Last time we saw that the Aramean army was led into Syria by Elisha after God had confused them. The king of Israel wanted to destroy them, But Elisha told him to feed them and send them back home.
Well some time later, the king of Aram decided to surround Syria in an attempt to take it over. As a result, there was a terrible famine in the land. The king of Syria walked down the streets, becoming more and more distraught seeing the suffering of the hungry people. As he continued to witness the effects of the famine, the king became more and more angry at Elisha.... and God. "I should have destroyed the Aramean army when I had the chance!" He said. "I want Elisha arrested and put to death this very day!"
Elisha was at his home with some of leaders of Israel. God revealed the king's plan to Elisha and he told the men, "One of the king's men is on his way to arrest me, but don't open the door. I want the king to show up here personally so I can speak to him."
Sure enough, a short time later, the king showed up at Elisha's house and angrily shouted, "It is the Lord who has brought this terrible situation on our land and people! Why should we wait on Him any longer? The people are without hope and starving!"
Elisha calmly said. "The Lord has said that by this time tomorrow, the people will have more than enough food. They will have horses and livestock, and plenty of silver and gold!" One of the kings men replied. "Even God himself could not make that happen, even if He opened the floodgates of heaven." Elisha looked at him and said. "You will not be able to share in any of it."
That evening, four men with leprosy were outside the city gates talking among themselves. Lepers were not allowed to live inside the city because of their contagious condition. "Why should we sit here waiting to die? We will starve if we stay here, and will starve if we go into the city." One of them continued. "We may as well surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway."
Little did they know, but God had caused the whole Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses, so that it sounded like a huge army was approaching! The Army fled for their lives, leaving behind everything, including their gold, silver, horses and livestock. So when the four lepers entered the Aramean camp that evening, no one was there! They entered one tent after another, eating, drinking and carrying out all the silver and gold. Then one of the lepers said. "Wait a minute.....this is not right. This is good news! We should go back and tell all the people about this. We should not keep this to ourselves when there are people on the other side of that wall who are starving to death."
So they went back and told the gatekeeper the good news. He relayed the message to the king who thought it may be a trap. He sent a couple men to check it out. When they returned, they informed the king that it was true. Then all the people made a mad dash to the Aramean camp and ate and drank till they were satisfied. They carried out all the silver and gold. They also took the horses and all the livestock. So it was just as Elisha the prophet had foretold. The Syrian economy was booming and the people were overjoyed. But remember the guy that said that this was impossible, even if God opened the gates of heaven, and Elisha told him that he would not eat any of it?...... well he was trampled to death as he stood near the city gate!
The four lepers had good news. They knew it was not right to not tell anyone about it. Did you know that the word "Gospel" means good news? The four Gospels are the story of Jesus' life, death and resurrection. So the story of Jesus is good news! If we know the good news of Jesus, it is not right for us to keep it to ourselves. Just as there were people starving in Syria because they didn't know the good news of the food that was just outside the walls of the city, there are people all around us "starving to death" and without hope because they don't know The Bread of Life, Jesus. The life-giving promise of Jesus is a free gift for all who believe and take the step of trusting Him. Jesus wants us to tell the whole world about Him. (The good news) Matthew 28:16-20