“Now there were four men with leprosy[c] sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.” – 2 Kings 7:3-4.
There is an amazing story found in 2 Kings 7 about 4 lepers who decided to risk it all. Four people had no status, no resources, and only a faint ray of hope that something good could happen to them, but they found the courage to take a step into the dark, into the desert, and into a destiny, they never dreamed possible.
The four men were starving outside the gate of a besieged, starving city. These four dying men reached a moment of desperation: “If we go into the city we will die of starvation due to the lack of the garbage, that day-by-day was let down to them over the wall; If we surrender to the enemy they may kill us also. What do we have to lose?” They decided to risk it all and visit the enemy camp. When they arrived, it was vacated. The enemy had fled in the night, frightened by a loud sound from God. They were suddenly rich as kings.
Suddenly, one of them had a thought. “It’s not right. We must go tell them. In the city, they are killing each other over crumbs and we have a mega Sam’s club.” When they returned to the city, they shouted over the wall that there were untold riches just over the hill. No one believed them! The king said it was a trap. They finally sent two horses out who confirmed the amazing story was true.
When you open the Bible to 1st and 2nd Kings, you think you would be reading about the great and the mighty, the magnificent and the illustrious. So it is surprising that many of the stories talk about the poor and the distressed and the despairing. Why would the Lord use lepers as part of the story?
Did you know if you were to take out of this Bible all of the stories of the poverty-stricken and the brokenhearted, you’d have hardly anything left? The stories of God’s humble and poor on the earth, comprise the whole Bible; the story of Joseph, as he is sold into slavery (Genesis 37:26-31); the story of the little baby Moses, set afloat on the Nile (Exodus 2:1-4); the story of Job, sitting in ashes, crying in agony for the afflictions God hath sent upon him (Job 2:8, 3:1-26); the story of the two widows who came back homeless and helpless, gathering sheaves, handfuls left for the poor in the fields of Boaz (Ruth 2:1-17); the story of the widow, whose son was sold for the debts of her deceased husband (2 Kings 4:2).
Think about how you have a choice every day—either to fulfill your mission and follow God’s calling or sit there waiting. Substitute a God view for your world view, then you will see how God will lead and direct you into a lifelong ministry that will be a blessing to a needy world around you.
- What can we learn from the story of the four lepers?
- There, their future was uncertain. This would have to be a step of faith. One slim thread: Have you ever been in that situation?
- What can we do this week to not “sit there” but move forward in fulfilling our God-given mission?