"THE TRAGIC PRICE OF UNBELIEF"
Intro. The city of Samaria has been under siege by the Syrian army. The siege is taking its toll. People are beginning to starve to death. Food is so scarce that people will pay almost any price for any kind of food. A donkey's head was sold for 80 pieces of silver, or 50 dollars. Things were so desperate that people were beginning to cannibalize their own children.
I. THE KINGS VOW TO TAKE OFF THE HEAD OF ELISHA THE PROPHET OF GOD.
A. It is interesting to me how that when calamity comes people, so often, want to blame God for it. We often call major disasters, acts of God.
1. Talk about putting a spin on things, Satan is the spin master.
2. The scripture clearly shows that the reason for the problem is that they had forsaken God, and as a result were removed from God's providential care.
3. It would be like trying to blame God for the spread of the HIV virus in the homosexual community.
4. It's like God warns, "Don't take that path, it is icy." and I take that path and slip on the ice and then curse God for letting me fall.
B. God has established certain physical laws in our Universe and we learn to respect those laws for we know that there is a cause and effect.
1. The law of gravity. We may not understand why masses attract, but we know they do. So we do not seek to deliberately challenge the law of gravity.
a. You don't jump off of a 12 story building screaming, "I hate gravity." For you know the consequences.
b. Lying on the ground in a crumpled broken mass, how foolish it would be to curse God for letting you hit the ground.
c. You violated His law, and you are reaping the consequences.
2. There are also spiritual laws, perhaps we do not understand how they function either, but to violate them is to court disaster.
a. Again, however, how totally wrong to blame God for the pain that you are feeling, the sorrow and misery you are going through. You are the one that broke the law.
b. The Nation of Israel had broken the laws of God and are now suffering the consequences, and the misguided king wants to blame God's representative, the prophet Elisha, for their suffering.
C. The king sent his messenger to take off the head of Elisha.
1. As Elisha is sitting in his house with his friends, he suddenly exclaims, "Look what that son of a murderer is planning to do now."
a. He has sent a messenger to get my head. When he comes shut the door and hold him fast, for his master is right behind him.
b. When the messenger came to the door, Elisha's friends were holding him as the king and his prime minister came riding up.
2. Elisha said, "Hear the word of the Lord."
Thus saith the LORD, Tomorrow 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.
a. Or two gallons of flour, or four gallons of barley will be selling for a dollar in the gate of Samaria.
b. Here is a fantastic promise from the prophet of God.
3. The prime minister on whom the king leaned, scoffed at the promise of God and declared, "If God would open windows in heaven could such a thing happen?"
a. His problem was he couldn't imagine how God could possibly keep such a promise.
b. He had this crazy picture in his mind of God opening chutes in heaven and raining down flour and barley.
c. He was, you might say, staggering at the promise of God as he sought to figure out how God could possibly pull off something that momentous.
d. We must not doubt God just because we can't see how God might possibly keep his promise.
e. God has ways we have not even imagined, and resources that we know nothing about.
f. Elisha said to him, "You will see it, but you will not eat it."
II. THIS WILL BE THE TRAGIC PRICE FOR HIS UNBELIEF. HE WILL SEE IT, BUT HE WON'T EAT IT.
A. God is going to keep His promise. They will be selling two gallons of flour for a dollar in the gate of Samaria the next day, he will see it, but will not partake of it.
B. Unbelief keeps you from enjoying the blessings of God.
1. Through Jesus the Messiah, God has provided the means by which all of our transgressions and sins may be remitted.
a. What a blessing it is to know that our sins have been forgiven, that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
b. King David spoke of this happiness in Psalm 32
. "Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered."
c. He spoke of the misery when he was feeling the guilt of his sin. "Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me, inwardly I became as dry summer,"
d. So many people do not have this blessedness because of their unbelief.
e. They are like the Greeks to whom the cross of Christ was foolishness. They cannot understand how that by simply believing in Jesus Christ we can have our sins remitted.
f. John 3:16
just does not seem to register. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
2. Unbelief keeps you from this overflowing life in Christ. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life, and that more abundantly. So many do not have this abundant life.
a. John said, "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life, but he that believes not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
b. Unbelief costs you the abundant life in Christ.
3. Unbelief robs you of a hope for the future.
a. As I look at the world in which we live today, I do not see much hope for the future.
b. Almost any direction in which you might look there seems to be despair.
c. Islam, that seems to breed hatred in so many of its adherents has named us the great Satan, and their hatred toward us is hard for us to imagine.
d. The taking over of an airliner and deliberately flying it with the passengers on board into the World Trade Center defies our capacity to fathom.
e. We hear it said that that the events that took place on 9-11 have forever changed our lives that we can never be normal again. We can never go back to the feeling of security that we once had.
f. We hear of nuclear warheads, biological warheads, chemical warheads, energy crisis, pollution, terrorists cells, is this the kind of world we want for our grandchildren?
g. What a beautiful bright hope for the future the Bible gives to us.
h. Like in our story today, the future of Samaria looked even more bleak than the conditions of our world look today, yet God gave to them a wonderful promise of the great new day that would dawn tomorrow.
i. The Prime minister scoffed in unbelief at the promise of God.
III. WHAT HAPPENED?
A. That night the Syrians heard noises that they interpreted as the sound of horses and chariots and assumed that the Egyptians had come with their troops to deliver Samaria, and they fled in panic leaving everything behind.
1. In the morning there was not a Syrian this side of the Jordan River. All of their food supplies were left behind, and the starving people of Samaria poured out of the city to plunder the Syrian camp.
2. The Prime minister stood in the gate and tried to maintain order but the people in their desperation to get to the food, trampled him to death. He saw it, but he did not eat it. The awful price of unbelief.
3. I can think of something that is even a worse price to pay for unbelief. In Revelation we read of God's final judgment on the unbelievers.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ, you will see it and tragically, you will partake of it.
4. The promises of God are certain. You can bet your life on that. The Bible says,
God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do [it]? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?