» Then they said to one another, ‘We are not doing right’ » (2 Kings 7:9).
I love the great variety of stories found in the Bible. Some are spine-chilling, with realities that go beyond the plots of the best novels. We find many of them in the Old Testament, and I encourage you to read as many of them as you can. Today we are going to reflect on the siege of Samaria carried out by Syria.
This famine that came over Samaria because of this siege got to the point that things that were not very edible, such as a donkey’s head or a small basket of carob beans, were being sold for exorbitant prices, and finally parents were beginning to eat their own children! The king tore his robes to show how distraught he was because of this situation, and he said he would have the head of Elisha, the prophet, because of it.
Elisha, on the other hand, stayed calm and prophesied that on the following day flour and rye would be sold cheaply, as though nothing had every happened. No one believed him. There did not seem to be any way out of their situation, and Elisha ‘s prophecy seemed completely impossible.
At the same time, four lepers who were at the gates of the city decided to take a chance and go out to the Syrian camp and surrender, hoping their lives would be pardoned. They had nothing to lose. They would die of hunger no matter what they did, either by hunger or by the sword. But what a surprise when they arrived at the Syrian camp and found it no one there! God had confounded the Syrians and they had fled in the early morning hours. They had left everything behind, so the lepers found an abundance of food, drink, silver, gold, and clothing…and no one to bother them.
Then comes one of my favorite Bible verses: «They said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household’ » (2 Kings 7:9). So that is what they did, and abundance returned to Samaria, just as Elisha had prophesied.
When my dad preached about this story, he included a quotation that I would always remember: «Christianity consists of one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread” (D. T. Niles).
That is what these leprous beggars did when they thought about the situation and decided to tell the good news. That is what we can do today with whatever resources we have available to us, be they abundant or be they scarce. That is what we should do with our talents.
What did they have besides rags and disfigured faces? Good news. More than enough.