A Day of Good News
The passage takes place at a time when Samaria was under siege by the Syrian army, and the people of the city were starving to death. Even though this dire situation was a well-deserved judgment from God because of Israel’s rebellion, the Lord is merciful. Thus, God decided to turn the situation around and rescue His people. He declared through the Prophet Elisha He was about to bring an end to the famine in Samaria. The following day, instead of a shortage, there would be such an abundance that the prices of flour and barley would fall dramatically (2 Kings 7:1).
How would the Lord do this? As the story develops, we discover that it was God’s will to use four lowly lepers as His instruments in bringing about the fulfillment of His Word. Thus, our reading begins with these unlikely heroes sitting outside of the city and discussing ways they might be able to survive the famine. They came up with three options:
1) They could sit there until they died of starvation.
2) They could try to enter the city and die from starvation there.
3) They could go over to the camp of the Syrians where they might be killed, but they might also be spared.
Since the third option was the only one in which there was a possibility of survival, they decided to take their chances with the Syrians (2 Kings 7:2-4). But when the lepers arrived at the camp of the Syrians, to their surprise, it was completely empty! In the middle of the night, the Lord had caused the Syrians to hear the sound of a great army approaching their camp. The Syrians feared that Israel had hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to help fight against them. So the Syrians fled the camp, leaving behind all of their food and supplies.
When the lepers arrived at the campsite only to find it abandoned, they immediately ate, drank, and carried off the gold and silver to hide it (7:5-8). But after a while, they felt convicted in their hearts about keeping this miracle to themselves. They said, “This day is a day of good news … let us go and tell the king’s household” (7:9).
Thus, the lepers went to the gatekeepers of the city and informed them of what they had found. The gatekeepers then informed the king’s household. After making sure that it wasn’t a trap and that God really did drive the Syrians away, the people of Samaria went to the abandoned camp and gathered all of the supplies that were left behind:
Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. (2 Kings 7:16)
The Lord fulfilled His Word and brought an end to the famine in the land! The prices of flour and barley fell, just as Elisha foretold. Prophecy was fulfilled! Hallelujah!
We need to keep in mind that this isn’t just a neat story. Like everything in the Bible, this story teaches us about who God is, who we are, and what our purpose is. So what can we learn from this story about the Gospel and our calling as disciples of Yeshua? Three things come to mind.
1) People are under siege and in need of salvation.
The people of Samaria were under siege by the Syrians. They were trapped, starving to death, and the Syrian army was just waiting for the right moment to destroy them. Likewise, people are under spiritual siege by the enemy of our souls, Satan. They are spiritually starving and on the brink of death. Yet, the Lord is merciful. Even though the famine in Samaria was a well-deserved judgment upon the people for their rebellion, God provided the means for their rescue. In the same way, God sent His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, to rescue from death all who call upon Him.
God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
2) God chooses to use us to bring His message of salvation to others.
Just like the lepers in 2 Kings 7, we as Christians have been blessed to discover and receive the Lord’s salvation. And just like the lepers were convicted in their hearts to “go and tell the king’s household,” we are commissioned by the Lord to share the good news of salvation to others. This isn’t a message we are to keep to ourselves. Messiah Yeshua commands us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).
3) No, God didn’t make a mistake by choosing you.
You might be thinking: “But wait! Who the heck am I? I’m not some great teacher or communicator or whatever. How can God possibly use me?”
You are right. You are probably a total loser. But you are in good company. Many of the great men and women in Scripture were nobodies and had many flaws. Yet, God still used them in amazing ways. Case in point: The unlikely heroes in 2 Kings 7 were lepers—outcasts—and considered cursed by God! In addition, they were motivated primarily by their selfish desires. But despite their circumstances and character flaws, God used them to fulfill His Word and rescue His people. All they had to do was be obedient when God spoke to their heart. In the same way, you might feel like a nobody. You might not feel good enough. You might have failed, and you might even continue to struggle with your flesh. But just like the lepers in our story, you will be surprised at how God can use you in your particular circumstance for His glory.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:16-29)
God has placed you in your current situation for a reason. Despite your flaws, He has given you a calling to share His message of salvation. Humble yourself; receive His grace and salvation. And then trust His divine wisdom, obey His voice, and declare to the world, “This day is a day of good news.”
David is first and foremost a passionate follower of Yeshua the Messiah. In addition to his books, When Faith Works: Living Out the Law of Liberty According to James and A Christian Guide to the Biblical Feasts, David has written several theological and devotional articles available on various Messianic and Christian websites. David has also spoken at a number of Christian/Messianic churches and conferences throughout the United States and currently serves as a regular Bible teacher and writer for multiple congregations and ministries.