Introduction："What's that noise?" one soldier might have asked in alarm, as he flung open his tent door. All the other soldiers must've heard it too, for suddenly the whole camp was alive with soldiers peering into the dark and listening. They heard a noise of a great army of chariots and horses coming, and it seemed very, very near! No matter about their tents, their horses, their silver and gold, food, clothes, everything---all of it was left behind, as the soldiers took off into the night, running for their lives!Who were these frightened soldiers, and what happened to them?Well, it's going to be an exciting Bible lesson today, you can be sure!
In the book of II Kings, chapter 6, we read that the city of Samaria in Israel was in terrible trouble. Because they had turned their back on the true and living God, He had allowed their enemies to come in and surround them. The Syrian army camped around the city and cut off their food and water supply. The Bible says the people of Samaria suffered a great famine, which means there is no food. The hungry parents were watching their children starve to death, and there was nothing they could do. Boys and girls, if you are old enough to read, you can turn to II Kings, Chapter 6, and read of some of the horrible things that happened in the city because of starvation.
The king of Israel was very troubled about the situation, but he would not humble himself before God. As the king walked on his wall, a woman below cried out to him for help. In anger he shouted out, "If the Lord doesn't help you, how can I?" As many people do when they are angry, the king wanted to blame someone else. So he blamed Elisha, the prophet of God, and decided to kill him. Was it Elisha's fault that Samaria was in trouble? Elisha was in his house talking with the elders when suddenly God warned him that the king was going to kill him. The king's messenger arrived and said, "Why should I wait any longer for the Lord?"
Elisha's answer seemed unbelievable! He told the king that within 24 hours there would be lots of fine flour and barley for sale at low prices. One of the officers of the king had no respect for Elisha and he said, "Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, maybe this thing would happen." In other words, he did not believe the word of God spoken by Elisha. It just seemed too good to be true.
Gospel：When we see this world so full of war and disease and sin, it seems too good to be true that a real heaven exists where there is no war, or disease, or death. But God says that His forever home in Heaven is a place of joy and laughter, of beauty and riches, of safety and perfect health. The same God Who created the earth created Heaven, and although God put you and me here on earth, He wants us to be with Him in Heaven someday. But there is one thing that can never be in heaven and that is sin.
Sin is breaking God's laws, and we all sin every day. We deserve to be separated from God and His perfect Heaven, but God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin, so we would not have to take what we deserve. God's perfect Son Jesus died for our sin on the cross, rose on the third day, and completely paid the price for your sin and mine.
When you believe on the Lord Jesus, He saves you from sin, and makes you ready to go to God's forever home in Heaven! Some people do not believe because they say it's just too good to be true. But it IS true, because God cannot lie.Elisha was not lying either when he told the king that in 24 hours there would be plenty of food for everyone to eat. And then he turned to the man who did not believe it and said, "You will see it with your eyes, but you will not eat of it." We will see what Elisha meant by that later on.
Outside the city gate were four men who were slowly dying of leprosy, a terrible skin disease. God's law in Israel required that lepers be separated from their families and others, so these men suffered a lonely and miserable life together. Now they were not only sick but starving. They said one to another, "Why are we just sitting here til we die?
If we go in the city, there is no food so we will die. If we sit still here, we will die. Let's just go down and turn ourselves over to the Syrian army. If they let us live, then we will live, and if they kill us, we're going to die anyway." As the evening grew darker, the four lepers cautiously approached the enemy camp. Would they find mercy or meet their death?What they found was....an empty camp! Oh yes, there were tents, and clothes, and weapons, and silver and gold, and an abundance of food....but no soldiers! What had happened?我们若说、进城去吧、城里有饥荒、必死在那里.若在这里坐着不动、也必是死。来吧、我们去投降亚兰人的军队.他们若留我们的活命、就活着.若杀我们、就死了吧。” 黄昏的时候，他们起来很小心的来到亚兰人的营盘。 他们得到怜悯还是被杀死了呢?他们所看到的是一个空空的营盘!当然还有帐篷，有衣服，有武器，有金银，还有很多的食物，但就是没有士兵!到底发生了什么呢?
