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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 7

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-20

Chapter 7

And Elisha said, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, Tomorrow about this time they will be selling a bushel of fine flour for sixty-five cents, and two bushels of fine of barley for sixty-five cents, right in the gate of Samaria. Now [the prime minister,] the guy upon whom the king leaned, said to the prophet of God, if God would open up windows in heaven, could such a thing be? ( 2 Kings 7:1-2 )

Now it is interesting that so often we try to figure out how God can do His work. God gives us a glorious promise but I want to know how's He going to do it. I've got to be able to somehow figure it out in my mind. Now, the Bible says, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus our Lord" ( Philippians 4:19 ). Oh, that's great. But how is He going to supply? I've got the bills coming; how's He going to meet the bills this week? How's He going to do it? As though I need to know the methods. Now, I'm always trying to figure out how God can meet my needs. I'm always trying to figure out a way by which God might answer my prayers. And when I figure out a way by which God might answer them, then my prayers are usually direction prayers rather than direct prayers. My prayer turns into my solution. "O Lord, I've got it worked out. If You'll just do this and this and this, Lord, then it's going to come. It will happen."

But God doesn't always follow my directions. And that's where we have problems. Because if He isn't following my directions, then I get upset with Him. I don't think He wants to help me. I don't think He wants to answer my prayer. Why? Because He's not following my directions. I got it all worked out the way God's going to do it. Rather than just direct prayers, I'm telling God how to do His business.

And so this guy tried to figure out, rationalize how that, how in the world, when they're selling a donkey's skull for eighty pieces of silver. How in the world they going to be selling fine flour for sixty-five cents tomorrow. God can go around and open up windows of heaven and dump flour all over the place. And so mocking the promise of God. Now this is through unbelief. He mocked the promise of God because of his unbelief. Because he could not figure out in his mind a way by which God might do what God said He was going to do.

Now I often cannot figure out how God is going to do things, and that's when I really panic. As long as I can figure out a way by which God might do it, I'm usually in good shape. But when they've made the Reader's Digest drawing and my number wasn't drawn in the Grand Sweepstakes, now how God going to do it? He's failed me. I had it all worked out. All He had to do is pull my number out of the box. He couldn't see. Now, I want you to know that God has resources that you know nothing about, and God has ways of working of which you not have not even thought. God says, "My ways are not your ways. My ways are beyond your finding out. My thoughts are not your thoughts" ( Isaiah 55:8-9 ). "My ways are beyond your finding out" ( Romans 11:33 ).

It isn't up to me to discover or to know or to figure out how God is going to do His work. It's only to believe that God is going to work because He said He would. And if God says He's going to do it, He's going to do it. But this fellow through unbelief mocked the promise of God.

And the prophet said unto him, [Fellow, let me tell you something,] you'll see it but you won't eat it ( 2 Kings 7:2 ).

God's going to work in spite of your unbelief, but you're not going to partake. And that's one tragic thing about unbelief, so often it keeps you from partaking even after God has done His work. Now, God has done a glorious work of salvation for you. But many people have not partaken of that glorious work of God through unbelief. Unbelief keeps you from God's work in your life. And you can see the work of God, but not partake of it. You can see what God has done. He did what He promised He'd do. But you yourself cannot partake because of unbelief. Oh, how unbelief can rob you of the things of God and the blessings of God. You're going to see it but you won't eat it.

Now that night, outside of the gate of, or outside of the wall of Samaria,

There were four leprous men [living at the garbage dump] ( 2 Kings 7:3 ).

In those days leprosy was such a loathsome disease that the people were ostracized from the community, and they were forced to live apart from the community. When people approach them, they had to start crying out, "Unclean, unclean," so people wouldn't get too near. Now, these people usually lived outside of the city wall, outside of the area of the wall where the people would dump their garbage. And they would survive off of the garbage that was dumped over the wall. But the famine was so bad in Samaria they weren't dumping garbage. They were selling it. Nothing coming over the wall and these guys are really getting hungry. Of course, you can imagine what it is if they're eating babies in the city what it would be trying to survive off of what's thrown over the wall.

