Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? (2 Kings 7:3)
We’ve often heard the expression, “Don’t just sit there—do something!” That’s akin to the question of the four lepers we read about in 2 Kings 7, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” The Syrian army had besieged Samaria and the Israelites were dying of starvation. The four lepers weren’t welcome in the city because of their loathsome disease. Even if they could sneak in, they would be only starve. So they came up with a hare-brained idea, if there ever was one. They would go to the enemy’s camp and seek food (7:4). If they killed them, they would be no worse off, for they were dying a torturous death. Even if they killed them, it would be a quick end to their suffering. But just maybe they would toss them a few scraps. To maintain the status quo was certain death.
That will happen to a church. It is the sad script being written by many churches today. They sit on the pew and become “pewtrified.” They are resistant to change. They are afraid to take a risk. I say, “Don’t just sit there—do something!” There are some valuable lessons to learn in this story.
This was an act of DESPERATION (6:24-33). Things in the kingdom were desperate indeed. In the last verse, the king essentially says, “I give up!” But, at “Wit’s End Corner” God’s grace is found! God arranges circumstances to bring us to the end of ourselves, so that we might trust fully in Him. Desperation paves the way for a miraculous deliverance.
Like the citizens of Samaria, the enemy has us surrounded. We have turned from conquering our foes to consuming our family. Think about how many churches spend their time cannibalizing each other, rather than assaulting hell! There is a famine in the land—but not of food—of the Word of God (Amos 8:11.)
God’s preacher gets the blame. When sports teams start losing, what do they do? Fire the coach! What about the players? Sometimes a coach isn’t effective, but the best coach can’t win without good players. It wasn’t Elisha’s fault. The team wasn’t following the rulebook. Many find it easier to point out a scapegoat than to plot out a solution.
This was also an act of DETERMINATION (7:1-8). It isn’t enough to give up. We must then get up! Too many are sitting on the premises instead of standing on the promises! God can work in the direst circumstances and in the darkest hour. But our deliverance will not come from human methods, but heavenly might. Elisha was talking about a miracle. But that miracle will come through some people who get up and do something. God won’t work apart from us. Never was there a stranger plan carried out by more unlikely people. They refused to just sit there! God doesn’t need our ability, but our availability.
This was furthermore an act of DECLARATION (7:9-20). When we give up and get up, we must then go out! There is some news to tell. If a church just sits there it will die, but if it will go out into the community with the good news of Jesus Christ it will not only survive, it will thrive! The unbelieving miss the miracle. Those who reject the Gospel, will one day see in heaven what they missed before they are cast out.