Now four men with a skin disease were at the entrance to the city gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s surrender to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”
So the diseased men got up at twilight to go to the Arameans’ camp. When they came to the camp’s edge, they discovered that no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a large army. The Arameans had said to each other, “The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us.” So they had gotten up and fled at twilight, abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys. The camp was intact, and they had fled for their lives.
When these diseased men came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent to eat and drink. Then they picked up the silver, gold, and clothing and went off and hid them. They came back and entered another tent, picked things up, and hid them. Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing what is right. Today is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until morning light, our punishment will catch up with us. So let’s go tell the king’s household.”
The diseased men came and called to the city’s gatekeepers and told them, “We went to the Aramean camp and no one was there—no human sounds. There was nothing but tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents were intact.” The gatekeepers called out, and the news was reported to the king’s household.2 Kings 7:3-11
Elisha’s response to the king’s threat to his life was to predict that food would be more available within the next 24 hours. The fulfillment of that promise from God came in the most unlikely way. It came through four men with nothing to lose.
Four men with leprosy sat outside the city gate. They were stuck in the middle of this desperate situation. As they considered their prospects, they came to only one conclusion that would give them a slim chance at survival. All other options lead to death. If they entered the city, they would most likely be stoned because of their disease. If they stayed where they were, they would most likely starve to death. If they went to the Aramean camp, though, there was a slim possibility they would be received in as defectors and be given some food. It seemed like a crazy idea but, in the oft-quoted words of Jim Carey, “So, you’re telling me there’s a chance.”
God responded to these crazy chance takers in an even more unusual way. As they walked toward the Aramean camp, God caused the Arameans to hear a great army charging toward them. They were sure the King of Israel had managed to form an alliance and the new alleys were on the attack. They fled for their lives and left everything behind. They continued to shed their armor and supplies as the fled, leaving a trail all the way to the Jordan River.
When the four lepers arrived, they found the entire camp was abandoned with all kinds of treasures and food left behind. After they indulged for a short time their consciences got the best of them and they decided to share the news with everyone in the city of Samaria. Once the army confirmed the report was true, the people hurried to the camp and gathered up the bounty. The siege and famine were broken.
Sometimes God allows us to experience desperate situations to help us realize our dependence on Him. When we are in a situation where there is nothing to lose, we also have the opportunity to take a chance and see how God may intervene on our behalf. In the times when He intervenes on our behalf, we need to also remember that His intervention may not be just for us but may also be something we need to share with others. If we hoard God’s blessing, much like these four lepers, we may find that our “nothing to lose” situation could become an “everything to lose” situation.
- How have you seen God move in situations where you felt like there was nothing to lose?