Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof. — 2 Kings 7:2
George Müller (1805-1898) was a man of faith and prayer. When God put it in his heart to build orphanages for the many ragged children running wild in the streets of London, he had only two shillings (fifty cents) in his pocket. Although he did not make his wants known to anyone but God, over seven million dollars was sent to him for building and maintaining these orphan homes. No matter how pressing the need, George simply renewed his prayers to God for a solution, and either money or food always came in time to save the situation.
A well-known story is an example of his simple faith that God would provide. One morning the plates, cups, and bowls on the table of the orphanage were empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy provisions. The children were waiting for their morning meal, when Müller said, “Children, you know we must be in time for school.” Bowing his head, he said, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” As he spoke, there was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and said, “Mr. Müller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2:00 a.m. and baked some fresh bread, and have brought it.” Müller thanked the man. No sooner had this transpired than there was a second knock at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his milk cart had broken down right in front of the orphanage, and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it. No wonder, years later, when Müller traveled the world as an evangelist, he was heralded as “the man who gets things from God!”
What a contrast between George Müller’s faith and the disbelief of the official in our focus verse! At the time of our text, the people of Samaria were in a desperate situation after a prolonged siege — famine had brought them to horrific straits. Then, under the direction of the Spirit of God, the Prophet Elisha prophesied that plenty of food would be available the next day, and at a low price. The official assisting the king did not believe it was possible. He said, “Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” He showed his lack of faith when he doubted the Prophet Elisha’s word, and consequently, his fate was to witness the miracle but not to participate in it.
When we face “impossible” situations, it is easy to become preoccupied with the problems instead of approaching God with a spirit of expectancy for a solution. Are you facing a difficult situation today? Believe God, and see what miracles He will do on your behalf!
This passage details another attack by Syria on Israel, and God’s miraculous intervention.
There were three kings in Syria’s history who were named Ben-hadad. The Ben-hadad in today’s text is probably the one who warred against Samaria earlier and surrendered to Ahab. Later, he commanded the army that killed Ahab. It is thought that Ahab’s son, Jehoram, was probably king of Israel at this time.
The full host of Syria was involved in this attack. They cut off Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, from any outside supplies or help, causing the people within the city to starve. A donkey was an unclean animal under the Law, and therefore would not ordinarily be used for food. Yet, the price of a donkey’s head was approximately fifty dollars. About a half-cup of dove excrement cost three dollars; this may have been used either as food or fuel. Mothers were desperate enough to eat their dead children.
The king of Israel, Jehoram, blamed Elisha for the situation and vowed to behead him. Some scholars believe his wrath may have been because Elisha encouraged the king not to surrender, but to repent and look to God for deliverance. Elisha’s reference to the king as “this son of a murderer” may have been based on Ahab’s killing of Naboth, or perhaps it referred to the king’s own intent to kill Elisha.
The elders of the city were with Elisha, so they must have supported him in whatever role he played during the siege. God let Elisha know the king’s plan, and Elisha had the door barred so the messenger could not enter. The king followed soon, and his comment, “What should I wait for the Lord any longer?” may have meant he intended to surrender to the Syrians.
Elisha predicted two specific happenings. First, he foretold imminent deliverance; grain would be sold in the city’s marketplace. The prophet also predicted the death of “a lord on whose hand the king leaned,” a military captain or official, because this man did not believe Elisha’s words. Both of Elisha’s prophecies came to pass — food was sold inexpensively the next day, and the captain saw, but died without partaking.
The Law required lepers to live outside the city. The desperation of the four lepers mentioned in the text caused them to go to the Syrian camp, which they discovered was deserted. God had caused the Syrians to hear “the noise of a great host,” distinctly hearing horses, chariots, and hosts of foot soldiers. They assumed Israel had hired help from the Hittites, who were to the north, and the Egyptians, who were to the south. The Syrians fled, strewing their belongings for about twenty-five miles (the distance from Samaria to the Jordan).
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah
B. Jehoram of Israel
3. The ministry of Elisha
g. The deliverance of Israel from Syria
(4) Syria’s siege of Samaria (6:24-7:20)
(a) The siege of Samaria (6:24-30)
(b) The king’s anger for Elisha (6:31-33)
(c) The predictions of Elisha (7:1-2)
(d) The discovery of the lepers (7:3-8)
(e) The search for the Syrians (7:9-15)
(f) The fulfillment of Elisha’s predictions (7:16-20)
When you face a difficult situation in your life, pray, and trust the Lord to answer!