Summary: Fourth in a series on Elisha. Often, God invites us to proclaim WHAT he will do, even if we have no idea HOW he will accomplish it. God's intervention in history ultimately causes a ripple of good effects for His people.
> SCENE ONE King and a Woman
Famine - Not a natural one. Caused by Syrian seige. Donkey’s (unclean, undesirable) head for 2 Lbs of silver…who has that? “Dove’s Dung” … Ramen Noodles of the ancient world. (Wild Onions? Seed pods?). No one could afford either. - King was walking. - Woman spoke out of turn. When you’re hungry enough, you just quit worrying about protocol. - Ate her child yesterday, was going to eat friend’s child today. Suddenly, several things became clear: 1. They were living under a curse. Deuteronomy contains many conditional blessings and curses, all of which hinge on the nation’s faithfulness to God’s commands. In the case of disobedience…
SLIDE: Deuteronomy 28:49ff
Deuteronomy 28:49ff The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand…They shall besiege you in all your towns, until your high and fortified walls, in which you trusted, come down throughout all your land. And they shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. As soon as the woman told the king what was happening, he tore his clothing in despair, and he had to acknowledge that the curse was in effect. OPTION: Return to faithfulness? Instead, he decides to kill the messenger. “May God do so to me and more also if the head of Elisha, son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”
> SCENE TWO Elisha + King + Captain
SLIDE: Hold the Door
In our second Scene, Elisha is in his house with the elders of the community. God prompted Elisha to know what was coming.
“A murderer is coming to take off my head. Hold the door!”
The messenger shouts to him through the door, “This trouble is from the Lord! Why should I wait for the Lord any longer.” It’s an ironic question, isn’t it? The King is saying, “Because bad stuff is happening, why should I trust God?”
Elisha is thinking, “You know, if you had been trusting God, a lot of this bad stuff wouldn’t be happening!”
Elisha responds quickly and provocatively:
But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the Lord himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” But he said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
No matter how much food cost today, by tomorrow, 7 quarts of flour are going to sell for less than 1/2 an ounce of silver.
THE DOUBTING CAPTAIN: “Manna is never going to happen again. No way even a miracle of God could accomplish what you’ve just said.”
Elisha says nothing about HOW this will happen, but he puts his credibility on the line by trusting that it WILL happen.
> SCENE THREE Lepers and an empty Syrian Camp
In our third scene, we have four lepers.
If any nation is going to starve, it is the poor people, and the people on the fringes who are going to starve first.
A leper might love their country, but they have a lot less reason for loyalty, because they have a lot less to lose.
CONVERSATION: Why sit here waiting to die? If we enter the city, we’ll starve because of the famine. If we go to the Syrians, we might die because they kill us.
If our only option is to die, at least we know the Syrians have food…let’s go and see if they’ll have mercy on us.
So they get to the Syrian camp, and there’s not a person there.
Everyone is gone. The tents are there. The horses are there. There is abundant food everywhere. There’s plenty of silver and gold. But the people are gone.
SLIDE: Ghost town
What nobody knew is that During the night, the LORD had caused the sound of chariots and horses and a great cry. To fill the Syrian camp, and they left in a panic.
Basically, God showed up at their camp and said, “BOO!”
Once the lepers were full, they realized they weren’t doing right…they needed to report back to Israel, so they went to tell the King.
Of course, he didn’t trust anything…figured it was an ambush. So he sent out 2 horses to explore, and what they found was that the Syrians were running so fast and so hard, they left a trail of goodies all the way from their camp to the Jordan River, several miles away.