Summary: Today as we study our text, 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2, we will discover 4 keys that will enable us to be more effective at sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
"TELL THEM, THE FAMINE IS OVER"
TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 5:11-6:2
Ben Hadad, king of the Arameans mobilized his entire army and marched against and laid siege to the city of Samaria. There presence caused there to be a great famine in the city. Things were looking real bad for the city, food was scarce and hope was at a desperate low ebb. The little food that was there was unclean and was highly priced, a donkeys head sold for $50 dollars and doves dung for $3 dollars.
Things were so bad that one day when the King of Israel was making his daily inspections of the city’s walls, he was taken back by the cries of a woman for help, he assumed that she was seeking relief from the pangs of hunger. But when he inquired to her problem she told him how a woman had made an agreement with her for food. The woman had told her, "GIVE UP YOUR SON SO WE MAY EAT HIM TODAY, AND TOMORROW WE’LL EAT MY SON." The woman told the king that she had cooked her son but the next day the other woman had hidden her’s.
At the news of this King Jehoram tore his clothes and mourned.
Now while all this was going 4 lepers got together at the entrance of the city gate. They began discussing the terrible situation that they found themselves in. "WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO? WHERE ARE WE GOING TO GO? OUR OPTIONS ARE NOT THAT GOOD. IF WE GO INTO THE CITY, THE FAMINE IS THERE AND WE WILL DIE. IF WE STAY HERE AT THE GATE WE WILL DIE. THE ONLY OPTION WITH EVEN A REMOTE POSSIBILITY OF OUR SURVIVING IS TO GO OVER TO THE CAMP OF THE ARAMENAS AND SURRENDER. IF THEY SPARE US WE LIVE AND IF THEY KILL US WE DIE, COME ON IT’S WORTH A SHOT."
So they waited until night fall to go, into the camp because in the daytime the Israelites on the walls of the city would have shot them with arrows as traitors. When the 4 lepers finally made it to the camp, they went into the camp to surrender expecting to find thousands of soldiers. But when they got there they found the camp completely empty, not a man was there. The 4 lepers didn’t realize that in the middle of the night the Lord has caused the army of the Aramenas to hear the sound of chariots and of a large army approaching, hearing this they fled at great speed, running for their lives. Leaving behind all except their horses.
When the men went into one of the tents they found a great feast just sitting on the table they ate and drank and had their fill. Then the carried off clothes silver and gold and hid them. And as they were running around taking care of themselves making sure they were well taken care of, suddenly their thoughts and eyes went back to the city which was still in a famine. And they said to each other, "WE’RE NOT DOING RIGHT. THIS IS A DAY OF GOOD NEWS AND WE ARE KEEPING IT TO OURSELVES. IF WE WAIT UNTIL DAYLIGHT PUNISHMENT WILL OVERTAKE US. LET GO AT ONCE AND REPORT THIS TO THE ROYAL PALACE." And they went and reported the news to the city.
This exciting account described for us in 2 Kings chapter 7 contains a parable for the Lord’s people today. WE too like the lepers were living in a world/city that was under siege. Satan and his army of sin had surrounded our city. Leaving inside starving people, confused, full of despair, hurting and looking for a reason to go on, to have hope. The city is still under siege today. And many, including many of us here today, have ventured into the enemy camp and found that in the middle of the night Jesus Christ had completely defeated Him, they have discovered that the war is over. We have food to eat and drink to drink, so that we will never go hungry or be thirsty again.
But have we like the 4 lepers in our desire to get all we can for ourselves, forgotten that in the city, in the world we just left, people are still starving, still confused, still full of despair, still anxiously waiting the news that the famine is over -- that they don’t have to live like this any longer -- that there is indeed a reason to have hope. That there is eternal life.
My friends the world needs to know that the FAMINE IS OVER...
And we, you and I, need to tell them... We need to tell the people we work with, live near, go to school with... we need to tell the starving about Jesus.