Not about me?
There is an event in Israel’s history that has always caught my attention because of God’s power and man’s focus. It takes place in the Northern Kingdom after the division and the city of Samaria is besieged by the king and army of Aram. We see how magnificently God works things in ways man can not fathom. We also see man’s limited thinking and self centered focus. If you want to read about the whole event you can in 2 Kings chapter 7. But for now I want to focus on four men.
These guys have leprosy, so they are outside the city, which is normal for the time and culture. What is interesting is their logic: If we go into the city we will die because of the siege and famine, if we stay here we will die because of the siege and the famine, let’s go over to the enemy, what are they going to do, kill us? We are going to die anyway, and if they spare our lives, it is a win. Practical thinkers, I love it. So over to the enemy they go, but to their dismay they find the camp empty--he enemy has fled. In their haste to flee, they left behind all their provisions and possessions. Woo hoo! The four men eat, drink, and they take some plunder. It is a great day!
Then they start thinking again.
Their thinking leads them to a very sobering place: What are we doing? This is not right. A worse fate could befall us if we are this self centered. So they head back to the city and told what has happened--for some reason the enemy has fled and all of their provisions were left behind. After some initial skepticism, the king sends out some men to check into the story. It is just as those with leprosy had said. A great victory for Israel! God has spared them! All because these four men did not keep the victory to themselves.
I love this event and how God took care of things; but, we often look past man’s involvement in events. As mentioned, I like the logic of these four guys, but also I admire the transition of their thinking. It started off as hopeless, then to a realization of what they had been given, to celebration, and to a sober understanding of the bigger picture. That bigger picture is usually only reached as your progress though the situation. In this case it was how God had taken care of not only them but also those around them. It was a tremendous event showing the power of God.
I am not sure why man is so focused on self, but it seems like a natural process. We start out as babies, crying when we need food, attention, or that stuff in the backside of our diapers removed. As toddlers we begrudgingly start to share with others. Then during the teen years, well, they are just tough all around, but as we come out the other side we see there is a bigger picture and getting our way isn’t always best in this big picture. So we grow to appreciate what we have and eventually get to the point where we are willing to sacrifice something we want for the bigger picture. It is called maturing.
As Christians we mature from the celebration of our sins being washed away to the understanding of what life is all about. We go from personally enjoying the treasure of grace we have discovered to wanting to share this victory with others. So go to the city and tell them what God has done for you! Don’t keep the treasure all to yourself.
Trying to remember it is not about me,