Sermons

Falling Prices and Unexpected Blessings

by Reagan McClenny

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Scripture: 2 Kings 6-7 Nov 26, 2023

Through the story of the four starving lepers who find an abandoned enemy camp filled with riches, Reagan McClenny illustrates how we are all sinners in desperate need of God's grace, how God forgives and blesses us with salvation through Christ beyond what we could imagine, and how having received this gift we must proclaim the good news to others.

Transcript

If you have your Bible with you, would you take it out and turn to 2 Kings chapter 6?

And if you'll make the effort to turn there most of our lesson tonight, and certainly the outline for our lesson tonight, will come from 2 Kings chapter 6 and 7, 2 Kings chapter 6 and 7. And if you didn't get one of those handouts in the rack on the foyer and you'd like one of those. A couple of gentlemen are going around handing those out and you can follow along and fill in the blanks as we go.

There have been several so called black days over the course of the history of the stock market where stocks dropped significantly to such a degree that it really impacted the economy in a very negative way. There was the original, what was called Black Friday, in 1869, and because of manipulation of the prices of gold and falling of the price of gold, the entire stock market ended up falling just over 20%.

On that one day in 1869, the original Black Friday. There was, as we're probably a little more familiar with, in 1929, there was what? What's come to be known as Black Tuesday, and then Black Tuesday signaled the beginning of what was then called the Great Depression, which continued into World War II. And perhaps some economics people believe that we would not have recovered from that were it not for World War II, or it would have taken much, much longer.

And there were lots of people like this guy right here who lost everything because they had all their money in the stock market. Maybe you already knew this, but the largest single day drop is, is actually from 1987 a day that comes to be known as Black Monday, and the stock market fell more than 22% on that single day in 1987.

But as significant as those price drops were, they are nothing compared to what is found in two Kings Chapter six. Samaria, the capital city of Israel, is under siege by the neighboring kingdom of Syria. And the text describes the inflation of food prices during this siege, in these terms beginning in verse 24 of 2 Kings chapter 6.

2 Kings chapter 6 and verse 24. And it happened, after this, that Ben Hadad, king of Syria, gathered all his army. And went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria, and indeed they besieged it until a donkey's head was sold for eight shekels of silver. And one fourth of a cob of dove droppings for five shekels of silver.

Now, I've never had donkey head. I know that there are some in our area who'll eat pig's feet and those sorts of things, but I don't think a donkey's head is very appetizing, and yet here it's selling for eight eighty shekels of silver. But even more, it talks about this cob of, of dove droppings. If I understand correctly, that's about One quarter of a pint of dove dung is selling for five shekels of silver.

People were so desperate that that's what they were trying to buy in order to have at least a little something to eat. The situation is so bad that we see later in the text that women are eating their own children. And the king of Israel at this time is enraged by this, and he sends messengers to kill the Lord's prophet, Elisha.

And this is Elisha's response in 2 Kings chapter 7, beginning in verse 1. Then Elisha said, Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord, Tomorrow, about this time, a sea of fine flowers shall be sold for a shekel, a single shekel. And two seers of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria. So an officer, on whose hand the king leaned, answered the man of God and said, Look, if the Lord would make the 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. Elisha predicts falling prices and unexpected blessings, and, and it seems incredible. It certainly seems so to this messenger from the king. This idea that prices could fall this much from From one quarter pint of dove dung for five shekels of silver to the equivalent of 64 pints of fine flour selling for one shekel of silver.

That is a price drop unlike we have ever seen at any time or place in history. How could prices fall like that? What would cause prices to fall like that? Well, only the intervention of the Lord. And the officer from the king doubted that even if God opened the windows to heaven, as he put it, so that God could just directly rain down blessings from on high, even then, he thought, such a turnaround could not occur.

But God makes His blessings available to us, as He did them. In ways and to degrees that, that we could never imagine with our own reasoning, with our own thinking. Even, or maybe especially, to the poorest of the poor. Which comes to pass in the rest of 2nd Kings 7 with an account of four lepers beginning in verse 3 of 2nd Kings chapter 7.

And what we're going to do this evening is we're going to examine what, what I'm calling a true parable of these four lepers. I, I would suggest this evening that these Four lepers are like us in the most important ways. And that 2 Kings chapter 7 provides a picture of our spiritual life in these four lepers.

