Series 16

Study 10 A DAY OF GOOD TIDINGS

Studies in the Life of Elisha
by Francis Dixon

(Scripture Portion: 2 Kings 7: 1-15)

This study is based upon the story of the four lepers who made an amazing discovery and then felt compelled to share it with as many people as possible. In this incident we find solemn teaching concerning the desperate need of the spiritually famished multitudes around us and of our responsibility to tell them of the wonderful provision that God has made for their salvation. See the setting of the story in 2 Kings 7:1-11.

    Samaria was besieged by the Syrian army, and inside the city terrible things were happening –- see 2 Kings 6:24-31. The people were facing starvation, disease and death. Outside the city were four lepers, also starving. If they remained outside they would die; if they went to the Syrian camp they would probably be killed. What should they do? They decided to go to the Syrian camp. As they drew near they were amazed to find “not a man was there” (verse 5) –- but they found plenty of food, clothes, silver and gold…so they satisfied their hunger to the full (verse 8)! Then, they remembered the thousands who were dying inside the city while they had so much. Now read verses 9-11.

This story is a great challenge to those of us who have discovered Christ as the Bread of Life and who are surrounded by millions of famished, dying souls who are in danger of the second death (Revelation 20:12-15). Let us look at the words of the four lepers recorded in verse 9, and notice:-

1. THE PRIVILEGE WE ENJOY

“This is a day of good news!” said the lepers, and every Christian can say the same. Every day for 2000 years has been a day of good news, today included –- look up Luke 2:10-11; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 1:15. We are living in the Day of Grace, when sinners may be sure of a welcome if they will come to the Saviour (John 6:37); when He waits to be admitted into the hearts of men and women (Revelation 3:20); when “whoever wishes may come” (Revelation 22:17). In the mercy of God, we have heard the good news and are rejoicing in Christ –- and what a privilege it is when we remember that so many of the people we meet are starving, perishing (John 3:16)! They are inside the city, without God and without hope in the world, while we are saved and bound for the Heavenly City – this is the privilege we enjoy.

2. THE SIN WE COMMIT

“We’re not doing right……” said the lepers, “we are keeping it to ourselves……”; and this is true of multitudes of Christians who are committing the sin of silence, indeed, the crime of silence! How guilty the church has been down the years! It is 2000 years since Jesus came to Bethlehem and later died on Calvary, yet there are still many millions of souls who have never heard of His love. Thousands of Christians go to church each Sunday and sing of God’s great salvation, but during the week they “keep it to themselves”. This, Christian, is the sin we commit. By our silence we sin against the Lord who depends upon us to proclaim the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19); we sin against the souls for whom Christ died and who need Him so desperately (1 John 2:2), and we condemn ourselves for our sinful selfishness and expose ourselves to a dreadful danger, of which the four lepers remind us.

3. THE DANGER WE FACE

“We’re not doing right……” said the lepers. “If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us.” What is the result of our failure to evangelise? When we “keep it to ourselves” it means fearful loss for the souls around us, for if we do not go to them they will certainly die –- spiritually (Romans 6:23). Also, if we “keep it to ourselves” it means fearful loss and punishment for ourselves –- please read the solemn words in Ezekiel 33:7-9. David had this in mind when he prayed –- Psalm 51:14-15, and referred to the guilt that rests upon the soul who keeps silent when he should speak out. This danger was also referred to by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. The sin of silence will result in inevitable “loss” at the Judgment Seat of Christ. How we have failed in the matter of personal evangelism! What can we do about it?

4. THE ACTION WE MUST TAKE

This is indicated in the last part of verse 9 and verses 10-11.

  1. 1. There must be DETERMINED action. Listen to the four men: “Let’s go at once……” If one Christian won ten souls for Christ this year, and those ten each won ten in the next year, these hundred then winning ten each in the third year, and so on, the result would be that in the tenth year ten thousand million souls would have been saved, and before the completion of the tenth year the full population of the world would be gathered in!
  2. 2. There must be UNITED action. “Let’s go……” said the lepers. They would do this thing together. It is wonderful what one dedicated man can do, but how much more can a whole church of dedicated witnesses do for the salvation of souls! Look up Mark 2:1-5 (particularly noticing
    verse 3).
  3. 3. There must be SACRIFICIAL action. Notice the word in verse 9 is “go”, not “wait”! –- look up Matthew 28:19. Such “going” involves sacrifice. If, for example, the developing world is to hear, then fellows and girls must be prepared to leave the comforts of home, their good jobs, and go…… Who is prepared for this?
  4. 4. There must be VOCAL action. Notice the word “report” in verse 9. This is something we can all do. Why do we find it so hard to tell of all that our dearest Friend has done for us? Will you obey Mark 5:19 today?
  5. 5. There must be URGENT action. The lepers said, “If we wait……some punishment will result.” The time is short……the lost are dying……the Lord is coming……the opportunity is going – look up John 9:4.

See what happens when Christians are willing to “go and tell”. In verses 9-12 we are told that the four lepers told the city gatekeepers, who in turn shouted the news and it was reported in the palace. See how quickly the news spread!

Closing Thought: Acts 5:40-42.