They Said, “Why Sit Here And Die?”
by dumi nkomo
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As we study the life of Elisha we see the situation that Israel was in. Ben-Hadad, king of Aram laid siege on Samaria. There was a great famine in the city and daily the supplies were running low. The citizens of the city had resorted to eating donkeys’ heads and some women had gone to the extent of eating their sons. What a shame and sad sight that must have been. The king acknowledged that the famine was God’s doing and was about to surrender to Aram. Then Elisha spoke forth of what was to come the next day. “A seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gates of Samaria” 2 Kings 7:2. It was a hopeless situation that caused the king’s attendant to doubt. This was just a bad situation and these four men were part of it.
Against this background there were four leprous men at the entrance to the city gate. They were banished by law by looking at their state. They said to each other, “Why sit here until we die?” They realised that sitting there would be the death of them and so they continued stirring up each other’s faith. Law forbade them to stay in the city because they had to be excluded from all people till they were healed. “If we say, ‘we’ll go into the city- the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us we live, if they kill us, then we die” 2 Kings 7:4. Cool hey! They saw their hopeless stay. If they went into the city either the famine would kill them or their being leprous would kill them. If they stayed in one spot they would die.
No one was thinking about them so as to bring them food. Either way they were going to die. What are we saying? At times your situation is hopeless, you can’t go to Samaria because there is no hope. You can’t sit around or you will die. So do something to your faith. Look in the direction of the enemy and go in that direction. If it means surrender so be it. Chart a positive course and stamp your authority on your way. When you decide in your heart to act, fine, there are situations up ahead- if you're spared you live if you're killed then you die. But purpose it in your heart to go and face your worst nightmare.
At dusk, as it got dark, the four men got up and went in the direction of the enemy camp. They resolved to stand up and go. Stand up and go to those Arameans, your destiny is there. When they reached the edge of the camp not a man was in sight for the LORD had caused them to flee. God made them hear the sound of horses and chariots and a great army. Had it been that they were coming it was necessary for God to make the Arameans flee. God will back up your faith with signs. The Arameans didn’t see anything but what they heard made them picture and see Hittite and Egyptian armies. They fled at the sound they heard not what they saw. God amplified the sound of the determined lepers and caused it to sound like a great army.
When you decide to move in the direction of your enemies God will amplify the sound of your footsteps and cause them to sound like a great rushing army. God will act on your faith and cause your enemies to flee at your sight. The same evening that the lepers got up and headed towards the Aramean camp, the enemy army fled abandoning their tents, horses and donkeys.
In the dusk situations of life, you may be on your way to the Arameans to surrender. But God will cause confusion in the opposing camp so that the enemy abandons its tents, horses, donkeys and supplies. If you purpose to go out and get something the enemy will abandon it for you. These lepers had been neglected and starved but they decided that food was up ahead in the Aramean camp. They were helpless men seeking to save their lives, hoping to capitalise on their sickness but before them the enemy, left the camp as it was and ran for their lives 2 Kings 7:7b.
We need to praise God for this great outcome because their hope had been lost. Now God decided that was the time to breakthrough because of this great act of faith. God will not watch your faith in vain but will do something about it. All it takes is a simple trust in Him. God responds to faith in an amazing way. If He did it for these guys rest assured that He will do it for you. The four lepers got the opportunity to feed, which had been their primary aim, as well as the chance to loot some valuables. God will satisfy your primary aim and will throw in some extras. These men must have savoured the food. It had been days since they last had a decent meal. Maybe they found some pots on the fire and they decided to eat to their hearts desire. Imagine this, four lepers eating a tasty meal that even the king of Israel was failing to have in his palace!
As they were enjoying the food and loot a thought struck one of them. “We are not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let us go at once and report this to the royal palace” 2 Kings 7:9. These men had a conscience. How many of us would do what they did? Imagine this, the city is being laid siege to, the enemy is all over the place, the gates locked up tight and you're sitting outside at the mercy of the enemy and when you think people care you realise that no one does because you are sick, starving and prone to death out there. So you decide to surrender but in the process find a goldmine of blessings. You take your heart’s delight. But you still think of the whole city that forsook you. What heart and character?
Four men chose to GO and GO they did. In the process they looted the plunder and even had the heart to GO and report to the royal palace. How many of us would have such character and class. It’s all yours but you need to remember the promise that: “tomorrow at this time this shall be the price of things.” Hold on to the promise because it may last but a night but at daybreak things will change. When the report was made the issue of doubt arose on the inside of the city. No one could really believe that the enemy had fled. But why doubt the men who are out there in the thick of things.
Go out and partake of the loot otherwise you will be like the trampled man who left the king’s arm and went the gate to be crushed to death by a crowd rushing to get a share of the loot. When the good news was confirmed, the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans, so a seah of flour sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said” 2 Kings 7:16. The four lepers faded out of the picture while the rest of the city rose to prominence. We are left asking, “Did they get healed and accepted into the city?” but what we do know is this- a bold faith filled decision, “Why sit here until we die?”
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