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“No words, no explanation”, 10-day photo challenge is a trend in Facebook keeping several people happily occupied amidst social distancing and quarantine. By no means, could social distancing stop millions of people from displaying their creativity, skills and blessings through different social media, giving them a sense of nearness. Yet, few people step out of their homes to visit the deprived and the stranded (example- migrant workers in India) for sharing food, medications and essentials during this pandemic. Appropriate to the situation, they understand that they cannot ‘sit still’, when the world is suffering and move out to share their blessings with others. 

Interestingly, the scenario from 2 Kings 7 closely mirrors our current saddened situation of pandemic, famine, and inflation and shows how the characters involved responded during crisis. The event and the key characters are fleetingly mentioned that the narrator did not even feel the need to mention their names, nevertheless the event found a place in the Scripture.

The event happened in Samaria, a territory that had deep-rooted historical animosity with Judah and the neighboring countries that was sustained over the centuries. At the time of this event, Samaria was under gruesome attack by the Syrians, who were going nowhere without defeating them. Sadly, the siege led to starvation, inflation and even cannibalism. It is against this background that the narrator takes the reader through a series of dramatic events. The narrator presents a model for ‘generosity’ in sharing God’s blessings with fellow humans.  In fact, the story ends by recognizing that God is all-powerful and faithful to his promises and uses even insignificant people for his glory.

Characters, Events and Outcome

Samaria represented a distressed, constrained society almost similar to our situation now.  In the middle of war and a dreadful siege, Yahweh sends Prophet Elisha with a promise of deliverance.  Now, Elisha had no clue about how this promise will materialize, but with absolute faith in Yahweh, he declares deliverance to people. However, famine and starvation compel people, including the King to ridicule Elisha’s message.   On the other hand, being quarantined, this promise did not reach the key players in this narration – the four lepers that were forced to maintain social isolation because of their dreadful disease. Under their circumstances, the lepers knew that death was for sure, whether they remain as outcasts or go into the city. They ask, “Why die sitting?”  Finally, they dared to face their enemy.

Yahweh behind the scene

Stretching my imagination, I believe Yahweh started working behind the scenes, the moment the lepers decided to move. If it were His will, Yahweh would have rained down manna from heaven or commanded ravens to feed the Samaritans. However, it was God’s plan to use isolated ‘human resource’, miserable as they were, for his work.  Yahweh made the Syrians to experience a supernatural panic that made them to flee from their established territory, leaving all their treasures behind. His promise of reversal of famine to abundance happened at the specified time (in Hebrew עֵת {‛êth/kā·‘êṯ}, meaning at the appointed/right time) as promised to Elisha.

The lepers stumbled upon treasures beyond their wildest dreams. They enjoyed, carried and hid their loot for the future. The narrator could have stopped here if the purpose of the story was to portray the natural tendency of humankind to be selfish, callous or to hoard wealth or if it was to prove Elisha right or God as miracle-worker. However, the narrator continues the story to share “Just what they did that day” that gives us food for thought.

Message for Implied readers

The four lepers suffered due to social isolation, did not enjoy the love of a family and were probably depressed and worried sick about having a lonely death sooner or later. Added to it, now there was famine in the city.

Nevertheless, they were not willing to die as losers. Therefore, they decided to challenge their situation in a way that activated God’s blessings. On first impulse, the lepers took and hid the riches, but soon realized their selfishness and immediately decided to share their fortune with their folks, without any grudge towards a society that had quarantined them.

The good intentions of the four outcasts brought abundance to an entire country. The characters, low as they might be in the society, played a pivotal role in bringing many others to taste God’s goodness and they were credited with a place in the scripture.

Just what have we done today?

Possibly, the narrator’s motive was to convey the truth that God does not seek people with social status, wealth or power to share their blessings with others. The lepers were part of God’s redemption plan. Today, as we practice social distancing, the question that we need to ask ourselves isJust what have we done today?” God is willing to move in supernatural ways in our lives. However, what are we doing with the treasures he gave us?

Are we ‘quarantining’ from sharing our God-given material and spiritual blessings with others?  Otherwise, are we willing to share our time, skills and blessings with the have-nots during this difficult time?

We shall be so kind in the afterwhile, But what have we done today? We shall bring to each lonely life a smile, But what have we brought today? ; or We shall feed the hung’ring souls of earth; But whom have we fed today?……. Yes, this is the thing our souls must ask, “Just what have we done today?” Unknown                                                                                                                     

* This post is a part of coursework. Title Thought and poem credit : Source – http://gshministry.tripod.com/p/p23.html

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