All the way from our new birth in conversion with the blessings that God gives us, to proclaiming the good news to others in our evangelism. Their story is in many ways our story. And they provide this real life parable of what our spiritual life should look like and what the Lord can provide for us if we are willing to submit ourselves to Him.

Now, on the surface, as we read through this, maybe it doesn't seem like we have much in common with them at all. But I'm going to suggest that, in reality, we should be just like them in three spiritual areas. That we are like the lepers, first of all, in sin, as desperate outcasts seeking a last resort.

You're still there in 2 Kings chapter 7, so read with me in verses 3 Kings chapter 7, verses 3 and 4. 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? 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. They find themselves in this kind of between a rock and a hard place sort of situation. They're leprous, so they can't actually be in the city.

And they're like, well, what good would it be for us to be in the city anyway? There's a famine there. There's nothing to eat there. And, and if we stay here, we're going to die of hunger. So, so let's just throw ourselves on the mercy of the Syrians. The worst thing that could happen? is that we're going to die.

You know what's going to happen anyway? We're going to die. So why not make this last ditch effort to try and do something different? And so they're desperate outcasts. They're seeking what is a last resort. And may I suggest this evening that for us to truly know the blessings that come from God, this, this is where we have to find ourselves.

This is how we have to see ourselves. We're going to die anyway. We have nothing to lose, so let's give it a try. When Jesus introduced His kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount, and He is describing what a citizen of that kingdom looks like, He begins in a way that was totally anathema, I think, to what the Jews expected from this great kingdom of God that was promised.

They were expecting power and might and all of these sorts of things that we actually talked about in Bible class this morning. But Jesus begins this way. In Matthew chapter 5, verses 2 through 6, He opened His mouth and tossed Him, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst. For righteousness, for they shall be filled. I heard one preacher describe this as, Nothing wins like losing in God's kingdom. And it is only when we see ourselves, when we mourn over our sin, when we are poor in our spirit, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness beyond ourselves, it is only then that we can become citizens of God's kingdom and children of God who are filled with the blessings that come from Him.

It is when we are, metaphorically, at the end of our rope and see our sin, that we turn to God as we should. When we are weak, Paul says, then we are strong. When nothing else has truly provided the fulfillment that we seek, when our only solution left is to turn to God Himself, it is only then that we receive these blessings from God.

I might put it this way. Until we are willing to give up our pride and self sufficiency, our autonomy over our own life, and cast ourselves on the mercy and grace of God, we will never receive the full measure of God's blessing.

I think I've seen this more and more as I've gotten a little bit older. And, and I see people that I know, and people that I love, and they've not accepted Jesus as Lord and Christ, and, and their life is just okay, you might, you might put it. There's some good things, and there's some bad things in their life, and yet, for many of these people, they're living what amounts to a pretty righteous life, you know?

They're, they're doing a lot of good things, they're, they're pretty generous with others maybe they don't do a lot of the things that we consider really sinful things, and you think, what is holding this I think so often it's this very idea. That in order to receive blessings from God, we have to throw ourselves on the mercy of the court.

We have to give up the autonomy over our own life. Our self sufficiency, that I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps. That I can do this myself. Until we admit to ourselves, I can't do it myself, I need God's help. It is only then that we will receive it. It is only then that we can receive the full measure of the blessings that He promises.

to those who come to him in humble submission. And this is so much like a parable, told by Jesus and familiar to us. The parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. I preached from 2 Kings chapter 6 three weeks ago. I preached from Luke 15 two weeks ago. And preaching those two lessons in quick succession with a week in between, I realized that those two texts...

You think about God's grace and mercy and then that story of the prodigal son. Those two texts come together right here in 2 Kings chapter 7. That's one of the beautiful things about Bible study is that, that you make these connections just by reading through God's word and seeing them come together.

So here's what I want us to do for the rest of the lesson. Mark your spot in 2 Kings chapter 7. That's going to be our outline. But what I want us to see is that for every single one of these points, Jesus makes the same point in his, we might say, made up parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15.

So turn to Luke chapter 15 and mark your spot there and we will go back and forth between these two. And again, if you'll make the effort to do that, all the other scriptures that we'll reference tonight, will be up on the screen behind me. So, 2 Kings chapter 7, Luke chapter 15.

This son, you remember, willfully separates himself from his father, like we do when we sin. And after wasting his inheritance, he finds himself at the end of his rope, with nowhere else to turn, and notice what we see in verse 14. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.

Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed the swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?

