Saturday, February 28, 2009


Based on 2 Kings 7

It’s interesting to me how God frames some of His most amazing work in desperation. It’s like the darkness of life’s circumstances become the setting that allow His work to be showcased. That’s the way it is throughout the Scriptures, and poignantly so in this story.

Read it in your Bible or at (Check out 2 Kings 6:24-33 to get the background.)

Samaria, the capital of the renegade tribes of Israel, is besieged by an enemy; the people are dying from starvation, to the extent that a woman agrees to kill and eat her own child in order to live for one more day; the king has given up hope and instead of calling out to God, is looking for someone to blame, and God’s representative Elisha is the perfect target.

Desperation rules the day.

As desperate as it is within the city, where the city walls built to protect them have become the bars on their prison cell, outside the walls is a community of contagious people who aren’t even afforded the protection of living within the city walls. Excluded and cast off by the people in their community, they are open to attack by any and every enemy.

They have no control over the disease that has come upon them, no control over being rejected by others, and have accepted the reality that they are unfit for human contact, unwelcome, and unprotected from the enemy that surrounds them.

They are trapped, with no place to go.

What “un-[fill_in_the_blank]“ word describes your life?

What circumstances in your life have you feeling trapped?

But God is on the move.

Their point of desperation becomes God’s opportunity to showcase His activity.

What’s interesting when you stop and think about it is that these lepers don’t demonstrate much faith, as we tend to think of it. There is no record of them calling out to God, believing that He will intervene, counting on His character or His promises. They actually think that perhaps their enemies will be merciful to them.

Funny, isn’t it, how we long for God’s mercy and look for it in other places, while we are quick to accuse Him of not being merciful? But that’s for another time…back to the lepers.

Their actions are a simple act of survival, born out of the desperate nature of their circumstances. It’s a “something is better than nothing” attitude, an “anything is better than this” decision that prompts them to move.

What they don’t know in the moment is what the outcome will be. And so, their act of desperation becomes an act of faith. They choose to move, without visible evidence that God is anywhere in the picture.

What desperate circumstances have you feeling like your back is up against the wall?

What seems like the only way forward?

Do you dare to believe that God is somewhere in the mix, that He is the one moving, drawing you forward even if you can’t see Him past the enemy that blocks your view?

What they discover is that God is in the mix.

Their desperate circumstances, the very things that brought them to the point of deciding that now is the time to do something, is their doorway into discovering God’s power and provision, for them and for others.

Because God was on the move.

He used a sense of desperation to move the lepers forward. He used desperation, a fear of imminent danger and impending doom, to cause the enemy army to scatter.

The enemy uses desperation as a strategy to trap you, to immobilize you. God uses desperation as a tool to move you into the future He is creating.

What if God wants to use your feelings of desperation to get your attention, to open your eyes to see the situation in front of you from His perspective?

What if God wants to use your feelings of desperation to bring you to the end of yourself so that you’re ready to move beyond hopelessness into a place where you can discover His plan?

What if desperation is really the doorway to the future that God has planned?

An interesting thread in this story is the words of the prophet Elisha. As God’s representative, he dares to say out loud—and to the person in charge—that even in these desperate circumstances, God is at work.

His words frame the story:

Elisha said, "Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says:…—v. 1

…as the LORD had said…And that is exactly what happened…—v. 16, 20

What words of hope and confidence is the Lord giving you in the midst of desperate circumstances?

Who needs to hear them?

Are you looking for God in the midst of the desperate situation that surrounds you?

Jesus said—

"My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."—John 5:17. God is on the move.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."—John 16:33. There is hope for us when things are desperate.

Jesus’ words to Paul when he despaired, were—

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”—2 Corinthians 12:9. Jesus chooses to use desperate people who turn to Him in their weakness, and depend on His grace to keep moving forward. Look how he used Paul!


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