Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday’s Message; 2 Kings 7:3-9

Scripture for this coming Sunday: 2 Kings 7:3-9

You can read this Scripture here: {NIV2010 and ESV}

This Sunday we will start a new series of sermons that will deal with our Christian testimony.

Hope you can join us. Our services are at 9:30 am.

Kingswood UMC, 300 Marrows Rd, Newark,  DE  19713

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The word “photobomb” was officially added to the English dictionary in 2015. It is a verb, and it means, “To spoil a photograph by appearing in the camera’s field of view as the picture is taken.”

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Today we heard the story of four lepers from Second Kings chapter 7. King Ben-Hadad of Syria besieged the capital city of Samaria in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 6:24). The result was severe famine.

It is in this context that we meet four outcasts, four men who had some kind of skin disease that resulted in them being cast out of the city.

They were forced to live in a “no-man’s land” because their own people were scared of the disease. Today we have a similar scare with the Zika Virus, the Avian and Swine flu, and various strains of Staph infections.

These four pariahs/outcasts could not escape into the countryside because of the Assyrian army that surrounded the city.

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So they did something interesting. They had a “summit” or a “conference” or a “meeting of the minds” and looked at their options. From their perspective they saw three options (2 Kings 7:3-4):

1) Enter the city, be shunned and humiliated, and starve.

2) Sit at the gate and starve.

3) Go to the camp of the enemy on the slim chance that the Arameans would spare their lives for fear of contact and infection, and let them pass into the open country.

You have to admit these are pretty bad options. Only the third option gave them even a slight glimmer of hope. So they waited until sunset and then walked into the enemy’s camp.

They found an empty camp. God spooked the Assyrians and they ran away leaving everything behind (2 Kings 7:6-7). The four men took care of their most pressing needs first: they got some food. After eating, they looted and hid valuables that they could pick up at a later date (2 Kings 7:8); they made sure that they had a means of survival in the future.

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And that brings us to the topic that I want to discuss. Look at their words found in verse 2 Kings 7:9:

9 Then they said to each other, What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

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These words are a testimony. Testimony is a recounting of a religious conversion or experience to others; it is a profession of experience of God.

Even though they did not harbor any warm feelings towards the people inside the city walls, even though they were outcasts, shunned and humiliated for something that they had no control over, they recognized God’s presence in the situation. They recognized that they had experienced God in action, they had a testimony and they had a responsibility to share that testimony.

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In Luke 12:48 we hear, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

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It is our human condition to photobomb Jesus. We hope and pray that our neighbors find Jesus, but we hope that they will find Jesus because of OUR actions not someone else’s. We want our neighbors to be encouraged and we want to be the instruments of that edification. We want everybody to know how great our God is, but we also hope that others see a little bit of that greatness in us.

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In his book The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsin (1918-2008) wrote that “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” That line exists because we live in a fallen world. That is why there is a tug-of-war between wanting God to use us for God’s glory and wanting everyone to know it.

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That reality of the fallenness infuses our thoughts and actions. The only way around it is to recognize it for what it is, and ask God to protect us from ourselves. That is why we pray, “lead us not into temptation.”

The four lepers recognized the line between good and evil in their thoughts and actions. That is why instead of quietly disappearing into the abyss, they went back to the city with their testimony.

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1) Their statement begins with God, “This is a day of good news ….”

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2) The four of them recognized that God was doing something wonderful in their lives, and that by blessing them, God was blessing others as well (Luke 12:48).

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3) They acknowledge that the news is too wonderful to keep to themselves, “This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.” In Proverbs 9:10 we hear, “The fear of God is beginning of wisdom.” This verse makes us think of fear in terms of “I am quaking in my boots.” I think that a better translation would be, “Recognizing our connection, inter-dependence, and responsibility to God is the beginning of wisdom.”

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4) They feel that they are stewards of this news and they feel compelled to share it, “If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

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Their story is a testimony because it begins with God, and points towards God.

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