Sunday, November 27, 2016

[Matt's Messages] "If the LORD Should Open the Floodgates of Heaven"

“If the LORD Should Open the Floodgates of Heaven”
The King of Kings in the Books of Kings
November 27, 2016 :: 2 Kings 6:24-7:20  

Last week, the story ended with the Lord, through the prophet Elisha, providing a feast to the enemies of Israel whom He had captured through His supernatural power.

We went into the Thanksgiving season reminded that God shows amazing grace even to His enemies.

But as the curtain opens on this very next story, Israel is back at war with the Arameans.

And they are showing Israel no mercy.

In fact, they have laid up a siege against Samaria, the capital of Israel. And the siege is so successful that Samaria is devastated and nearly everyone within its walls are dying of starvation.

2 Kings Chapter 6, verse 24.

“Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey's head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.”

Now, we don’t know exactly how much these weights and currency would be in today’s measurements, but it’s obvious that things have become desperate.

A donkey’s head has almost no nutritional value. And here they are paying eighty shekels, perhaps 80 month’s wages just to get their hands on one.

The word translated “seed pods” in verse 2 could be translated “dove’s dung.”

Which has absolutely no nutritional value, but maybe a little bit of fuel for a cooking fire. Five shekels for that?!

That’s how utterly awful things have become in Samaria.

And here’s the worst. Verse 26

“As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, ‘Help me, my lord the king!’ The king replied, ‘If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?’ [You can tell how disheartened he is. How powerless he feels.]

Then he asked her, ‘What's the matter?’ She answered, ‘This woman said to me, 'Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we'll eat my son.' So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, 'Give up your son so we may eat him,' but she had hidden him.’

When the king heard the woman's words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth on his body.

He said, ‘May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!’”

He blames Elisha for all of this.

He’s put in a situation where this woman is clamoring for justice and it’s sick and totally wrong.

It’s supposed to remind us of the wisdom of Solomon.

But this king, probably Jehoram, is two-thumbs down. He has no wisdom. He has no power.

He has almost no kingdom left.

And he blames Elisha.

He’s living in sackcloth because his life is a constant lament.

And he knows that all of this judgment.

Deep down, he knows that he deserves all of this.

That he has led his people into all of this misery. All of this suffering.

Now he doesn’t admit that. Instead, he pins the blame on the man of God.

“May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!’”

It may not fix this situation, but it will feel really good to take it out on someone.

So he sends a messenger to collect Elisha, or at least his head. V.32

“Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, ‘Don't you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master's footsteps behind him?’ While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him. And the king said, ‘This disaster is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?’”

Did you ever feel like that?

I’m not exactly sure why the king says what he says to Elisha.

My best guess is that Elisha has told the king to repent in sackcloth and to wait upon the LORD for deliverance.

And the king basically says, “I tried that, and it didn’t work. Look around you.”

“I’m giving up on the Lord.”

Have you ever been there?

Now, Elisha speaks in chapter 7 verse 1 and he makes a surprising prediction of God’s grace. V.1

“Elisha said, ‘Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’”

That would be amazing.

Those wouldn’t be normal prices, but these people have not seen normal prices [or flour or barley!] for some time.

And now Elisha says that it will happen tomorrow.

It’s so unlikely, it’s almost unbelievable. V.2

“The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, ‘Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?’ ‘You will see it with your own eyes,’ answered Elisha, ‘but you will not eat any of it!’”


You see our title there in verse 2?

“Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”

I mean, really?!

Some translations have “window of the heavens” there in verse 2.

The idea is that God throws up the sash and starts pouring out His blessings on the people.

But this guy doesn’t believe.

He says that even if God threw open the sluicegates of the heavens and started blessing them, he probably couldn’t pull off the miracle that Elisha predicted.

What do you think of that?

Well, I know that we’re supposed to root for God and for Elisha.

But there is a part of me that understands where this guy is coming from.

Because sometimes it feels and seems like God’s promises are just too good to be true.

In this situation, to go from devastation and cannabalism-tempted starvation to full tummies in just one day seems more than just a little hard to believe.

And what about all of those other promises from God?


Every evil thing ever done to you or me worked to our good?

Each and every one of our God-betraying sins forgiven?

Being resurrected from the dead and given a new indestructible glorious body?

Do those promises (and there’s more where those came from, do those promises) sound almost inconceivably good to you?

They do to me.

When I look at the state of our world today, it’s easy for me to start thinking like this guy did.

“I don’t know. It seems to good to be true. Even if God threw open the windows ans started raining down blessings, I don’t know if everything He’s promised could come true.”

But, friends, that’s unbelief.

Everything we’ve seen in this book so far and everything we read in the rest of the Bible tell us that God’s promises are real and true and certain. God will bring them all to pass.

“Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

Believe it or not.

It’s going to happen.

Brothers and Sisters and Friends, God is calling us to trust in His (almost inconceivably) good promises.

And take them to the bank.

Do you know them?

Do you know what God has promised to His children?

Sometimes people believe in things that God has not promised. And then they get disappointed.

If I think that God has promised me a happy Christmas with dozens of presents under the tree, and good health and a happy family and a happy church family, then if I don’t get some of those things, I’m disappointed and feel let down by God.

So it’s important to know what God has promised and what He has not.

And to believe Him for every single thing that He has said He would do.