I will arise and go to my father and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants. We see that in his time of need, the world had abandoned him. And he found himself very much like these lepers, as an outcast.

And he was seeking a last resort by going to the very place that he was so eager to leave. Going back to his father. And in our time of need, don't we know, in fact we made this point a couple of weeks ago, the things of the world abandon us and cannot sustain us. The world is... Is the ultimate tease, the, I don't know if we have any used car salesman in here, but the sleazy used car salesman, you know, not the good one, Rick, don't take offense.

The sleazy one, right? The sleazy used car salesman who's using underhanded tactics to try and get you into a car that's not as good as what they say. It's the telemarketer, maybe, who's making a quota, and they're going to make that quota by any means necessary trying to get you to buy something you don't really need.

And what the world always does is that it over promises and under delivers. And when we come looking for the refund... The Scammer is long gone. tHis past Friday was a different kind of Black Friday, wasn't it? With falling prices, the start of the holiday shopping season, where stores offer deep discounts on various items.

We were driving home on, on Friday from, from Indiana. 14 and a half hours up there, let me tell you, that's quite a trip. So we're driving home on Friday, and we stop in Kentucky, and we're gonna eat a little supper. And we stop at this sandwich place, and there's this young lady, college student, who's making our sandwiches, and, and as I usually do, I strike up a conversation, and, and in the course of the conversation, she says, Oh, I'm just so tired today, and I'm like, well, Well, what'd you do?

Did you get up this morning for Black Friday? And she's like, yes, I did. And so she tells me this story. She says she got up and she was in line at Walmart at 4. 30. That already sounds miserable to me, doesn't it to you? She's in line at Walmart at 4. 30 because, and I've seen this on the football games, Walmart was running a deal.

A 43 inch flat screen TV for 98. Raise your hand if you saw that ad. Anybody else see that? I mean, that's a pretty good deal. I don't know if it's... Like 4. 30 a. m. kind of deal, but it's pretty good. And as a college student, I mean, that's the only way she could afford it. So she gets in line at 4. 30, she waits, the store opens, and I say, Well, did you get one?

And she said, No. I went to the back, and I didn't have enough for everybody who wanted one. And two guys got in a fist fight, so I left before the cops showed up. You know, that's, that's the way it is with the world. These grand promises of how wonderful everything is going to be, and that you're going to get all of these things, and you're not going to have to pay very much in order to get it, and it over promises and under delivers.

And then when we see the actual reality of living our life in sin, when we see the actual reality of pursuing the things that the devil offers, we realize that there is not the satisfaction here that I was promised. And maybe... Maybe like the prodigal son, we finally hit rock bottom. And we see, we see that things are not as good as what we thought.

But I think sometimes, sometimes we have trouble reaching that rock bottom. How many people, especially young people, perhaps, have gone down the path of the promises of the world only to find out the hard way that the world never really delivers on its promise? And yet, I wasn't even asking for hands, and how bad is it?

Some people raised their hands. Many of us know what that is like. And yet what the devil wants to do is he wants to tease us just enough to keep us in that situation. The devil's liking is for us to be like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Is that too dated of a reference? You know, the Thanksgiving Day special and Lucy time and time again tells him it's going to be different this time.

You know, it's Thanksgiving. You know, this is a tradition. It's an honor to you. And Charlie Brown rightly says... You're just gonna move it like you do every other time. No, no, I'm not gonna do it. And he goes to run and kick it and what happens? She moves it, he falls on his back. And, and yet, so often what we do, we get up again and the devil says, look, kick it this time, it'll be different this time.

And we do the exact same thing. Did you know, I looked this up in preparation for the lesson kind of by accident. Did you know that there's one occasion where Charlie Brown actually did kick the football? But it wasn't Lucy holding it. And as long as the devil is holding the football, we're not gonna kick it.

We're not gonna get what he promises.

But we have to see that. We have to come to that realization. As the text in Luke chapter 15 says, like the prodigal son, we have to... We have to come to ourselves. He came to himself. When? Why? When he saw the situation for what it really was. He hit rock bottom, as they say, and he said, I want to eat the pig's food.

I used this image from my lesson a couple of weeks ago and some of you said, that was kind of gross. And that's the point. It is. But I really don't think that But this is what the devil really does. The devil doesn't want us to hit rock bottom. He wants to keep us in that in between space, where it's bad, bad enough to not be satisfied, but not bad enough to actually turn to God.

