Explore the Bible Study: God Provides

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A recent caption on many news outlets read, “Pizza Delivery Man Saves Family from House Fire.” It’s a story of a man who was driving down the road early one morning and saw a house on fire. He ran inside when he found out one of the children was still missing. He found the child and jumped out of a 2nd floor window, bringing the child to safety. The news is full of stories about acts of heroism from unlikely heroes. Most people are drawn to these stories. 2 Kings 7, describes four men, a servant, and some messengers who were the unlikeliest of heroes. The Explore the Bible Study: God Provides, will examine these heroes and will help you learn how to bravely respond to God's provisions.

The circumstances that led to these men becoming heroes began in 2 Kings 6.  It involves the prophet Elisha and the king of Aram (Syria). The king of Aram knew God was informing Elisha of the king's plans against Israel, so he set out to capture Elisha. The Aramean army came to Dothan, where Elisha was staying, but God sent a heavenly army to protect His prophet (2 Kings 6:13-17). God delivered Elisha, and the Arameans did not come again to Israel (2 Kings 6:18-23).

But later, Ben-hadad, king of Aram, besieged Samaria. The Aramean siege of Samaria had brought dreadful hardship to the city, and Israel’s king blamed Elisha. Israel’s king sent soldiers to bring Elisha before the king (2 Kings 6:24-33) to address the situation. The response to this crisis described in 2 Kings 7 leads to some unlikely heroes. 

You should listen to God when facing a crisis – 2 Kings 7:1-2

God’s prophet challenged God’s people to hear the word of the Lord! God led Elisha to prophesy that the siege would end, and Samaria’s economic woes would be removed.  Not only would this happen, but the timing would be quick – about this time tomorrow at Samaria’s gate. They would not have to wait long to see God’s deliverance. 

Elisha’s words indicated that the cost of food prices in Samaria would greatly improve by the next day, and the economy that spun out of control due to the siege would stabilize. Elisha mentioned this would be especially evident at Samaria’s city gate, where many business transactions occurred.

The captain responded, "Look, even if the Lord were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?" He struggled to believe that, within twenty-four hours, life in Samaria could return to normal. He could not fathom that even God was capable of changing this situation. The captain had doubted God’s message through Elisha, so he would not enjoy the blessing when it came.

Would people’s response be any different if Elisha were prophesying this today? Why or why not? 

Doubting God can lead to missed opportunities. When we face difficult times, we may struggle to believe the truth of God’s promises, His authority, or His power, but they remain true nonetheless (2 Corinthians 1:20). Doubting that God is in control undermines the stability that comes from a relationship with Him, and we may miss seeing God work in a great way.

What are some situations or circumstances today that might tempt you to doubt that, even if God would intervene, He couldn’t fix what was happening? What should you do with your doubts?

God sometimes uses your difficulties to place you in a position to experience His work – 2 Kings 7:3-8

These four skin diseased men will now become the unlikely heroes of this biblical event. They not only experienced the siege of their city, were starving and afraid, but they had a serious skin condition, possibly leprosy. Yet, this very skin disease is what placed them at the entrance to the city gate. But, because they were sitting at the entrance, they could see where the Aramean army was stationed for the siege.

These men asked themselves a question: Why just sit here until we die?  We can go into the city and starve to death, keep sitting where we are and die, or we could go for option number 3 which was to surrender to the Arameans. Their options weren’t so great, so they assumed, “If we are going to die anyway, why not try surrendering? We have nothing to lose!” 

What happens next is amazing. These men went to the Aramean camp only to find it completely deserted! Verse 6 tells us why: 

the Lord had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a large army leading them to assume that the king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack. Fear and panic spread throughout the Aramean camp leading them to flee in the early morning hours and leaving everything behind.

God often provides in unexpected ways. When the four men went out to the Aramean camp, they did not know whether they would live or die. What they found must have staggered their comprehension. Likewise, when you place your faith in the Lord, you can be confident that He has provided beyond what anyone could possibly provide.

How has God worked in your life during desperate times?

When God works, we must tell others – 2 Kings 7:9-11

God provided deliverance to the people of Samaria and Israel from the Aramean threat, and they had seen it firsthand.  They had to share this good news with others. Additionally, they recognized that remaining silent would count toward them as sin.

These were diseased men and were considered unclean and unfit to enter the city and interact with the people. This led to some difficulty in communicating the news. They had to call to the city’s gatekeepers who, in return, sent messengers to the king. Then, the news would be shared with everyone in the city. This was no small task, yet they were determined.

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you have some good news you should be sharing with others regarding salvation through Jesus Christ. Everyone deserves to know that deliverance has come. Not only is it something you should desire to share, but you also have a responsibility to share what you have received. People may have other needs as well that we are able to meet because of God’s blessings upon us. In such times, we must remember all we have comes from God (1 Corinthians 4:7). As someone has said, “God wants us to be channels of His grace, not reservoirs of His grace.”

There are always skeptics who don’t want to accept the truth – 2 Kings 7:12-15

Mountains surround the city of Samaria on every side, and such terrain provided opportunity for the Arameans to hide beyond the ridge or between the mountains and not be visible to Samaria’s watchmen. The king thought the Arameans were trying to lure his citizens into coming out to plunder the Aramean camp. 

Now another unlikely hero steps up—one of the king’s servants! He acknowledged that the king might be right, and caution was in order, but if what was reported was truth, then this was certainly good news for Samaria! He bravely suggested a solution to the king. This leads to even more unlikely heroes stepping up—five messengers would take five of the horses that were left in the city. Remember, the horses were most likely the last source of food for the besieged city, and now the messengers would be riding into the enemy camp on five of the horses to see if the abandoned camp was a trap. If in fact it was a trap, all would die anyway. 

These brave messengers examined the camp and tracked the Aramean soldiers as far as the Jordan—approximately twenty-five miles east of Samaria. The messengers saw no signs of human life; rather, they saw that the whole way was littered with clothes and equipment. No Aramean threat remained, and the messengers returned and told the king. 

Living in the Truth

The skin-diseased men who had nothing to lose, the servant to the king who boldly spoke to his king, and the messengers who rode into what could have been a trap, became the heroes that God used to demonstrate how He works to rescue people from their enemies. Second Kings 7:16-20 describes how the Israelites plundered the Aramean camp. Life returned to normal quickly in Samaria as God intervened on their behalf. 

Who were the heroes that invested in telling you the good news about salvation through Jesus Christ? Who are some spiritual heroes that have demonstrated to you the power of trusting God?

By the way, remember the captain? He was the king’s right-hand man, and early on, in verses 1-2, he doubted that even God could do anything to overcome their situation. Elisha told him, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.” Imagine what it would have been like to be that captain. You would observe all that God had done, but you would not be allowed to participate in His blessings.

We all have choices to make:

  • When it comes to trusting in Christ, we must be willing to go and examine how God has provided. God isn’t trying to trap us, but He has freely provided for our salvation through Jesus Christ. 
  • As believers, we can choose to be heroes for the faith by not hiding how God has provided, but by overcoming barriers so that we can tell the good news.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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