There’s a great story in 2 Kings 7 about some lepers who sat outside the city gate day after day, existing on whatever crumbs they could beg. As outcasts because of their disease, they were not allowed inside.
It seems that the city (Samaria, capital of Israel at the time) was surrounded by an enemy army that had planned to seize the city either by traditional means with weaponry or to cut off their supply lines and starve the Israelites. Either way, the city was doomed, but no worse than the lepers. They were beyond desperate.
The lepers talked among themselves and asked “Why sit here until we die?” They figured they had three choices: go inside the city and starve like the others, sit outside the gate and die a natural death, or surrender to the enemy and take their chances of being killed there. Obviously, these were not great choices. They decided on the third option and they went to surrender to the enemy army.
Imagine their surprise when they arrived at the camp and found it completely abandoned. God had created an awful sound like a huge army with chariots and horses that were heading their way, so those enemy soldiers all deserted their camp and ran scared into the night.
When the lepers got there, they found that the soldiers had left behind their provisions: clothing, food, silver and gold, ammunition, livestock. So the lepers filled their bellies, donned beautiful clothes, and took all other valuables and buried them in a safe place. It was their lucky day!
After a while, though, they felt guilty about not sharing this bounty with the citizens of their own city—the city that had cast them out. So they went back to Samaria to share the news. The spoils were just waiting to be taken.
In moments of desperation, it’s easy to turn inward and tend to our own needs. And once those are met, we let everybody else fend for themselves.
But to me, this isn’t the main lesson I get from this story. Yeah, I have found a great gift in Christ, and I must share it, but I take from this story something else—something that I’m struggling with now. What lay ahead was their worry. And before they decided to take one of those bad choices, God had already gone ahead of them to provide for their needs.
The lepers just took a few bold steps before they realized that God had gone ahead of them and caused the enemy army to flee, leaving behind abundant provisions.
In times of feeling afraid of what’s ahead, I have to realize that God has prepared the way before I get there. He knows what I need, He knows the outcome, and He’s got this.
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8.