Memo 1014: Leper Lessons
One of my favorite stories is found in 2 Kings 7. The Arameans, the enemies of Israel, had laid siege to the city and the people inside were starving to death. That's when four lepers, who knew they were going to die if they just sat where they were, decided to go out and engage the enemy to see if they could obtain mercy. Let's examine their story to see what we can learn to help us unlock the power of our faith:
Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, "Why do we sit here until we die? "If we say, 'We will enter the city,' then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die." At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives (2 Kings 7:3-7).
The lepers returned to the city to tell the people the good news, but the city inhabitants thought it a trap to lure them out from behind the walls and did not respond right away.
WHAT'S TIMING TO A LEPER?
The four lepers saw their condition as critical. They were more concerned about survival than looking bad or "missing God." It's not faith to want to know the timing and steps you will need to take to succeed. It is actually presumptuous! God does not owe you a full explanation before you take the first steps in obedience. To think He does is to expect more than God gave Abraham. God told Abraham to set out and when Abraham wanted to know where he was going, the Lord responded, "I'll tell you when you get there."
If you don't identify with the lepers, you will say that you can "wait on the Lord." However, if you do identify with their situation and see yourself in desperate need to have faith, then you will step out today and act on your creativity, ideas, goals, and dreams. Have you had enough of being where you are? Then do something and be less concerned about timing and more concerned about finding fulfillment and creative expression—and being productive for the Lord.
WHAT'S TIMING TO THE STARVING?
Perhaps the most pitiful people in this story are those who were in the besieged city. They were starving and in imminent danger of death, yet when the lepers delivered the good news, they were not capable of responding in faith:
So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city’” (2 Kings 7:10-12).
This tells us that we can be so conditioned to accept less than what God wants us to have that when He moves to provide it, we can dismiss it as a trap. More on that next week.
Let me close with one more thought. I hear people regularly say, "I don't want to get ahead of the Lord." My response is always the same: Go ahead and try! If Ephesians 3:20-21 is true (and it is), there is no way you can get ahead of Him: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."If you can think it, then God is already thinking bigger. Dream big and then step up to see what happens. Give yourself permission to move out, knowing that you can't get ahead of God and you won't fully please Him until you act in faith, faith that your time is now to do the will of God. In your newfound freedom of your faith's power, I trust you will have a great week!