No matter how difficult or unlikely or improbable they would be to come true.

I mean, a resurrected body?!

Yesterday, I read a quote from D.A. Carson that said, “I’m not suffering from anything that a good resurrection can’t fix.”

Ain’t that the truth?

But a resurrection?

Have you ever seen a dead body?

Have you ever seen a grave?

Do people get up out of their graves?

That’s what we believe.

We don’t just believe in “going to heaven when you die.”

Christians believe in the resurrection of the body.

Christians believe in the (almost inconceivably) good promises of God.

We should know what they are. We should ransack our Bibles until we know what God has promised to do and then trust Him full for it.

Elisha has spoken the word of the LORD and has told this fellow that he will see it but not taste it.

And now, for something completely different.

In verse 3, the curtain opens early the next morning on four lepers.

Four guys with leprosy. The last people we expected to hear from. V.3

“Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, ‘Why stay here until we die? If we say, 'We'll go into the city'–the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let's go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.’”

You see where these guys are at, don’t you?

They have absolutely nothing. They are social outcasts who have to live outside the starving city.

And they are planning to die so they decide what could it hurt to try to surrender to the Arameans. Maybe they’ll feed them. If not, they are going to die anyway.

What do you think is going to happen?

Well, it’s God, right? And it’s 2 Kings. So they probably aren’t going to die. But it sure seems like it. V.5

“At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!’

So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.

The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp and entered one of the tents. They ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.

Then they said to each other, ‘We're not doing 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.’”

If the LORD Should Open the Floodgates of Heaven:


Can you imagine how these guys felt?

They went from starving to feasting and trying on new clothes and putting stuff away for a rainy day.

They had hit the jackpot!

Imagine the soundtrack for this moment.

It’s a ghost town. God had orchestrated this miracle so that the Arameans were so scared that they left all their good stuff behind.

It was better than Black Friday.

The stores were empty of people and everything was free!

The four guys are running from tent to tent.

“Do you see what they have behind door number 3?”

And it’s all ours!

And then they come to their senses and remember that there are people starving just over there behind that wall.

“We're not doing 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.”

What a picture of the gospel!

God’s good news is too good to keep to ourselves.

What Jesus did for us on the Cross. What He purchased there when He died?

That’s too good to not share.

What Jesus did at the Empty Tomb. What kind of life He brought on that day?

That’s too good to keep to ourselves.

Like the song says:

“Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine.
Hide it under a bushel, No! I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine!”

I’m afraid that many of us are ashamed of the good news.

We don’t feel like sharing it.

We love it. We cherish it. We sing about it on Sundays.

But what about on Mondays?

Do we keep all of this gospel wealth to ourselves?

If so, “We are not doing right. This is a day of good news...” and we should get busy sharing it.

When was the last time you gave testimony of God’s grace in your life to someone who needs to hear it?

This is a good season for it. The Advent season leading up to Christmas.

We don’t need to get all preachy.

But we do need to share the wealth that we have been given.

Given!  Not earned.

These 4 lepers did nothing to deserve all of these blessings.

And neither have we.  But we are the beneficiaries of God’s almost unbelievably generosity, and it would be wrong to hoard it.

Share the good news.

Whether they believe it or not themselves. V.10

“So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, ‘We went into the Aramean camp and not a man was there–not a sound of anyone–only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.’

The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace.

[And because Elisha had said that it would be so, they were all ready to go out there. Not so much. V.12]

The king got up in the night and said to his officers, ‘I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us.They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, 'They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.'’ [It’s a trap!]

One of his officers answered, ‘Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here–yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.’

[I think that guy believed Elisha! But he says, “What do we have to lose?”]

So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, ‘Go and find out what has happened.’ They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king.

Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans.

So a seah of flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the LORD had said.

Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house.

It happened as the man of God had said to the king: ‘About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.’ The officer had said to the man of God, ‘Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?’ The man of God had replied, ‘You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!’ And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.”

How many times does the author emphasize that God did it just like He said He would?

God did it just like He said He would.

God always keeps His promises.

Believe it!

Disbelieve it at your own peril.

What happened to this man, trampled in the gateway, is a picture of what the author of Hebrews says when writes, “[H]ow shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” or when he says, “See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?” (Heb 2:3, 12:25).

There is a great price to pay for unbelief.

God has made almost inconceivably great promises, and they call come true for those who put their faith and trust in Him.

But those who ignore His promises and choose to not believe them?

Don’t be that guy.

Because the LORD has promised to open the floodgates of heaven on all who trust in His very great and precious promises.

Only trust Him.
Only trust Him.
Only trust Him now.


Messages in this Series:

01. Who Will Be King?
02. The Wisdom of the King
03. The Temple of the King
04. The Incomparable King of the Temple
05. A Breathtaking King
06. The Turned King and the Torn Kingdom
07. The Two Kings and the Tearing of the Kingdom
08. The Word of the LORD
09. In the Eyes of the LORD
10. The LORD Lives
11. The LORD Is God!
12. The LORD Is Still God.
13. “You Will Know that I am the LORD”
14. "Thus Saith the LORD!"
15. What the LORD Says
16. Is There No God in Israel?
17. Where Is the God of Elijah?
18. How NOT To Relate to God
19. God of Wonders
20. No God in the All the World Except in Israel
21. LORD, Open Our Eyes!