Not Good News

October 26, 2010

2 Kings 7:9 – “We are not doing right.  This is a day of good news, and we remain silent.”

In 2 Kings chapter 7, we read about 4 men with leprosy.  They were in Samaria, which was where Israel was at that time.  Israel’s enemy, the Assyrians, had the city surrounded and under siege, so there was a famine in the city.  Due to the fact that the lepers were outcasts anyway AND there was a famine in the city, they decided to go throw themselves at the mercy of the enemy.

“What’s the worst that will happen?” they thought.  “Either they’ll kill us, which doesn’t matter because we are about to die of starvation anyway, or they’ll show mercy on us and take us in.  Sounds worth the risk.”  But when they got to the enemy camp, they found that everyone was…gone.  Vanished.  The whole camp.  Empty.

Well, not completely.  The people had fled in the middle of the night (God caused them to be afraid of Israel and flee instantly), but all the stuff in the camp was still there.  Tents.  Animals.  Jewelry.  Gold.  Silver.  Food.  Ah…food!  So, the first thing the lepers did?  Eat, of course.  The second thing they did?  Gather up as much gold and silver and jewelry as they could carry.  They went outside the camp and hid it so that they could keep it all for themselves.

Then they went back to the camp to get more, and all of the sudden it hit them (THUD!).  “We are not doing right.  This is a day of good news, and we remain silent.”  They had been so caught up in their own needs and their own greed that they forgot the most important thing of all…the enemy has fled!  Samaria is no longer under siege.  The famine is over.  Israel is free.  Uh, shouldn’t we go tell them, seeing as how they don’t know yet?

Are you saved?  Good news.

Do you have unsaved friends?  Not good news.

Do you ever have the opportunity to share the Gospel with them?  Good news.

Do you pass up the opportunity in order to avoid “social awkwardness?”  Not good news.

As Third From First sings, “we gotta let the world know, every day and night.”

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For such a time as this…

October 21, 2010

If you’ve never read the book of Esther, you totally should.  And not just because it’s one of the two books in the Bible named after a woman (Ruth is the other).  It’s a great example of God’s divine providence.

Esther was the Queen of the Persian Empire, and the King was a lovely wretch of a man named Xerxes.  The King’s evil henchman, Haman, tricked the King via flattery to issue an edict that says all the Jews in his empire should be put to death.  Little did the King know, however, that his wife Esther was a Jew!

Esther had been an orphan, and her cousin Mordecai, also a Jew, had taken her in.  Through an AMAZING set of circumstances, Esther came to be Queen.  Later, when Mordecai heard about the King’s edict against the Jews, he tried to persuade Esther to speak up against the King to defend her people.  Esther was reluctant at first, so Mordecai gave her this encouraging thought:

Esther 4:14 – Yet who knows whether you have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this?

Mordecai is pleading with Esther to realize that she is NOT where she is by mere coincidence.  Through a very unique set of circumstances (God’s divine providence), she has found herself in a position to do something great for God.  Mordecai begs her to realize the opportunity she has.  ‘After all, you’re already here.  You might as well take it seriously.’  She does, and the Jews are saved.

I had the privilege to share that story with my campus ministry group at college, and I encouraged them to take seriously the opportunities that God places before them.  That evening, a young man expressed interest in learning more about the Gospel, and a short time later he was saved.  I had no idea that would happen, but God gave me an opportunity to share an inspiring message, so I did.

What opportunities has God placed before you in your life?  To whom do you have the chance to lend a helping hand, or even to witness to?  Don’t let the opportunity pass by, for how do you know that God hasn’t placed you where you are for such a time as this?

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