It was a dark time in the history of Israel. They had turned from God to serve idols, and as a result, He was allowing the armies of Benhadad, king of Syria, to besiege Samaria, their capital city. The siege resulted in a terrible famine and the people became desperate. Food become so scarce that the head of donkey sold for 80 shekels, or two pounds, of silver. Out of desperation, they even resorted to cannibalism.
Into this dark and desperate time for Israel, God brought light to the people in the most unlikely way.
“Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die” (I Kings 7:3-4, NKJV).
The four lepers arose at twilight and went into the camp of the Syrians and were surprised to find it empty. They ate, drank and partied until it suddenly dawned on them. “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves” (I Kings 7:9, NIV).
We live in a world where there is great spiritual famine. Hopelessness and despair surround us while we as God’s people enjoy such wonderful spiritual bounty. “What we’re doing is not right! This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves!”
In this unusual story, God picked the most unlikely candidates to bear the good news. Four lepers, the outcasts and untouchables, brought God’s message of hope to a starving city. God has a strange way of making sure no one else gets the glory for what He is doing! In this story, God used four lepers to save a city; in another, He used a donkey to speak for Him; later He used a little group of unlearned fishermen and rejects of society to turn the world upside down. Don’t you think He can use you and me?
Imagine these four leprous men with twisted and mangled bodies, going to the gate keepers of the city and saying, “Come, follow us. We can show you where there is enough food to feed this whole city.” Absolutely absurd! It reminds me of something a Christian counselor once told me, “I’m nobody special. I am just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”
Thousands of people were saved from (almost) certain death because the four lepers told them where to find bread. They told the people what they had seen and experienced, and invited them to come and see for themselves what God had done.
The essence of witnessing for Christ is telling others what God has done for us and inviting them to come and see for themselves. The apostle Paul was very skillful in debating and defending the Gospel, yet he often resorted to the simplicity of sharing his personal testimony. He would often share how he had once been a murder, and then how God got a hold of him and changed his life completely.
You and I are like those lepers. We are nobody special. We are nobody important. We are not among the world’s wise, educated and elite. Indeed, we are the fools of this world—just poor beggars who have found the Living Bread through God’s grace. We are privileged to invite a starving world to come and see what God has done. We are privileged to show them where they can find this Living Bread.
Why sit here until we die? This is the day of Good News! We can’t keep it to ourselves!
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