“Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” This is a question King Jehoram of Israel asks during a long lasting and grueling siege of his city. Have you ever asked this question? Are you asking it right now?
Sometimes our situation seems so desperate that we start to ask ourselves, "Where is the Lord?"
"Where is His deliverance?" "Where is His power?" To answer this question, I want to look at the story of this siege of Samaria. I hope you will be encouraged in the Lord as you study this event with me.
In 2 Kings chapter 6 and 7, this horrific story is told. In it, the city of Samaria is under siege from the Syrian army. The siege goes on so long that the people in the city run out of food and begin to starve. The tale becomes shockingly horrific when a starving lady brings her grievance to king Jehoram. She told him, "My neighbor and I made an agreement to eat our sons. Yesterday we ate mine, but now that it is time to eat her son, she has run off and hidden him." The horrific nature of this tale is reminiscent of the darkest post-apocalyptic stories.
What is even more shocking than the fact that she just ate her son is the grievance she brought to the king. She was being stopped from eating another child because her neighbor had hidden her son. The bloodthirsty and callous nature of her complaint is hard to fathom. Starvation is a terrible and dehumanizing thing. When the king heard this lady's complaint, he was utterly devastated. He called for the prophet Elisha and threatened his life. He knew the prophet was the voice piece of God, and he blamed God for this terrible, disastrous siege that had brought his people so low.
When Elisha heard the king’s anger, he told him that by tomorrow there would be plenty of food in the city. He announced that everything would be returned to normal. The king could not believe this. However, at the city gates, four lepers were having a chat. They said to each other, "If we continue to sit at this gate, we will starve; let’s go to the Syrian camp and beg them for some food. Who cares if they kill us; we're going to die anyway." However, when they got to the camp, they found it completely deserted. It was rich with food and bounty, and no one was guarding it. It turned out God had confused the Syrians, making them hear armies attacking them that did not exist, (at least not in the natural). The Syrians had become terrified and had run for their lives. The lepers ate their fill and then went back to the city to tell them the siege was over, and there was bountiful food, enough for everyone in the city. I can't help but immediately think of the lady who ate her son, just days before. If she had just had the strength to hold on a little bit longer, her situation would have been very different.
Our opening question, “Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” is answered here.
God had promised deliverance to the people of Israel. Indeed He had foretold this whole story in Deuteronomy 28:53-57. Yet when the hard times came, this woman looked to herself, and in the most callous way, her own resources to survive the situation. When the hard times come, I know I have a tendency to go into problem solving mode. I think of all the things I can do to change the difficult situation I am in. This story reminds me, that even in the most difficult of circumstances, God is at work. Let us remember that His sovereignty is not a mere theological concept but a reality in our day to day lives. Despite what you may be going through, despite how black it may seem, God is working in the shadows of your situation. He may even now be routing the metaphorical armies of the Syrians in your situation!
Let me ask you this. In your situation, who is your “son”? What is the thing you are about to give up on? Let me say to you, wait! Is it your marriage, your children, your ministry, your mental or physical health, your finances, your desire for a child, your desire for a spouse or a myriad of other issues? Let me encourage you, don't take things into your own hands; continue to put your hope in God. Hold on to the hope of the Lord! We do not know when God's deliverance will come or what form it will take, but we do know it is coming. God promised He would never see the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37.25). As Christians, we are “the righteous”; we are the very righteousness of God in Christ Jesus ( 2 Corinthians 5.21), so as believers, this is a promise for us.
Do not eat your child today.
Even as this lady committed cannibalism against her own son, the lepers were sitting at the gate, talking about visiting the Syrian camp. We do not know what tomorrow holds, but God does. The steps of the righteous man are ordered by God (Psalm 37.23). You may think that you can see your situation from all angles, just like the lady in this story. And just like her, you cannot see a way out. You have lost hope. But you cannot see your situation from God’s angle. The lady who ate her son did not realize how soon her situation would be turned around; she could not see the future just as you and I cannot see it. Four lepers sitting at the gate, that no one was giving a second thought to, brought deliverance to the city. There are people, places and events that you know nothing of yet that God is aligning for you and your future. You cannot see it all, but He can! Put your hope in the goodness and deliverance of the Lord. Hold on just a little bit longer; wait and see the salvation of the Lord.
I am sure if this lady could have had her time again, she would have done things very differently. So let us learn from her story; you still have the opportunity to see God do His will and His work in your situation. Don't jump the gun. Keep trusting in the Lord. He is faithful, and you are not forgotten. Let a beautiful testimony bloom out of the desert you are in. Hang in there, and keep trusting the Lord. His power is made perfect in our weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12.9).
Our opening question was the one asked by King Jehoram, “How much longer should I wait for the Lord?” I think the clear answer we can take from this story in 2 Kings is to wait as long as it takes. God’s timing and His ways are perfect. Let us continue to trust in our God and see His hand working out everything for good in our lives.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).