The Unbelieving Lord
2 Kings 7:1, 2
Then Elisha said, Hear you the word of the LORD; Thus said the LORD…

The spirit of despair had taken possession of Jehoram. It was at this point that Elisha interposed with his promise of deliverance.

I. PREDICTED DELIVERANCE. Elisha made what must have seemed an incredible announcement.

1. The city was at that moment suffering the extremest horrors of famine. By the same hour on the morrow food would exist in plenty.

2. Such food as was then obtainable was of the coarsest, most loathsome, and most revolting nature. By tomorrow they would be dieting on fine flour and barley in abundance.

3. Their disgusting food was only to be had at famine prices. Tomorrow a measure of fine flour would be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel.

4. Today they were fast beleaguered. Tomorrow flour and barley would be sold in the open gates of Samaria. After this, is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14). If men will not seek him, God leaves them to feel the extremity of their own helplessness before he interposes. Then he shows himself "plenteous" in mercy (Psalm 103:8). Who can doubt that, if king and city had sought God earlier with sincere hearts, the deliverance would have come sooner? Thus by his own forwardness does the sinner stand in the way of his own good.

II. RATIONALISTIC DOUBT. The spirit of incredulity, which must have been in many minds when Elisha made this surprising announcement, found expression in the utterance of the captain on whose hand the king leaned, "Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?"

1. The author of this skeptical scoff was a person in high rank. The atmosphere of a court, and the position of a courtier, are not favorable to the development of piety. They are more apt to develop, as here, a worldly, skeptical, cynical spirit, with small faith in God, virtue, and truth. Piety is to be looked for rather in the cottages than in the palaces of a people, though there are notable exceptions. "Not many mighty," etc. (1 Corinthians 1:26).

2. The language is that of scornful incredulity. It is the speech of a rationalist. Judged by the standards of sense and of natural reason, the sudden access of plenty which Elisha predicted was impossible. If the Lord opened windows m heaven, it might be looked for, but not otherwise. And who expected help from that quarter? Thus the worldly wise lord reasoned, sneering at Elisha's word as the imagination of a heated brain. He is the type of all rationalists. Interpositions from heaven are the last things they are disposed to believe in; and in any case they will not believe God's Word unless they can see how it is to be fulfilled, and on what natural principles the unusual event is to be explained. As in the present case there was no possibility of help from within the city, and no prospect of the Syrians leaving when the city was just about to fall within their power, and no evidence that food in such abundance could be obtained at a day's notice even if they did leave, Elisha's promise could only be assigned to the category of delusion. The spirit of faith is the opposite of this. It takes God at his word, and leaves him to find out the means of accomplishing his own predictions.

III. THE PUNISHMENT OF UNBELIEF. Elisha entered into no argument. He left his word to be proved or disproved by the arbitrament of time. But he told the great lord who - so much wiser than Elisha - had scoffed at its fulfillment, what the penalty of his unbelief would be. He would see the promised plenty indeed, but he would not eat of it. Is not this the fate of every unbeliever? God's word stands sure; it comes to pass in due time; but the intellectualist, the scoffer, the doubter, the man who was too wise to believe, finds himself shut out from participation in the blessing. - J.O.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.

WEB: Elisha said, "Hear the word of Yahweh. Thus says Yahweh, 'Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.'"

The Unbelieving Lord
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