It's bad, but it's not bad enough to do whatever is necessary to change. And until we open our eyes to see our true condition outside of Christ, isolated and separated from God, sinners, condemned, unclean, We will never seek Him as we should. And maybe part of the problem is that too many, too many wearing the name of Christ, just view Christianity as being just a little bit better than what we were before.

Not, instead, as the Bible teaches, as a total and complete change from who we were to who we are in Jesus Christ. A change so different that, that it's like a new birth. A change so different that we're a new creation. I am not who I was before. That person has been crucified. And instead, I live a life that is devoted to Jesus Christ, first and only.

The prodigal son saw it the way it really was, and so he threw a Hail Mary. He swallowed his pride, and he went back to the father. And what did the father do? What God always does for the penitent. The same thing that we find there with these lepers in 2 Kings chapter 7. Now I spent a little extra time on this first point because it really doesn't matter the next two points if we don't see this first one.

If we don't see the need to see ourselves in this way as desperate outcasts seeking a last resort. But I would suggest that we're also like these lepers in forgiveness. When we actually do come from God that we're Able to discover the unexpected blessings that only God can provide. If you're back in the text in 2 Kings chapter 7, notice beginning in verse 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. 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. And 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.

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. 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 back and hid them.

And they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went back, and hid it. Put yourself in their shoes. What must it have been like? You're starving to death, literally starving to death. You walk into this camp expecting probably to be killed. And you go into, you go into a tent and there's this food and silver and gold and you eat and you're satisfied and you take some back to where you live and you come back and you go into another tent and you do the same thing.

How incredible must that have been? To gather riches like you've never seen before. and come back for more, to eat freely when you were literally starving. I think we should see from this is that God provides for us in a way, in ways we did not expect and could not imagine. He tells us that's what can happen beforehand.

Elisha predicted this, remember, in 2 Kings 7 and verse 1. But it's our choice whether to believe Him or not, to truly have faith. And we'll come back to the idea in verse 2 of chapter 7 that this messenger from the king did not have faith. He said, this isn't possible. It couldn't happen. But faith is found before something is sight.

And there is a day coming when every knee will bow to Jesus, because it will be sight on the Judgment Day. But the question is, will we bow our knee before that day comes? Do I believe that God will provide these blessings in my life? If I come to Him, do I believe parable after parable, teaching after teaching from Jesus that tells me the true value of the kingdom and spiritual things?

Do I believe parables like what's found in Matthew chapter 13 and verse 44? Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid, and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. The worth of forgiveness in Christ is worth giving up everything else and doing so with joy for what we receive.

Think about how it's described. So great a salvation, if indeed that, if we have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Forgiveness and eternal life. Life and life more abundantly. Rather than, like the world, over promising and under delivering It's just the opposite.

You know, we are only promised in this life, in this physical life as Christians, we're only promised a life of peace, uh, inner peace, contentment, a life of purpose, where our physical needs are always met. That's the promise. And yet, how often does God over deliver in this life? Blessing us far beyond just the things that are promised to us.

Where we are given so much more than just our physical needs. But even more, we are promised that our spiritual needs are met beyond all that we could ask or even think. We are told there will be difficulty. And even suffering in this life, that's the promise. But we are also promised that we will have a life of hope in this world, and one in the world to come.

Again, I think we see the parallel with the, the prodigal son. Turn back to Luke chapter 15. Let's read verses 20 through 24 together. Luke chapter 15 and verse 20 through 24.

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, Father, I've sinned against heaven, and in your sight I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Remember in his little practice speech what he says next, Make me like one of your hired servants.

I mean, that's the whole rationale between, behind coming back to the father to begin with. My father might have pity on me, he might make me just one of the hired servants, and then I'll have something to eat. He doesn't even get to that part. Before the father does this. But the father said to his servants.

Bring out the best robe and put it on him. And put a ring on his hand. Sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it. And let us eat and be merry. For this my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found. And they began to be merry. The son came home. And what did he discover?

If not the unexpected blessings that only his father, that is God, could provide. What did he want the father to do? Make him a servant. But what did the father do? Restored him as a son, and threw a party of celebration. Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, God, God does not want to punish us, He wants to bless us.

And He can, and He will, if we submit to His will instead of our own, in every aspect of our lives. That's what God requires. It's an all or nothing proposition. We have to submit to Him in our jobs, in our marriages, with our children, with our parents, with our finances, in our stewardship, in our behavior, in our thoughts, in our motives, with our friends, with our family, with our enemies, with our brethren, in all of it.

