BY JOHN L. WILLHOITE
Four, sad, bewildered outcasts sat outside the gate of Samaria, just waiting to die. The Bible says in 11 Kings 7:3, “And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate.” Why were they outside
the gate of Samaria instead of inside the city? The answer was very obvious. They were lepers and were considered to have a contagious disease that was feared by the masses.
What a terrible feeling the lepers must have had to be removed from the mainstream of life. Any time anybody came close to them they were to shout unclean, unclean. In reality, there was nobody who cared whether they lived or died.
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, affecting the skin and superficial nerves. The disease produces skin and nerve lesions enlarge and result in severe disfigurement, paralysis, gangrene, and loss of sensation. During Bible days, there was no cure. Once infected, a person became an undesirable, untouchable outcast who was forced to live in exile the remainder of their life. The four lepers at Samaria’s gate were no different. They were society’s rejects.
War between Samaria and Syria took it’s toll. Samaria was being besieged and Syria had cut off their supply line. Inside the gate, the inhabitants were starving. Doves dung, donkeys head, and human flesh
were being eaten to ward off death. The surrender of Samaria was imminent.
The Samaritans did not know their hope lay in four lepers and their desperation. The world does not know that its direction and hope lays within a small, but powerful, world-wide people called the Church.
Many Christians become outcasts and rejects because of their stand for God. Remember! The world’s hope lies within the Church’s bosom.
A council meeting was in order for the lepers. In the council, they discussed their problem. Without a doubt they realized their problem was out of hand and needed prompt attention. They even had the
audacity to say to one another Why sit we here until we die?
Death is final. The lepers were terminally ill, yet deep within their hearts a desire remained to fight for life until the end. It was this desire that prompted them to say to one another “Why sit we here
until we die?”
Deaths in the United States average approximately 2,000,000 per year. The possibility of dying drives man to build hospitals, train new doctors and nurses, and develop cures for all diseases. The world’s
population spends their health to get wealth and spends all their wealth to get back their health. The question, “Why sit we here until we die?” is asked by action every day in the medical field.
This sin-sick world is on a down-hill path to destruction. The total death of the present society is inevitable. Judgment has been pronounced, yet man refuses to heed the call of God. It is time to run
to God and bow our knees in repentance. There is no use sitting until death strikes our present world. The Bible says in lames 1:14-15, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and
enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
The people of Samaria had slipped into a state of despair and despondency as famine gripped their city. Every discouraging aspect of life sent shivers of gloom and hopelessness over them. Famine lined the
streets and claimed victims daily. The Samaritans were desperate.
The lepers outside the city were equally desperate. They continued their council session to evaluate their situation and to discuss an alternative to starvation. “If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also.”
Recklessness arose out of despair. Suddenly the lepers were aroused by hope and an expectation of deliverance. “Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we
shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” The desire and search for an answer to their situation drove them to a decision. They realized they could see the impossible done if they would step out by
faith. They had no recourse other than to hope for refuge in the camp of the Syrians.
The likelihood of surviving in the camp of the Syrians was next to impossible. The odds were against them. It was certain that the prospect of living was bleak, but they grasped for a straw and set out
for the camp of Syria. I believe they prayed before they left the gate of Samaria because God began to work with them. The Bible says, “And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians.”
Diffused light from the sky during the early morning brought twilight upon the earth. All was dim without bright illumination. The lepers rose up in the twilight. One must be willing to rise up in the
twilight to do something to quicken deliverance. A person may not see well in the twilight, but hope of relief from the tension of desperation drives a person on to a point of. light.
The lepers took a step of faith. When they took one step, God took a step with them. They took another and God continued to walk beside them. Each step brought more of the power of God. The extreme
faith of the lepers demanded of God to do something about their situation. The Bible says, “and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. For the Lord
had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host.”
God moved out ahead of the lepers. Perhaps he commanded the angels to jump up and down on the clouds to create the sound of horses hooves and wave their arms in circular motion for the sound of chariot wheels. The Syrians heard a noise of horses hooves, chariot wheels churning, and shouts of a coming army. God amplified the footsteps of the lepers. This is just like God. No enemy can stand before him.
The Syrian soldiers put their ears to the ground. What a shock it must have been to discover what God was doing to deliver the lepers. The Bible said that they spoke to one another and said, “Lo, the king
of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.” Oh, how great is the power of God.
David said in Psalms 18:48-49, “He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man. Therefore will I give
thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 56:9, “When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.”
God supplied the needs of the lepers and the city of Samaria through the lepers faith. “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.” If God has intervened and answered prayers for four lepers, he will do it for you. He will save, heal, and deliver at a moments notice. We need only to trust him and step out into the realm of faith.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKEN FROM THE BOOKLET, “AND THE DIRT CAME OUT”, AND PUBLISHED BY JOHN L. WILLHOITE, 1996, PAGES 21-26. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.