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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

MIghty to Save (2 Kings 7)

    One of the songs we worshiped with this morning, Mighty to Save, has a very profound message. When we sing that song, we sing about how every single person, every person, is in need of compassion, kindness, never failing love, forgiveness, mercy, in short…every person is in need of a savior. And what a mighty Savior we have. He can move the mountains. More than that, He can create the mountains just by speaking. One day, His Word will bring the mountains down. He can raise the dead, and He has conquered the grave.
    He takes us as He finds us, everything that we are even with all our mistakes and failures and fears, and He is mighty enough to save us from our sins to give us life again. He is the only hope of nations. He is the only hope of anyone. And the main point of the song is that He is capable and mighty enough to save anyone. Anyone.
    This morning through 2 Kings 7 I want to look at God’s mighty power to save. 2 Kings 7 opens with the Northern kingdom of Israel in desperate circumstances, but particularly the capital city of Samaria. They were under the leadership of Joram or Jehoram, who was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, and the younger brother of the king who ruled before him, Ahaziah, who had died when he had fallen ill and never recovered. Joram also did evil in the sight of the Lord, even though he didn’t worship Baal and the false idols of his parents, he also didn’t do anything to prevent them from being worshiped in Israel. He didn’t tear down the altars or high places or temples. He freely allowed idol worship in his kingdom.
    Because of this, 2 Kings 3:2-3 tells us that the kingdom was in a state of evil and corruption. In 2 Kings 6:24 tells us that the king of Aram rose up against Samaria, the capital of Israel, and laid siege to it. The siege lasted for a long time, and with the armies of Aram gathered all around Samaria, no supplies could get in or out of the city. Before long, 2 Kings 6:5 tells us, the city was in a desperate state of starvation. There simply wasn’t enough food to feed all those who were trapped in the city.
    Without enough food to feed the city, the food that was available was subject to inflation. The cost of food skyrocketed in Samaria, so only the super rich could even afford to buy what little food there was. As less and less food became available and the food became more and more expensive, those who were starving and couldn’t afford food began to resort to cannibalism.
    The city and by extension the nation, was in very desperate circumstances.
    2 Kings 7 starts with the knowledge of how bad things had gotten for Samaria and Israel, and God promising to send salvation for His people.
    2 Kings 7:1-2, “Then Elisha said, “Listen to the word of the Lord; this is what the Lord says: ‘About this time tomorrow a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’” The royal officer on whose hand the king was leaning responded to the man of God and said, “Even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this thing happen?” Then he said, “Behold, you are going to see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it.”
    This is the promise of coming salvation for the people. Salvation was coming in many ways as well. Most immediately, it meant that salvation was coming in the form of food. By the very next day, God was promising that food would be back in abundance AND that the over-inflation of food would stop. All people in the city, rich and poor, would be able to buy food again in abundance.
    See, a measure of food would have been the equivalent of two and a half gallons of food. That’s an abundance of food. Two and a half gallons of any kind of food is a lot of food. A shekel would have been the equivalent of about 53 cents now. So God was promising through the prophet Elisha, that people would be able to buy flour at the cost of 53 cents per 2 1/2 gallons. Can you imagine going to the store and being able to buy that much flour for 53 cents?
    He told them that the barley, they’d be able to get at the cost of 53 cents for 5 gallons! That’s a lot of food, available for very cheap. With that food they’d be able to make bread, cakes, and any other number of staples to live on.
    This was a far cry from paying $45 for a donkey’s head, which couldn’t have even yielded that much meat! Or $3 for a pint of dove dung which isn’t even food at all!
    But the promise of salvation through an abundance of food wasn’t the only thing God was promising to the Samaritans. See, in order for them to be able to get food, the gates were going to have to be opened. In order for the gates to be opened, the Aramean army would have to be defeated and dispersed. The siege had been going on so long and the Arameans were in a good position to conquer Samaria, so for them to just up and leave would be an act of God’s power and mighty salvation. This was exactly what God was promising.
    He was promising to remove the Arameans from being camped out around Samaria so food could make its way back into Samaria.
    The whole situation would take a miracle to change this much this quickly. This promise of salvation would require FAITH, as it was nearly impossible for a city to believe that they would be rescued and saved in such a drastic way. Especially for people who had spent almost a hundred years not having faith in God.
    We can see how hard it would have been for the people to have faith in God’s salvation through the response of the official. He told Elisha, even if God opened up the heavens and rained down meal and grain, it was impossible. His words not only showed contempt for Elisha as God’s chosen messenger, but the official showed complete disbelief that God was capable or willing to save them in such a mighty way. Because he didn’t believe, he was told that he would not live to eat the food brought by God’s salvation.
    But salvation, any kind of supernatural salvation from God, requires faith. If you look at the story of the conversion of the jailer who was holding Paul and Silas, in Acts 16, verses 30-31 tells us this about how he was saved, “and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
    He was saved by faith, belief, in the Lord Jesus.
    Or Romans 10:9 which Paul wrote about how a person is saved, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” Faith in your heart, belief, is what reaches out and takes a hold of the gift of salvation that God freely offers.