If it relates to life, our question should only be, Does this please God?

And the way God accomplishes this blessing is the unexpected part. Like the Lord told Habakkuk in Habakkuk chapter 1 in verse 5. These three passages I'll put on the screen for you. Habakkuk chapter 1 in verse 5. For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.

That's the way God works. He does things beyond what we could expect. In this case, God accomplished this great blessing by sending us His only begotten Son. He sent us Christ crucified, to the Jews, the stumbling block, to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who were called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

To us who are being saved, that's what Christ's sacrifice is. The Jews didn't expect that. The Gentiles ridiculed it. But if we accept it, if we see this, this is the greatest blessing that we could receive. And so I ask, as Paul asked, God did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

He did give His Son. He will give us all things. And He does. So what now? We receive these two things from God. Well, We're like the lepers in one final way. We should be like the lepers in gratitude. Realizing our responsibility to share the good news with others. Turn back, if you would, 2 Kings chapter 7.

Let's look there in verse 9.

Then they said to one another, 2 Kings 7 and verse 9, We are not doing right. This day is a day of gospel. It's a day of good news. And we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment, some calamity will come upon us. Now, therefore, come, let us go and tell the king's household. So they went and called to the gatekeepers of the city and told them, saying, We went to the Syrian camp, and surprisingly, Boy, that's an understatement of the century, isn't it?

Surprisingly, no one was there. Not a human sound, only horses and donkeys tied and the tents intact. They come back and they tell others what they have seen. And in verse 9 we see two really good reasons for evangelism. that are found in this verse. Number one, it is such good news that we should want to share it.

They see that to themselves. This is a day of good news. And because it's good news, we should share that news. We should want to share it. What's the best news that you've ever received? The best news you've received in your whole life? Maybe it's something like I'm cancer free, or we're engaged, or it's a girl, or they're graduating, or the war is over.

Do we hide news like that? I remember when we told my mom that we were expecting Madison. When Stephanie and I got married we went to my parents You know, her parents already had grandkids and so forth, but my, my parents didn't have any. So we went to my parents and we said, Five years. Don't start asking us about grandkids for five years.

Give us five years, and after five years I'm not promising there's gonna be grandkids, but you can start asking after five years. And so three years in, it was at Christmastime, we wrapped up this present and inside was a little note, uh, and my mom opened it, and she starts reading this little poem, and it ends with your first grandchild.

And so she's reading along, reading along, and she goes, GASP! And she ran and got her glasses, just to make sure she wasn't reading it incorrectly. She puts them on. And she was so excited. So what she did was, she just didn't tell anybody. I mean, the baby came and went. She didn't tell any... No! She told everybody who was willing to listen, and a bunch of people who didn't want to listen, that she was gonna have a grandchild, right?

It was great news! It was wonderful news! And she wanted to share it with others. Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious? Do you know what it is to be a child of God? Have you experienced the blessings that only come with a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ? It's the best news there is. And because the news is so great, we should be looking to share that news with everyone.

This news is better. Whatever the best news you've received in your life, this news is better. But then the reality on the other side is, and they saw this, we will be punished if we don't share this good news. It's not like, you know, We have a choice in this deal if we want to be right with God. Sharing the gospel is a requirement for kingdom citizens.

And it starts with our attitude toward the news, but it continues with our attitude toward the lost. And now I'm reminded of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. Turn back there one more time to Luke chapter 15. This will be the last time we turn back there. Luke chapter 15, beginning in verse 25.

Now his older son was in the field, and he came near to the house and heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what these things meant. And he said to him, Your brother is come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf. Verse 28.

But he was angry, and he would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. The father went to the younger son, and now he goes to the older son. And he went to both of them. So he answered and said to his father, Lo, these many years I have been serving you, I never transgressed your commandment at any time.

And yet you never gave me a young goat that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours, Isn't that what we do as parents when our children act up? Stephanie, your daughter did this, right? This son of yours, never mind it was his brother, This son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots.

You killed the fatted calf for him. And he, the father said to him, son, child, literally you are always with me and all that I have is yours. It is right that we should make Mary and be glad for your brother was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found. As we've said before, this is really the point that Jesus is making in the context with the Pharisees and the scribes who didn't want these other people to be saved and we have to be careful.

