Summary: There are great needs in the Church today, which can be identified as Signs of famine. But they can be changed by moving in steps of faith.
(Part 1 in a series called "Signs of Famine, Steps of Faith.)
I want to take you back and do a quick overview of this chapter. Of course, we have greatly discussed vs. 1-7, of the recovering of the ax head, the cutting down of trees and obstacles that stand in our way of progessing in the direction of expansion. That’s what we’ve been seeking to do, and will continue to do so.
I want you to notice, though, what happens in response to God’s people moving in a progressing direction. In 6:8 it says, "THEN the king of Syria warred against Israel...." It was not until they started moving toward expansion and enlargement, that the enemy began to attack in an organized fashion. Many weeks ago the Lord showed me this, and taught me to be on guard against such tactics.
The king of Syria determined the place to be his attack area, but Elisha warned the king of Israel, and Israel escaped . This infuriated the king of Syria, and he thought there was a snitch in the ranks. But when he was told that it was Elisha the prophet who had warned the king of Israel, he sent men after him. They came by night with chariots, horses, and a great host.
When Elisha’s servant saw that, he was distressed and in despair, saying, "What shall we do?" Elisha replied, "Fear not; for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." In the natural, this wasn’t noticeable, but Elisha prayed that his servants eyes be opened, and when they were, he saw horses and chariots of fire round about them.
When the Syrians came down to get Elisha, he prayed that they be struck with blindness, which did happen, Elisha led them right into Samaria. He prayed that the Lord would open there eyes, and when he did, and they saw that they were in the midst of Samaria, God instructed Israel to show kindness to them, and feed them, and give them water, and then let them go.
And after this, v. 23 says, "So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel." They did not rise up in a blatant attack against them again, but the scriptures reveal that they did take action that put Israel, in Samaria, in very a very hard place.
That’s where our text picks up. And out of this text, I want us to look at some similarities between the situation and effects of what was happening in Samaria, and relate it to what we can, and sometimes do, see in the church. The Bible says in v. 24, that, "The king of Syria.....gathered all his host, and went up, and BESIEGED Samaria."
Now to "besiege" a city is not the same as "attacking" the city. We read how they decided not to enter into the land of Israel anymore. So they decided to "besiege" the city, which means "to set up round about and cut off their supplies." It speaks of separating you from your source, where things start drying up. It stops both the inflow and the outflow.
That’s what Satan desires to do in the church. He wants to cut off our life source, so that no life flows IN, and no life flows OUT. There’s not a fresh infusion of God’s life coming in, and there’s no taking of that life source out. Now, I could spend a long time just on that, but let me move on.
What had happened in Samaria, as a result of the besiegement of Syria, is exactly what happens in a church that experiences that kind of demonic ploy and tactic. The Bible says, "There was a great FAMINE in the land." And there were and are signs of that famine, that I believe we can relate over to our lives.
What are the SIGNS OF FAMINE? Before I mention specifics, let me just say that one thing that stood out to me was the contentment with which Israel sat in Samaria. I’ll discuss that more tonight as we explore the steps of faith. But it amazes me the people and the churches who are in a famine, who take no measures to restore the flow of life in their midst. It’s as if they adopt a "This is the way it’s going to be mentality."
But there are measures that we can, and should, take to restore the flow of the Spiritual life in our hearts and churches. I’ll cover it more tonight.
As for the Signs Of Famine, let me mention a few things to you.
1. The famine was so great that they began to sell and eat unthinkable items. One was a donkey’s head, which sold for 80 pieces of silver. The donkey is a stubborn animal, and they were eating a donkey’s head. And one of the things that people develop in time of Spiritual depravation and famine, is a Stubborn Mentality. In fact, as was the case here, that’s what they were feasting on. But, it always costs you when you have a stubborn mentality.