    In fact, that’s exactly what Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”
    The salvation of God through faith is not just a New Testament concept either. God has always been in the business of saving people. That’s who He is. He is the One who saves. In the New Testament, the salvation He offers is eternal salvation through the shed blood of Christ. Eternal salvation wasn’t offered this way during the Old Testament days, but God did still offer salvation.
    Look at Isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” God was Isaiah’s salvation. God was the salvation of many throughout the Old Testament because they made the decision to trust Him. Trust, faith, belief, these terms are all interchangeable, they mean the same thing.
    Hebrews 11 talks about these Old Testament people of faith, who were saved by God and counted as righteous because of their faith in the Lord. People, all people who will ever be saved, even the corrupt and sinful people of Samaria, would be SAVED by faith. We are SAVED by faith.
    The middle part of this story of the Samaritans is that that very night, the Lord had made the Aramean army hear the sound of chariots and horses and the sound of a great army. They became afraid because they thought that the king of Israel, Joram, had hired the Hittites and the Egyptians to fight against them. So 2 Kings 7:7 tells us that they got up, abandoned their tents, their horses, their donkeys, and just fled for their lives. They just left everything right where it was.
    Four lepers who were camped on the outskirts of the city who figured they were going to die anyway made the decision to sneak into the Aramean camp and they found it completely deserted. And because the Arameans had cut off the food supplies to Samaria, the camp was full of food and drink.
    God was mighty to save His people. 2 Kings 7:15-20 tells us this, “They (Samaritan messengers) went after them to the Jordan, and behold, all the way was full of clothes and equipment which the Arameans had thrown away when they fled in a hurry. Then the messengers returned and informed the king. So the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. Then a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in accordance with the word of the Lord. Now the king appointed the royal officer on whose hand he leaned to be in charge of the gate; but the people trampled on him at the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. So it happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, “Two measures of barley for a shekel and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, will be sold about this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria.” At that time the royal officer had responded to the man of God and said, “Now even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could such a thing as this happen?” And he had said, “Behold, you are going to see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it.” And this is what happened to him, for the people trampled on him at the gate and he died.”
    Salvation requires faith, people are saved by faith. And for those who will not believe, those who have unbelief that they cannot overcome, will not be saved. John 3:36 says this, “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
    But only unbelief will keep people from salvation. Only a lack of faith will keep people from being saved by God. However, salvation is available to all people. Romans 10:13 says, “for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Salvation is open to all. This free gift of mighty salvation? Anyone can accept it.
    Doesn’t matter what you’ve done, we’ve all sinned! Doesn’t matter where you come from, God has called you from the ends of the earth to be His! In fact, we’re told in Scripture that it is His desire that every single person should come to His salvation. He wants everyone to be saved, and He made His salvation open to anyone.
    That person that you can probably name in your head right now, that person that to you might seem unsaveable, that person who you are tempted to think, “no, they’re too far gone,”…they’re not. Christ died for them, too. God offers His salvation to them, too. God offers His salvation to everyone.
    And so, what is the response for those who have already believed, have already accepted by their faith the gift of God’s salvation? Look at 2 Kings 7:9, “Then they said to one another, “We are not doing the right thing. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent about it; if we wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now then come, let’s go and inform the king’s household.”
    The four lepers found the food and drink and silver and gold and clothes in the camp, along with many other valuables, first. They started taking what they found and eating and drinking, and then realized that there were still people in the city starving to death and resorting to cannibalism. Their response is in this verse. They realized it was wrong to keep such a valuable treasure to themselves, to keep God’s salvation to themselves. So, they went and they told the STORY.
    That should be our response, too. We should treat the salvation we have received through faith by God’s grace as if we had been starving to death and then given a feast. A feast so large that it can be shared with anyone and everyone and there will still be more than enough for us. Share the story. Share with others who you were before you were saved, and share with them what God has done, and share who you are now. Share as if you were giving a person who was on death’s door due to starvation the bread of life that could bring them back.
    God is mighty to save. There is no situation too messed up for Him to redeem. There is no sin too bad for Him to forgive. There is no person too far gone for Him to breathe life back into. He is the hope of nations. Share that.

1. 1 John 5:4 talks about overcoming the world. What role does faith play in this? What hope and encouragement does that bring you about the trials you face?

2. What does 1 Timothy 2:3-4 say about what God’s desire is? Is anyone beyond His saving power? According to Acts 2:21, can the worst of sinners be saved?

3. What prayers is the Spirit prompting you to pray this week concerning salvation and our world?

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