So yesterday morning in church our pastor preached from 2 Kings 7. His focus was on reaching others, not hoarding God’s gifts to ourselves but sharing them. And it was a fantastic sermon; really, really it was. I even kept up with it while my mind traveled down a rabbit hole.
See, there was this other part of the passage that snagged my eye—which always happens when I keep reading after Pastor stops. But the stories are so fascinating I cannot help myself!
You need to check out 2 Kings, starting in chapter 6. These people were in the middle of a famine, and they were eating some not-so-nice stuff. Even their children. (I found it quite funny that on Mother’s Day, Pastor slipped into the sermon the one story in the Bible about a Mother eating her child. But I digress…see—rabbit hole.)
Anyway, the king of Israel was none too happy about this famine. In fact, he wanted the prophet Elisha’s head. And he sent a messenger looking for him. Now here’s where things got interesting for me.
The messenger shows up (Elisha knew he was coming too!) and delivers these words from the king: “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
Um...have you ever been there? Waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more. While the land around you is barren. When you see nothing happening. When your hope is nearly gone and you just want to shout “Why should I keep waiting for you Lord? This is all YOUR fault!”
More than once.
But here’s what amazed me. See, the king (or his messenger speaking for him) boldly asks that to Elisha. And Elisha simply answers him, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what they Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
In other words—God’s got it under control. He sees your situation, and He’s gonna turn it around. You just need to wait for tomorrow, because it’s coming.
Yet there’s an officer there. An officer who’s probably tired. Hungry. Thirsty. His stomach is probably bloated. His muscles atrophied. And as he looks around he focuses on what he sees rather than the Word of God. He looks at the impossible situation and only sees the impossible. His response? “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of heavens, could this happen?”
And, wow, listen to Elisha’s response this time:
“You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it.”
A tad more harsh, wouldn’t you say?
I sat there and stared at those verses for a while, running them around my mind. Those answers stood out to me. See, Elisha never said anything when the king railed against God. No, in fact when the king questioned where God was and asked why He should wait for him…when the king blamed God, what did Elisha do? He offered encouragement. He spoke the Word of God over him—because that Word had not been spoken yet. The king was looking at a hopeless situation where God’s hope had not yet been brought.
But the moment Elisha reveals the Word of God, the men are expected to have faith. To believe. And the messenger doesn’t because he’s too fixated on his surroundings.
And his faith slipped through his fingers.
And that lack of faith cost him his life. (Literally. The man dies the next day. Trampled by all the people running for the food)
Over and over again in the Word we are asked to have faith. Why? Why is it okay to rail against God, to question him, to wonder where He is, but the moment we doubt Him He begins to take issue?
Because it’s how we come to Him. Through faith. For it is by grace we are saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6.
On a smaller scale, I believe this was showing us that there will be times where we don’t know what’s going on around us. We cannot find God in the midst of it all. Yet we need to remember that He is there. And He will deliver His Word. When He does, all He asks is that we faithfully believe and wait on Him. Tomorrow is coming.
But you know what I really see when I look at this story? I see how so many people are missing out on God. How He reveals himself to them, but they look at their surroundings and cannot believe He's capable of changing them. As a result, they never receive His grace through faith and in the end, they'll see heaven with their own eyes, but will not taste any of it.
Oh, to reach them. To help build up their faith. Because no one should have to see heaven, but not be allowed to touch it and taste it. Not when one of us can reach them.
Because tomorrow is coming and it's time to not only strengthen our own faith, but the faith of those around us.