An Audacious Miracle!
The city was surrounded by the enemy and slowly but surely starving to death. Donkey heads were being sold on the streets for food. Even little children were being fought over by parents to be eaten as food. Humanity had sunk to its lowest possible level. It could not get any worse.
A local preacher confronted the city leadership with a message. “By this time tomorrow, there will be so much food that bushels of flour will be sold on the streets for pennies.” One leader stood to question such a bold prophecy and the preacher pointed his bony old finger in his direction and replied: “You’ll see it with your own eyes, but you will never taste any of it!”
What a prediction: A city going from famine to feast in 24 hours? From donkey head soup to a chicken in every pot? Does it sound like election year politics with too many empty promises? Who is this preacher trying to kid? There would have to be a military victory followed by an economic miracle and all occurring in one day! Who could possibly accomplish all of this?
Meanwhile, in another part of the city, near the outside wall were four men with leprosy, a gruesome disease believed to be highly contagious. Anyone with leprosy was considered an outcast from society. These poor men could not even remain in the city to starve with the rest of the people. They were shunned, feared and abandoned. It doesn’t get any worse than a starving leper!
But as they are gathered around campfire trying to stay warm, one leper had an idea. “Why should stay here and just die? Let’s go to the enemy camps outside the gate and surrender? If they spare us, we might get some food and live. If they kill us…hey we’re dying anyway!” They all agreed, so in the middle of the night, four starving lepers shuffled and hobbled their way down the hill to the enemy camp to surrender and hopefully bum a free meal.
Here comes the miracle! The sound of their shuffling feet was somehow magnified to resemble the attack of a mighty army. The sleeping soldiers heard the noise, panicked and ran for their lives leaving their weapons, clothes and all of their food behind. What made these hardened soldiers run? The sound of four sick, starving lepers stumbling down the mountain to surrender. (Are you laughing yet? You really should be.)
As the lepers reached the camp they were greeted with silence and the inviting aroma of fresh pepperoni pizza. “It’s party time!” one shouted. They ate and drank, carried away piles of cash, new clothes and all the food they could eat. As dawn broke over the horizon, one of the lepers, feeling a twinge of remorse, said to the others: “We’re not doing right. This is a day of Good News and we are keeping it to ourselves. We must report this to the city.”
At first the city didn’t believe the lepers shouting outside the gate, but they sent a scouting party and found everything to be true. The enemy had run away leaving the whole lot behind. The gates were opened and everyone rushed out to eat and take away whatever could be found. Food was so plentiful that a bushel of flour could now be sold for pennies as predicted. The leader who originally questioned the preacher was assigned the duty of counting everything that was brought back. In the confusion, he was trampled to death, all as the preacher predicted.
Wild? Yes, but it’s true. (Well, not the pizza) Read 2 Kings 6:24 to 7:20. But Larry, what can we learn from this strange story?
- Tragedy is a part of life: The city is suffering horrifically just as you and I occasionally suffer.
- God is in the midst of our tragedy: God never abandons you.
- Ordinary Humans are often used by God to accomplish miracles: Four Lepers? Can you believe it?
- Our bold faith and willingness to take risks honor God: This means you.
Hearing this story gave me the courage to give up my business career and plunge boldly into the ministry. My prayer is that hearing this story inspires you to do something bold for God.
After all, if God can use four lepers to accomplish an audacious miracle, just think what can be done with you and me!