fine meal will sell for a shekel and 12 quarts of barley will sell for a shekel.’ ”2 Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen? ” Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”3 Four men with a skin disease [leprosy] were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die?4 If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”
After being made the fool against the Israellites, King Benhadad of Aram brought his military together and marched up to besiege Samaria, which in turn, caused a famine in Samaria, and it continued until everything was crazy expensive to buy. It was so bad that at least two mothers made pacts to eat each others’ babies (2 Kings 6: 26-29).
They were starving, they were desperate! So, what was their course of action?
Naturally, the King blamed Elisha (as if he had anything to do with it), and wanted to kill him. So, when he finds Elisha, they have a little chat, in which Elisha tells the king that at about the same time the next day, the tables were going to turn… so much so, that everything was going to be normal to cheap prices again.
This, of course, seemed quite impossible to the king’s right hand man (& understandably so). But, this is what the prophet proclaimed (He also told the Captain that he would not partake of any food because of his doubt).
The very next thing we see, is a picture of a group of lepers (the throwaways of society) sitting just outside the entrance of Samaria at the gates. T hey were literally sitting there, just waiting to die. That is, until they started to discuss and acknowledge their condition and the options that lie before them.
They essentially had 3 options:
1. They could continue to sit there at the gate and wait to die.
2. They could get up and go into the city (where they were also sure to die because of the famine in the city).
3. They could go to the camp of an enemy army.
This third option, is the ONLY option where the outcome **might** not be death. They COULD possibly LIVE with this option. More likely they would die, but it is an option they had to try because no matter what, they were knocking on death’s door. Only, this way, they had a CHANCE – – regardless of how miniscule it may have seemed. In the end, they decided this was the only choice . . . to take a Risk.
So, they set out for the Aramean (Syrian) campsite, not knowing what to expect, but KNOWING their options . . . the risk . . . and the h o p e of a better outcome.
Upon arrival to the campsite, the group of lepers found it completely abandoned and ripe for plundering! “What could have happened here??” I’m sure they were wondering . . . But instead of dwelling on it, they took a bunch of the goods for themselves and hid them, before thinking about what great news this would be for the king and the people of the city . . . so after a little deliberation, they decided to go tell the king.
Long story short, what Elisha had prophesied came to pass and there was plenty of enough food and goods to go around for the inhabitants of the city.
So, why do I find this account so compelling?? Well, what I find most incredibly BEAUTIFUL in this story, besides all the miraculous splendor of fulfilled prophecy, etc. is WHO God uses to tell His story – to bring the good news of salvation to the city.
He uses the Lepers.
The ones their society had cast out and deemed unworthy to live among them.
God literally, in a very real sense, used the “outcasts,” the outsiders to change the course of their history.
Without them, who knows how this story would have ended.
What’s even more fascinating is the question of, had they not been cast out because of their leprosy . . . would they or anyone, have even considered the option to leave the city? (I threw that one in there for all you old school Matrix fans 😉) Well, the apparent answer seems to be a resounding, No. ((Nobody else was leaving ))
In fact, it seems quite clear that the inhabitants of the city were afraid to leave. Some of which had even resorted to cannibalism just the day before . . . sad.
God has a plan . . . even for the “outsiders.” What was great, was that after finding the deserted camp and all it had to offer, the lepers rightly decided to share the news with the city (that would most likely shun them on all other occasions) in order that it might be saved.
The Outcasts saved the city. God let them be the superheroes of this story. He could have easily sent Elisha to tell the king about the abandoned camp . . . but, He didn’t. (Does this remind you at all of the shepherds he first told of Christ’s birth? It should)
He wants us to be a part of His good news . . . and He lets us take part in the sharing of it! How EXCITING!
Oh my how this story mimics or foretells of a certain child to be born who would save ALL of mankind. And who did God choose to tell that story? Who were the first informed?? Some lowly shepherds.
NOT the rich and famous. NOT Royalty. NOT the most influential orator. NOT the priests. NOT the teachers of the law. NOT the religious zealots.
But the simple shepherds.
God has a plan for us ALL and sometimes . . . no . . . oftentimes, He uses those “least likely” by our standards, to tell His story.
Get it? “His story” = “History.”
What part of His story is He trying to tell through YOUR life?