2 Kings 7: 1-9, 16-18
1 Then 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’. 2 So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said,’ Look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’. And he said, ‘In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it’.
3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another,’ Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, we will enter the city, the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall only die’.
5 And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!’. 7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact- their tents, their horses, and their donkeys and they fled for their lives.
8 And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. 9 Then 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’. 10 So they went and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and told them, saying, ‘We went to the Syrian camp, and surprisingly no one was there, not a human sound only horses and donkeys tied, and the tents intact’. …………So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord.
17 Now the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. But the people trampled him in the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. 18 So it happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, two seahs of barley for a shekel and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, shall be sold tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria.
The story in today’s text starts at the solution to a problem. There had been a terrible famine in the land of Israel and people were killing their children to eat. It was a pathetic situation: very like we are all experiencing now, post COVID 19 lockdown. The King had come to the end of Himself and in the previous chapter the King had asked, ‘Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?’ Many people are asking that question. They have been devastated by the pandemic. In fact, he had decided to kill Elisha, the prophet at that time, since he was not proffering any solutions to the terrible situation. It was at this point that Elisha prophesied that food would be available at ridiculously low prices by the next day.
Hmmmmmm. ‘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’. How was that going to be possible? We are all wondering how we will get over this devastation. We have defined life with the term ‘new normal’. Nobody even knows how to define it. The prophetic word from Elisha was promising going from a state of terrible famine to that of more than enough. Wow.
The Officer who was present when Elisha spoke asked the same question like this, ‘Look if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ With hindsight we always talk carelessly about people like this or Peter who denied Jesus, or the Israelites who complained in the wilderness. We are quick to criticize them. But when I look at the world around me today, I don’t really blame him. He thought he was building an impossible scenario of God making windows in heaven. He did not know the God Elisha was talking about.
Elisha had walked with God and seen many impossible situations. Naaman had been healed of leprosy by washing in the river. The widow had multiplied a jar of oil to pay off her debts. A metal axe floated on water. The Shunamite’s son rose from the dead, Elijah was taken into heaven right before his eyes, he saw the Jordan part twice. A whole army went blind at his command……..the list is endless. The officer did not know what Elisha knew about God- that if it was necessary for the Lord to make windows to change the situation, He could. In that God, Elisha had a lot of confidence.
God was even more creative than opening windows in heaven. He did not need to rain down food. All He did was create a threatening scenario that was terrifying enough to make the Syrians leave everything in the camp and run for their lives. Creativity is His sole reserve. He does not lack means to meet our needs, no matter how impossible they look.
I am sure you have woken up on some mornings and asked yourself the same question, ‘How will I get out of my mess?’. In this post lockdown season, it could be a number of things; lost jobs, failing business, life threatening ill health (COVID), unpaid bills, huge debts, dangerous situations- it could be anything. Usually, it would be something you could not take care of by yourself, you need divine intervention. You need God to get creative on your behalf. Sometimes you could have prayed and prayed and began to tell yourself, ‘Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”. This is the fifth month battling with the pandemic and all its impact on our world.
The Holy Spirit laid this scripture in my heart when I needed such intervention in recent times and it rekindled faith right away. Like Elisha, I recalled the God I have walked with for 31 years of my life. I remembered all the creative ways He delivered me from previous difficult situations, and I was bold to say, ‘Tomorrow about this time…………….’
Like I always say, he is not a respecter of persons. He is faithful to all who believe Him. Trust Him, through that situation you’re going through and watch Him bring His creativity to life concerning you. I dare you to say, ‘Tomorrow by this time……..”. Fill in the gap. It does not matter what you fill into the gap, He is able to make a way of escape-a creative way of escape. These are new seasons, with new blessings. You must be expectant of God’s intervention. Just keep trusting Him. He is faithful.
The times may be perplexing but not for our God. Trust me, He is not twiddling His fingers and wondering what to do. He is not weighing options and trying to decide which is best. He is not devoid of creative ways to bless His people and get them out of tough places. He is absolutely able to help us. Let us just keep trusting that, “by this time tomorrow. ….”He is faithful. CK