In one of the most fascinating accounts in the Old Testament, the King of Aram laid siege to Samaria. This brings great famine and horrible living conditions. People, in their hunger, are reduced to selling a Donkey’s head for 2 lbs of silver. Another “food source” is a ½ pint of dove’s dung sold for 2 oz. silver. And there is a horrifying story of two women who agreed to eat their own children in order to survive.
On the outside of the city gate were four people who were used to living in crisis – four lepers. They were at a dead end, literally. They conferred among themselves and decided that if they stayed at the city gate, they would die. Any kindness that might have come their way in normal circumstances was gone. They could go into the city, which was unlawful in their condition, and they would be killed. A third option offered only a slim chance of survival – they could surrender to the Arameans. That is what they decided to do.
Unknown to the lepers, the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the approaching sound of chariots and horses of a great army. They fled for their lives, leaving behind food, coins, clothing, and all of their valuables. Walking up to the camp expecting to be taken prisoner, the lepers found themselves alone. Instead of surrendering to an enemy, the lepers found food, riches, clothing. They hid some of it away for themselves, but realized that what they were doing was not right. This is good news and it needed to be shared with the hurting people of Samaria. So that’s what they did. We probably cannot comprehend the gratitude of the lepers or of the Samaritans, but I would like to use their story to illustrate three components for life – how to live in gratitude.
They Had A Common Struggle. They had banded together to support and help one another in their deadly disease, leprosy. This may have been the only thing they had in common. In the church, we all have a common struggle with sin and allowing God to work in our lives to move us into holier paths. In our relationship with the world, we ought to be alongside the world in their struggle against sin, assisting them in finding in Jesus the only hope for their condition.
They Had A Common Sympathy. (2 Kings 7:9). They understood suffering and certainly understood the suffering of Samaria. It was this sympathy that moved them to know that what they were doing was not right and they should tell the others where to find food (sympathy + they thought something might happen to them if they didn’t!). In the church we are to have a common sympathy among fellow disciples. We sing ‘sometimes we laugh together, sometimes we cry’. We are to weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice. In our relationship wiht the world, we should also have a sympathy toward their plight. It is not right to sit here consuming while they die.
They Had A Common Significance. (2 Kings 7:16). They brought about a marvelous change to the lives of suffering people. There is no record of their names. No one came to thank them. They are overshadowed by the bigger story. Yet they were so significant! We are to bring about change in the lives of each other.We are to bring relief and help to our community.
Having a spirit of gratitude for what we have found moves us to …
– Struggle alongside others who are hurting
– Love and care for others
– Act on behalf of others.
Sermon notes from this past Sunday. The audio did not work this week for some reason!