Saturday, July 15, 2017

Four lepers delivered before they begin


I am in preparation for a sermon on 2 Kings 7.  A date less than a week away is set. Final preparations are being made.  It is a blessing to dwell on a particular part of Scripture.
The Scripture contains a most startling indication of how God responds to faith.  God acts in immediate accord with the lepers.  

The four lepers set out to the enemy’s camp.  The lepers head off to the camp hoping that the enemy spares their lives.  God goes before the lepers.  God does not so much as shield the lepers as they go, but instead delivers them before they go.  A safe journey is paved for the lepers.  For, the enemy hears the sound of the chariots and horses of a great army (2 Kings 7:6).  The enemy assumes that Israel has hired an army of Hittites or Egyptians (2 Kings 7:6).  The sound, is not an amplification of the leper’s own steps, but instead God’s concurrent response to the commencement of the leper’s journey.  God applauds the leper’s faith and delivers them before they set out. God delivers the lepers for their choice of action and for acting that choice out rather than the actuality of the march upon the camp.  God’s angelic host encamped around the lepers and protected every step:
 
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
 
God’s delivery before the lepers set out is evident on studying the text.
 
An earlier post considered how the lepers started out to the enemy camp at dusk.  We learn of that in 2 Kings 7:5.  In that verse we see the story through a camera lens that is upon the lepers:
 
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. 
 
The Bible tells us of another occurrence that day at dusk.  This time the insight given is from the perspective of the enemy camp.  The camera lens is upon the enemy camp:
 
So they [the Aramean enemy] 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.
 
Now the period of dusk is typically quite short.  Dusk provides cover for movement to occur.  The lepers were likely to be quite weak from hunger.  They risked being sighted by the enemy and losing their lives prior to arriving at the camp.  It was better that there was no one in camp to observe the lepers from afar.  The lepers were broken people – people without access to the city of Samaria – people who had adopted the journey they were on as possibly the last act in the world.  Yet, God had caused the camp occupants to run.  And, the enemy ran not as the lepers approached, but instead as the lepers begun!
 
God rewards those who act in faith.  We should be like the lepers in that they had hope for a positive outcome in spite of their most humble circumstances.  With God, we do not need precision of knowing where we are going before we go: 
 
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place
 he would later receive as his inheritance,
obeyed and went,
even though he did not know where he was going.
 
Shalom,
Ozhamada


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