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  • Writer's pictureEli Schnell

Learning from the Lepers

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Our world would like for Christians to behave as though they are hopeless. They would like for Christians to be as depressed and melancholy as they are. Often a Christian who decides to smile and display happiness to his peers is met with sneers from those who see no reason for rejoicing. It is tempting to hide the smile and replace it with a blank stare that communicates one message: There’s nothing different about me, please move along. When we are tempted to hide God’s blessings under a mask, we must remember the example of the lepers in 2 Kings 7.

In 2 Kings 7, Samaria is under siege and the people have so little to eat that some even resorted to eating their children (2 Kings 6:28-29). There was no good food left to eat, and what was left was being sold at a greatly inflated price. In the gate sat four lepers who were considering their options. If they remained in the gate, they would die from starvation. If they went into the city, they would die from starvation. And so, when faced with the options of death or death, they decided to go to the surrounding army and either die by their hands quickly, or be accepted by them and live (2 Kings 7:3-4).

What happened next was astounding. In the camp of the enemy they found the possessions of the enemy, but not a single person to fear. And so these lepers began to enjoy the spoils of the war God had fought for them (2 Kings 7:5-8). After taking some of the clothes and food from the camp and hiding them away for themselves to keep, the lepers spoke to one another words we would do well to remember today:

“We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent; if we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let us go and tell the king’s household” (2 Kings 7:9)

Today, we have far greater news to tell than the existence of physical sustenance in a time of famine. Today, we carry the message of spiritual salvation in a time of hopeless condemnation. Today, we carry light to those in the dark, and eternal life to the sin-sick soul. If the lepers would have been punished for their silence over food, drink, and clothing, how much more will we be punished if we hide the blessed message God has entrusted to us? How much more severely will He treat us when we have hidden His message of hope and allowed the spiritually impoverished world to continue feeling besieged by an enemy God has already conquered?

Rather than hiding the blessings of God for fear that we would be rejected by a dying world, we need to consider, as did the lepers, what is right. In our case, as in theirs, it is right for us to share the hope and joy we have found in Christ with those who are under siege by sin.

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