II Kings 7：6 tells us："For the Lord had made the army of Syria to hear a noise of chariots...and...horses, ...of a great army...and the Syrians said, Lo, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians..." and they are all coming against us! So all the soldiers had jumped up to run for their lives, leaving everything behind! Was there really a great army coming?No! But our wonderful all-powerful God had made the sound of one!
Perhaps the frightened soldiers were just out of sight when the lepers timidly approached the camp. Imagine their wonder and amazement to find the camp deserted!
Can you guess what they did first of all! Yes, these poor starving men filled their stomachs with food and drink! Then they begin to carry out silver and gold and clothing to hide it, not knowing if at any moment the army would return. They worked feverishly cleaning out two tents, and then they stopped as they realized something.
There were men and women, and little children starving to death in the city of Samaria. And here they were looking at enough food to feed them all. "We are not doing the right thing. This is a day of good news for the people of Israel, and we are not telling it. We need to be sharing this with our people. Let's go and tell the king of Israel." Yes, it was wonderful to know they had this good news, but others needed to hear it too!
Main Teaching：If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior from sin, God wants you to tell others the Good News! Others are going on day after day in their sins, not knowing how to ask the Lord Jesus to save them. God has blessed you to hear the Good News and receive the Lord Jesus. Now you know you have been saved from sin's punishment and you are God's child forever. God has called every believer to go and tell that Good News to a dying world.
Mark 16：15 says, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." The Gospel means the Good News of Jesus Christ and what He has done to save us from our sins. Can you pray for the lost, and give to missionaries so they can tell others?That's a great thing to do. But still God also wants to use YOU to tell others the Good News："Jesus died for all your sin, He was buried, but He lives again. He will take your sin away, if you ask Him in today." Could you share that poem with several friends or family this week?If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior from sin, God wants you to tell others the Good News!
The four lepers knew it would be sinful and selfish to keep such good news to themselves when others were dying of hunger. They went straight to the city gate and told the keeper, who told the king's messengers. The king immediately suspected a trick and said, "I will tell you what these Syrians are doing. They know we are all hungry, so they left their camp and hid in the field thinking that when we come out of the city, they could catch us and get into the city." The king's servants convinced him to send two chariots with men to survey the situation and report back to the king.
As soon as the men brought their report to the king that it was safe to go out, the king sent one of his officers out to open the city gate. It was the officer who had not believed Elijah's words that God would send food for the people within 24 hours. As the officer opened the gate, the desperately hungry people rushed out the gate. In their haste, they trampled the officer under foot, and he died. Do you remember what Elijah had prophesied about this officer? "Behold, you will see God's Word come to pass, but you will not eat of the food."
Just as Elisha had said, there was plenty of food for everyone in Samaria, and prices returned to normal. Elisha's word had been true, because he was a prophet of the true and living God. Throughout the rest of his life, Elisha remained a faithful prophet of God.
Challenge：If you know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, God wants you to be faithful to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to others. Perhaps there are people in your family who don't know that God loves them and sent Jesus to die for them. They don't know how they can pray and ask Jesus to save them from the everlasting punishment of sin. If you know the Lord Jesus, you have been blessed with the greatest gift of your life, having your sins forgiven and becoming part of God's forever family. Will you ask God to help you begin to share that Good News with others?
It would be the most selfish and sinful thing for you to keep that Good News to yourself! Could you memorize this little poem and share it with someone this week?"Jesus died for all your sin, He was buried, but He lives again, He will take your sin away, If you ask Him in today." Why not go to "How to Be a Child of God" and write down those steps so this week you can share with someone in your family or a friend, how they can believe on Jesus. God wants you to be faithful to tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to others!
Invitation：If you have never believed the Good News about Jesus yourself, do you realize today that this Good News is for you?Even though it might seem too good to be true, God really does love you so much and wants to forgive your sin and make you His child. Believe His Good News! Go right now to "How To Be a Child of God" and follow those steps!