Read: 2 Kings 6:24-7:2
There was a terrible state of affairs among the Israelites Famine was so serious as a result of the Syrian siege that the people were turning to cannibalism to avoid death. The account of these two women is frightening to me. So often we lightly say that we are hungry-but actually we aren't These people within the city of Samaria were driven by their own starvation. The king, Jehoram, blamed all of the trouble upon the prophet of God, Elisha. However, Elisha prophesied that soon the economy would pick up and instead of famine there would be plenty. Found right in the middle of this account is a story about four individuals who suffered from leprosy.
It is upon these four men and their choices for life that we want to focus. These four men had only three choices. Today those who are 'eaten up' with sin have the same three choices to choose from.
Note 2 Kings 7,3-4
I. The First Choice- to 'enter into the city'
A. What the city had to offer
1. Starvation and famine
2. Certain death for them
a. because they were lepers
b. they wouldn't have been accepted even if there hadn't been a famine.
c. but now when those in the city were starving they certainly would have no compassion for a hungry leper
3. The city was a place of death, and there was not one glimmer of hope for them if they entered in
B. The city pictures the world today
1. It has nothing of any lasting value to offer to the individual in need
a. the great cultural centers will not last ie. museums of History and art
b. the institutions which offer the vast knowledge of the world will not last
c. the great religious shrines will not last
2. All of what this world has to offer is temporal
a. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away." Mt. 24:35
b. Isaiah wrote, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." Is. 40:8
c. Peter wrote about the destruction of this old earth, "... the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Pe. 3:10
C. The city, like the world today, was incapable of providing life
1. Notice the king's response to a woman crying for help. v 26-27
a. he recognized his helplessness
b. if the Lord doesn't help, how could he?
c. the barn floor was bare and the wine press was empty
2. Here we see the world's means of help
a. food and drink
b. that would not give life - it would only prolong death
c. man in all of his wisdom, cannot provide life physical or spiritual
3. In the king's own words we see the hopelessness of looking to the world for life
a. if we do not go to God seeking for life
b. we will find nothing but death
c. Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life'... " Jn. 10:10
II. The Second Choice- "sit still here"
A. Not much of a choice
1. To sit still meant certain death
a. they had no means of sustaining life for themselves
b. they were outcasts from society with absolutely nothing
c. it was simply a matter of time before they would die - either from their own disease or from starvation
2. They saw their hopeless situation
a. 'why sit we here until we die?'
b. to that question they could find no answer
c. it is within all of us to strive for life
3. The fact that they were able to see their condition was in itself promising
a. so many today do not realize they're lost for eternity.
b. you must be able to realize your need before you will act upon that need
B. Many people today choose to "sit still"
1. They do not realize that it means certain death for them
a. the Scriptures reveals to us our lost condition.
(John 3:18) "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
b. one of the greatest needs today is for people to realize they are condemned not for what they do but for what they are.
(Rom 5:12) "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"
2. Many feel there will be time enough. to make a decision later on in the future
a. a lady told me not long ago - "When time is running out - I will know it and then I'll make my decision"
b. a friend told me once that if what I was saying was true then he could call upon the Lord just before he died
c. Both of these individuals along with multitudes of people are making these statements based on their ignorance of the Word of God!
(James 4:14) "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
(2 Cor 6:2) "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)"
III. The Third Choice: to plead for mercy from their enemy Syria
A. Syria was at war with Israel
1. The Syrian army wanted to destroy the Israelites
2. They laid siege to Samaria - effectively cutting off its supply lines in an attempt to 'starve them out'
3. This doesn't sound like a group who would be very merciful
B. The lepers decided to "fall unto the host of the Syrians"
1. There was no other choice for them if they wished to live
a. to go to the city meant death
b. to remain where they were meant death
c. this was their only hope for life
2. To plead for mercy from an enemy that desired to destroy you seemed almost hopeless.
a. their attitude was -'if they save us alive we shall live'
b. 'if they kill us - we shall but die'
c. they certainly weren't optimistic, but they realized it was their only hope.
C. That is the only choice for those who are not saved today
1. They must fall upon their knees and plead for mercy from their enemy
a. Bible teaches-us that those who are lost are enemies of God
b. Jas. 4:4, "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is an enemy of God"
2. God's desire is not to destroy but to deliver
a. John 6:37, "... him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
b. The Lord is longsuffering "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. "
c. "... when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son..." Ro. 5:10
Read v 5 - 8.