August 13, 2023
“Elisha said, '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..."'”
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“Elisha said, ‘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 fine meal will sell for a shekel.”’ 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.’ 2 Kings 7:1-2
Today’s chapter is one of Grace and Judgment. The message of grace was delivered to the king personally by Elisha, the prophet. Elisha, knowing Jehoram was on his way to oversee his execution, had the men with him bar the door against the king’s executioner. The king had become impatient and figured that waiting on God was pointless. God always seems irrelevant to those who have no place for Him in their hearts.
Elijah brought the king’s rage to an abrupt halt with his message of Hope and Grace: The Syrian-induced famine would abruptly end, and the very next day, Samaria would enjoy abundance. In addition, to short-circuiting his own execution, Elisha’s message of Grace set the stage for additional characters to enter the stage.
First, we have the king’s Captain. No sooner was the promise of abundance out of Elisha’s mouth than this man offered a negative prediction: “Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in Heaven, could this really happen?” A sour and shriveled spirit pits us against everyone & everything. A great evil to be strongly avoided, the sour spirit is never more dangerous than when it manifests itself in rejecting the Gospel.
In the Gospel of Jesus, we have a message of Grace that makes Elijah’s message pale in comparison. It tells us that God has, as it were, made windows in Heaven. But many scoff at God’s plan of salvation and refuse to accept it. This Captain is a warning for all who harbor a bitter spirit against the Lord and His provision! Elisha’s word was fulfilled in the most frightful manner - that Captain was trampled the very next day as the people were in a frenzy to collect their portion of God’s abundance. God’s message of Grace to King Jehoram was a message of Judgment for the king’s Captain.
In a significant role reversal that must have challenged the social paradigms of ancient Israel, the positive response to Elisha’s “message of Grace” came from four lepers. These men rejoiced in God’s Graceful provision and shared it with others. The lepers wasted no time enjoying the bounty; then, it occurred to them that their city was starving.
Followers of Jesus cannot help but see themselves in these men who suffered from leprosy. We, too, have been saved by Grace! We were suffering in our sin conditions when the Grace of God, through Jesus, intervened. Still, we identify with them on yet another level. They realized they were doing wrong by keeping God’s Grace to themselves! Let’s adopt their words as our motto: “…come, let us go, and tell…” (2 Kings 7:9)