That we don't have the same kind of self righteousness in our own salvation that we look down on others and refuse to share the gospel with him. To the older brother, the blessings were only for him. He doesn't want to share it with his brother. No rejoicing that another will share in his blessings.

Only jealousy and contempt. He doesn't deserve it, the brother thinks to himself. But if it were a matter of deserving, no one would receive the blessings from God. But on the other hand, the lepers thought to themselves, How can we not share it? They're dying of hunger too in the city. And certainly they could have justified themselves in not telling others.

They weren't good to us, maybe. They excluded us. They put us outside the camp. We couldn't even go into the city. They mistreated us. They'll hear it from somebody else eventually. It's not our job, not our responsibility. We have time to wait till morning light or tomorrow. And maybe we say the same things.

But you know the only thing that all of that... That fluff minutia means, it means that there are still people who need to hear the good news. And we have that good news to share with them, to proclaim to them. You know what should give us confidence in sharing that good news? If the message is great enough, people are willing to listen.

These four lepers, lepers come back to the city, they yell at the watchman and say, hey, the camp is abandoned. And the people there on the wall, they don't say, whatever, you know, we're not listening to it. To hear news like that, what do they do immediately? Go back, go back one more time to 2 Kings chapter 7,

verse 11. And the gatekeepers called out and they told it to the king's household inside. Even lepers, there's food you say? Yeah, we'll check it out to see if you're really telling the truth or not. And we may not have exactly the right words to say in exactly the right way. I think for so much of my life I think I've been I've been working on that.

We should work on that. But I think I've been too concerned about having just the right words, that Reagan's gonna find the right words to try and get people to see what it is that God wants them to do. And really, that's the wrong way to look at it, because the power is not in the messengers. The power's in the message.

Something that seems too good to be true, but isn't. The one thing and the one being in life Who truly delivers on His promises. And so we don't have to be some sort of salesman. We don't have to use gimmicks and prizes and deceit. Or soften the gospel message for men and women to come and hear and be saved.

Good and honest hearts are searching. And we just need to knock on the doors and sow the seed, open our hearts to love people, and open our eyes and ears to see and hear opportunities. Open our Bibles to show them what God's Word says, and then let God do the rest. Leave it between their hearts and God.

And we don't have to make anyone believe either. We are just under obligation to tell others, not force them to believe. The lepers told them the reality, the truth of what happened. And the rest of the chapter or the next number of verses is the people of the city, the gatekeepers, the king and his servants trying to figure out wrestling with, is this really true or not?

And initially they disbelief, this can't be true. It's a trick, it's a trap. But in verse 14, they go and see. They went and sought it out for themselves, and they found it. And eventually, they come to believe. Verse 15, And they went after them to the Jordan, and indeed all the road was full of garments and weapons, which the Syrians had thrown away in their haste.

So the messengers returned and told the king. And the people went out and plundered the tents of the Syrians. So a sea of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seas of barley for a shekel. According to the word of the Lord. They came to believe. But you know what is not mentioned here? The lepers. The lepers aren't mentioned again.

Because they've done their duty. They told others the good news. And others hear and obey because of their efforts. If you're here tonight and you're not yet a Christian, Oh, do I have good news for you. This kind of blessing is available.

But you know what's weird to me about this text? Lots of things are kind of weird about this text, I'll admit. You know what's especially strange? If the text ended here, it would end on such a high note. Everybody's excited, and yes, we're saved by God and what He has done, even these lepers. But that's not the way the passage ends.

Strangely, it ends instead with a warning in verses 17 through 20. Now, the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have a charge of the gate. But the people trampled him at the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. So it happened, just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, To sea of the barley for a shekel, and a sea of fine flour for a shekel, shall be sold tomorrow, about this time, in the gate of Samaria.

Then that officer had answered the man of God, as we read earlier, You know, even if God opened the windows of heaven, this wouldn't happen. And the man of God said, In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it. So it happened to him. For the people trampled him in the gate. And he died.

Why does it end that way? Well, as Paul says in Romans chapter 11 and verse 22, behold the goodness and the severity of God. God is good. He wants to save us, and he can and he will. But when we doubt God's power, when we disbelieve his message. We will not receive the blessings God provides. Instead, we will only receive heartbreak and punishment.

So are you willing to believe tonight? What's stopping you? Jesus is the only place to turn. So turn to Him in repentance. Put Christ on in baptism. And receive the greatest blessing that could be given of eternal life. And if we can help you to do that even tonight, come now while together we stand and while we sing.

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