If We Have Good News, How Can We Keep Silent?
The Israeli capital city of Samaria was besieged by the Syrians (2 Kings 6:24). Being surrounded by armed forces, no food or supplies could come in and the situation was quickly becoming desperate. Food was becoming so scarce that a good amount of silver was being paid for a donkey’s head (one of the most inedible parts of the donkey). Bird droppings were even being sold to starving citizens (2 Kings 6:25). Most horrifying of all was when Israel’s wicked king discovered that two women had made a deal by which they would murder and cannibalize their own sons (2 Kings 6:28-29; compare Lev. 26:29; Deut. 28:53). This account is a reminder to us that under the right conditions there is no limit to what the depraved heart of man will do.
There were four lepers who lived by the gate of the city (2 Kings 7:3). These men weighed their options. If they stayed in the city they would surely die the slow and agonizing death of starvation. If they left the city they would probably die at the hand of the enemy, but at least it would be a hasty death by the sword (2 Kings 7:4). There was the slim chance that they could sneak into the enemy camp by night and steal some food. "We’ll probably die anyway, so at least it’s worth a try." When they came into the camp, to their great surprise they found it vacant. God had miraculously caused the Syrian army to hear noises which caused them to flee for their lives, leaving most of their food and supplies behind. (2 Kings 7:5-7). At first the four lepers acted selfishly. They satisfied their own hunger with the abundant food that was all around the enemy’s deserted camp. Then they took other treasures from the camp and hid them, hoping to enrich themselves later.
Soon, however, they realized their selfishness, changed their minds, and began thinking of their starving fellow citizens: "Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household" (2 Kings 7:9). We have good news which can save many lives. How can we hold our peace? How can we keep quiet about it? The lepers did the right thing. They went to the city and announced the good news. Lives were saved.
Today men and women are starving to death. They desperately need the Bread of Life (John 6:35). We who have tasted that the Lord is gracious (Psalm 34:8; 1 Pet. 2:3) and who have feasted on the bread from heaven have good news which others need to hear. How can we hold our peace? How can we keep quiet? How can we remain silent? "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Cor. 9:6).
If you were a medical researcher and you discovered a cure for cancer, would you keep quiet about it, or would you tell the world? Believers in Christ know of a disease which is far worse than cancer: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (incurably sick)" (Jer. 17:9). There is no human remedy, but there is a divine remedy, found in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. How we thank God for the person or persons who were willing to share the good news with us when we were lost in sin. May God give us the courage and boldness to share this good news with those around us who are desperately sick.
Life is short;
Death is sure;
Sin the cause;
Christ the cure!