The Force of Will
2 Kings 7:3-8
And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?…

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate, etc. Here we have -

I. MEN INVOLVED IN THE MOST WRETCHED CONDITION. "There were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate." Of all the diseases which afflict mankind none is more painful, loathsome, and disastrous than leprosy. It was the scourge of the Hebrew race. Moses minutely describes the appearance of this malady, and gives clear and forcible rules to govern the medical treatment of it. Fat and blood and other particles of diet, which excite or aggravate constitutional tendencies to diseases of the skin, were strictly forbidden to the Jews. There are many points of analogy between leprosy and sin.

II. Men in the most wretched condition FORMING A RESOLUTION. "They said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? 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. 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." Emaciated and wretched as might have been their bodily condition, their moral nature had sufficient stamina left to make a resolution. Mind is often more active in physical disease than in physical health. Pain whips all the faculties into action, marshals all the forces of the soul. Truly wonderful is the power of the human will. Let no man justify mental indolence and moral inertia by pleading his bodily troubles. But how often this is done! How often do you hear men say, "We can do nothing because of the circumstances in which we are placed"! The "cannot" of such is their "will not," and the "will not" is their own choice.

III. MEN ACTING OUT THE RESOLUTION formed in the most wretched condition. These four poor starving leprous men not only formed a resolution, but they worked it out. "And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians." In giving practical effect to their resolution, two results followed.

1. Difficulties vanished. Their great dread was of the Syrians, but as they approached the Syrian camp, "Behold, there was no man there." Wherefore had they fled? Here is the answer: "For the Lord hath made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host. And they said one to another, 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 rose 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." By what force were these Syrians scared away? Not the force of the rough elements of nature, or the force of armies, but the force of terrible ideas - ideas that made them hear the noise of the rattling chariots and the tramping steeds of war, that had no existence. But these ideas, albeit, were ideas from God. "The Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise." God often frightens wicked men by ideas. "God can," says Matthew Henry, "when he pleases, dispirit the boldest and most brave, and make the stoutest heart to tremble. Those that will not fear God, he can make to fear at the shaking of a leaf." Before a strong resolution, apprehended difficulties frequently vanish into air. Where there's a will there's a way, even though it be over rugged mountains and surging floods. A man's "I will" has a power in it mighty as the forces of nature, ay, mightier, for it can subordinate them. "If thou hast faith as a grain of mustard seed, thou shalt say to this mountain, Be thou removed," etc.

2. The object was realized. What these poor starving leprous men deeply needed and sought was provisions to appease the cravings of hunger and to reinvigorate their waning life. And they got them. "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, and went and hid it," etc. Thus they gained even more than they sought; they not only gained food, but wealth.

CONCLUSION. Learn here the wonderful moral force of the human mind. It possesses a power to make resolutions under the most trying external conditions, and the power to work them out successfully. The fiat "I'll try" has wrought wonders in human history, is working wonders now, and so it ever can. Well does Dr. Tulloch say, "Everything yields before the strong and earnest will. It grows by exercise. It excites confidence in others, while it takes to itself the lead. Difficulties before which mere cleverness fails, and which leave the irresolute prostrate and helpless, vanish before it. They not only do not impede its progress, but it often makes of them step-ping-stones to a higher and more enduring triumph." - D.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?

WEB: Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate. They said one to another, "Why do we sit here until we die?

The Dying Lepers
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