Monday, June 27, 2011

Abandoned by God?

Once upon a time the city of Samaria was under siege (2 Kings 6-7).  The people inside the city were starving to death while the armies of Aram encamped around them.  One day the King of Samaria was walking around the city wall when a woman cried out to him for help.  He looked at her and said, "If God does not help you, how can I help you?"  He had nothing to offer. He knew that only God could help her.  Before walking away he asked, "What's the matter?"  The woman told a gruesome story of an arrangement she had made with another woman to kill and eat their sons.  Evidently after eating the first woman's son, the other woman had gone back on her word and had hidden her son.  When the king heard her words he was sickened by the disaster that had come upon his people.  He tore his robe and cried out,   "All this misery is from the Lord!  Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?" He felt abandoned by God.  He didn't see any way out of his current situation.  He was hopeless.

Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever gotten tired of waiting for God to help you?  My neighbor got tired of waiting.  My friend's nephew got tired of waiting.  They thought they were in hopeless, impossible situations.

But God changed everything for the Samaritans in ONE day.  What seemed impossible to them was possible with God.  Unbeknownst to the Samaritans, God had caused the Arameans to hear what sounded like a great army attacking them and they abandoned their camp and ran for their lives.  The enemy was defeated!  God had fought the battle.  He was the victor, but the people inside the city continued to live in bondage--not knowing that their salvation had arrived.

Are you one of the Samaritans in this story?  God has fought the battle for YOU!  He has won the victory over sin and death.  You don't have to live as a victim.  You don't have to live without hope.  You can claim victory in Christ.

That night, four lepers decided to surrender to the Arameans.  They knew if they stayed in the city they would die so they took their chances by going to the enemy camp.  When they got there, they found that it was empty.  They ran into the first tent and ate and drank and gathered gold, silver, and clothes.  After raiding several tents they said, "This is not right.  This is a day of good news and we aren't sharing it with anyone...Come let's go back and tell the people."  At first the guards didn't believe the lepers so they sent out scouts to see if it was true.  When they discovered that the army was truly gone and that they were free, the entire city ran out to plunder the camp.

Are you one of the lepers in this story?  Do you have good news that you need to share or are you just stuffing your face?  Do you go to church and eat the bread of life and never share it with people who are starving?  In the words of the lepers, "This is not right."

Do not give up.  God can change your circumstances in an instant, but even if he does not you can have a hope that is firm and secure.  And if you have good news, share it!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

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