Text: "... We do not well: ..." (2 Kings 7:9).
This Old Testament story in 2 Kings 7 could be duplicated, in part, in the New Testament story in Luke 10 where the priest and the Levite observed the condition of a wounded man in a ditch and passed by on the other side. They did not well. Deliverance in this story, and the one in the New Testament, is based upon the fact that Christians should get involved with the needy.
When it comes to not doing well, it is easily definable: "... we hold our peace: ..." (verse 9). But it is also easy to discover how to do well: "... go and tell ..." (verse 9); "... and they told ..." (verse 10); "... they told it ..." (verse 11). If telling is one of the benchmarks of doing well, how are we doing? Do you ever give a tract to a waitress? Witness to a friend? Help missionaries get to the field? It should be noted in this reading that the four lepers start the process, the porter picked it up, and then the king. Sounds to me like Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:6, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."
When we meet these four lepers, by their own admission, they are not doing well; but by the time they exit, the story has changed. If you are honest, if telling others was a measure of how you are doing as a Christian, you would have to say, "I am not doing well." Other things are involved in our Christian life, but let me talk to you about doing well from the story ... especially in light of doing well in missions.
They realized they were not doing well when they accepted the situation as it was. The situation was terrible. In 2 Kings 6:25-29, there was a famine in the land so great that "... an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver." We also find it was so severe that women were eating their own babies. Everybody was accepting the situation as irreversible ... except these four lepers.
They did not think what they had in mind would work, but it was worth a try. Reminds me of Andrew in John 6:9 who said, "There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?" What he was saying was: "Our contribution seems so small in light of the need; it probably would not be missed if we did not make it." It is true that there are three and a half billion people that are in a gospel famine, but it is also true that we should not accept that as terminal and final. Jesus said, "... Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15). You may be like one of the four lepers or like Andrew. You understand the magnitude of the problem, but you should also be like them and get involved at whatever level you can. Who knows what God will do with it.
They did not accept the situation as it was. They knew they would not be doing well if they had the solution, but did not tell it. What they found was a supply for the needs of others. The application is obvious: Half the world does not know the gospel; they are hopeless, in famine, and despair. You have found the supply. I found the supply in October, 1958, and I can either sit here on that knowledge or I can decide it needs to be told. It is too good to keep to ourselves! They knew where there were people in great distress; so do we. Poor people in darkness that need the light; thirsty people that need the water; hungry people that need the bread. We do not well if we hoard that knowledge.
They realized what they found was not just for them. After a while, enough is enough. They had leftovers and were still storing what they had found. "And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it." (verse 8). Sounds a lot like the rich man in Luke 12 who pulled down his barns and built greater ones. He should have opened the gates and invited the poor in, but he did not. Please note these lepers found there was plenty to go around. Jesus fed the five thousand (Mark 6) and had fragments left for others; the same was true in the feeding of the four thousand (Mark 8), and it is true with us. We have the gospel to give and it is sufficient for everyone.
They started doing well when they realized that time was an important factor in the solution. "... We do not well; this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us; now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household." (2 Kings 7:9).
May we urgently be telling others about Him!
Written by Dr. Charles F. Keen