[These four guys sitting there starving to death], one of them looked with at the others and he said, [Fellows,] why just sit here 'til we die? ( 2 Kings 7:3 )

That's a good question. Why just sit here till we die? In other words, if I don't do anything, I'm going to die. Just sitting here, I'm going to die. Why just sit until I die?

Now there's no sense going into Samaria, for they're starving in Samaria. So they can't give us any food in there anyhow. Let's go over to the camp of the Syrians. And if they kill us, we haven't lost a thing because we're going to die anyhow. But it's possible that they'll have mercy on us and get us a crust of bread. So these four fellows were taking a venture, sort of, in faith. But it's on that philosophy "You've got nothing to lose and everything to gain." I mean, if they kill us what have we lost? We're going to die here anyhow. We're starving to death. So if they kill us, we haven't lost a thing. But they might feed us. We don't know. And so they headed toward the camp of the Syrians, four leprous men.

Now God worked a miracle. As these four leprous men were clanging down the road toward the camp of the Syrians, in that evening darkness the Syrians thought they heard the sound of chariots and horses and a multitude of men. And they said, "Oh, the king of Samaria has hired the Egyptians and they're coming up against us. Let's get out of here." And they started running. And the guy said, "Hey, where you going?" "Egyptians are coming!" Oh, you know, and they started off. And pandemonium broke out in the camp of Syria as the guys all took off running back towards the Jordan River, and across up into the Golan into Syria.

So by the time these four leprous men got to the first tent, there was nobody around. So one guy opened up the tent flap, he says, "Wow, look at that." Tables set with food. Man, these guys pounced on it, began to scarf it up. And some of the treasures that were lying around in the tent, the guys dug a hole, began to bury it. Someone ran to another tent. "Come on over here, another tent." And they ran over there and started grabbing things and burying them. One of the fellows suddenly stopped and said, "Wait a minute. We're doing wrong. We keep this up, mischief is going to come on us. For just right over close by in the city of Samaria people are starving to death tonight. And if we are out here and we just keep this to ourselves, and we just gorge ourselves but don't let them know, then mischief is going to happen to us. We better go back and tell them that there's plenty of food for everybody."

So they came back to the wall of Samaria and the guard was up there pacing back and forth looking for the Syrians, pulling his belt tight, feeling the hunger pang. These guys called up and they said, "Hey man, the Syrian camp is empty and there's plenty of food for everybody. Enough to feed the whole city." And so the guard ran to the king and he said, "I've just received a report. The Syrian camp is empty and there's plenty of food for everybody."

The king said, "It's a trap. Don't let anybody go out. Lock the gates. Those Syrians they're sly people. They know how hungry we are, so they've just pulled back into the bushes and are hiding back in the bushes and they're waiting for us to open the gate of the city and come flooding out. And as soon as we open the gate, then they'll come pouring in and they're going to wipe us out. Don't let anybody go."

Look again at the tragedy of unbelief. Here God has provided, just like He promised He would, but unbelief keeps them from even partaking of God's glorious provision. One fellow said, "King, there are five horses left in town that hadn't been eaten. Why don't you let five of us guys go out and we will scout around, see if we can find any of the Syrians." And the king said, "Alright, go." And so these guys got on the five remaining horses in town, and they went riding down towards the Jordan River, and they came back in the morning and said, "It's true, king, there's not a Syrian around on this side of the Jordan River. All the way to the Jordan River we found sandals and coats and stuff that they threw off so they could run faster. They're gone."

And so the king said to this guy that leaned, that he leaned upon, sort of his prime minister, who the day before said to the prophet of God, "If God would open the windows in heaven, could such thing be?" The king said, "You go down and you watch the gate as the people go in and out." So this guy went down to watch the gate and the people in their hurry and in their desire to get out trampled him to death. So the word of the prophet came to pass. He saw it, but he didn't eat it. The tragic price of unbelief. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Kings 7". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-kings-7.html. 2014.
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