Life can become difficult very fast and often when we least expect it. Everything seems to be sailing along then “boom”; life unravels in a matter of moments. That’s how it must have felt for the King of Samaria. One day he was collecting taxes, eating beautifully prepared food and dreaming about his wealth and power, then the next day his city lay surrounded by the armies of Ben-Hadad, King of the Amareans. The siege dragged on so long and people became so desperate, that mothers began to eat their children. The King had a choice. He could have cried out to God for deliverance, but instead, he decided on an irrational plan to kill the prophet Elisha. He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.” 2 Kings 6: 31 It’s interesting how often, when we are in a bad situation, we walk away from God instead of running to Him. We become illogical and throw all the evil things that happen to us at the feet of God as if He is the cause of our problems. Could the King of Samaria really think that killing God’s prophet would solve his problems and make the Amareans go away?
When the King of Samaria shows up to kill Elisha, God has a message for him. He tells the King that this time tomorrow the siege will be lifted and the Amareans will be gone. Food will be plentiful, and prosperity and peace will return to the Kingdom once again.
I want us to think about this for a moment. What has the king done to break the siege? He has hidden behind his walls feeling abandoned and sorry for himself while his people starve to death. He gives up on God and blames Him for the siege. Then, he wants to kill God’s prophet and cut himself off from hearing the will of God. He never once called on God to deliver the city or had the courage to venture out and fight the invaders while trusting in God for victory. Yet, in spite of all the kings’ bad choices, God promises to deliver the city from her enemies.
How does God save the city? That night He causes the Amareans to hear the sounds of an attacking army and they flee in panic. Then he uses four outcasts who suffer from leprosy. They huddle around the city gate, and as food becomes scarce, they realize they must do something or else they will die. They decide to go to the Amareans camp and beg for food. If they are fed they live, and if they don’t receive food they are going to die anyway. They go to the camp, and to their surprise, find that the army has fled back across the Jordan River leaving all their food and wealth behind. Just as Elisha said, the next day food was cheap and plentiful once again.
Do we trust in God when things go downhill? Do we call on Him for aide, or, like the King of Samaria, try to place the cause of our troubles on His shoulders? Do we spend more time feeling sorry for ourselves while trying to appoint blame, or do we seek solutions?
We are created with free will, and the decisions we make in life are ours and we live with the consequences. Unfortunately, when we make unwise choices, often people are hurt. Let’s be honest, we know the difference between right and wrong. Our wrong choices are often conscious decisions without any thought of the consequences. But, just because we make wrong choices doesn’t mean God abandons us. He is there to heal our wounds and guide us home. The choice is ours.