Around 850 B.C. a great famine occurred in Samaria because Aram’s army surrounded the city; the siege lasted a long time. Joram, king of Israel, blamed Elisha and the Lord, and ordered God’s prophet’s death. Elisha responded with a message from God that the next day would be better (2 Kings 6:24-7:20).
That evening, four ostracized lepers went into the Aramean camp to surrender, giving themselves a slight chance to live. However, “the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army” (7:6), and thought Joram hired the Hittites and Egyptians to attack them. So the Arameans ran for their lives, abandoning their tents, animals, and belongings. Thus, when the lepers reached the edge of the camp, they encountered unoccupied tents. They ate and drank and carried off clothes and riches.
After returning for more things, they realized, “we’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves” (7:9). So they told the city gatekeepers that the Aramean camp was empty. The unbelieving king sent two chariots to confirm that report, which resulted in the Samaritans running to plunder the enemy’s camp of its food, drink, and possessions.
Notice that the four lepers, shunned by their community, felt convicted to share the good news with those who rejected them. They knew the Samaritans needed the benefits of their knowledge, so they shared their life-sustaining treasure.
Do you feel inclined to share good news with those who mistreat you? The prophet Jonah didn’t want to give God’s warning to the Ninevites (Israel’s enemy); he wanted God’s grace for Israel only. How do we respond to ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, or any other enemy of our nation who desires our demise? Besides defending ourselves, we’re to pray for them and deliver the Good News (the gospel). It’s not our place to decide who is worthy to hear about Jesus; moreover, numerous reports reveal that some radical Muslims have already converted to Christianity.
Jesus commissioned His disciples to tell everybody the good news of the gospel. He directed them to “go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to empower them to be His witnesses. While that promise was fulfilled at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit now indwells and enables all believers (Acts 2:1-4; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 John 3:24).
Leading the Way delivers the gospel through radio, TV, and print in predominately Muslim countries, and follows up with helping new converts. Jeff Riddering, whose missionary brother was murdered in Burkina Faso, Africa, is continuing his sibling’s mission and risking his life in that dangerous place to teach new Christian pastors and build churches. (He wrote, “My Brother’s Keeper,” an inspiring book that reveals his brother’s journey, his personal struggle to forgive, and what loving your enemy means.)
Are you a witness for Jesus Christ? You don’t have to travel to another continent to deliver good news. Do you talk about God’s love or your faith with your friends, neighbors, or coworkers? Isn’t your relationship with the Lord the greatest treasure you have? Many people are timid to talk about their faith. Yet, witnessing is as simple as mentioning in a conversation how you have observed God’s power and activity. “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me” (Psalm 66:16). Being outspoken about the Lord counters the secular loud voice that misrepresents Christianity as hatred.
Do you tell your family, especially your children, about God’s goodness in your life? If you’re an active Christian (faith without action is dead, James 2:14-26), you should have something to share. What miracle have you witnessed or experienced? How did God protect or provide for you, or how did He answer your prayer?
The lepers shared their knowledge and treasure; likewise, we’re to be vocal and share our treasured knowledge. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord” (2 Timothy1:7-8). Jesus wants every sinner to receive Him as Lord and Savior ... even our enemies.
With whom have you shared the Good News?