“Failing to Taste God's Blessings”Categories: Bulletin Articles
The first half of 2 Kings is an odd document in many ways, but it has some profound spiritual lessons to offer us. One of them comes from the story of the siege of Samaria in 2 Kings 6-7. In this story, the city is besieged by the Syrian army, and things have gotten so desperate that the citizens are eating their own children.
In this midst of this terrible, apparently hopeless, time, Elisha promises the Israelite king, Jehoram, that the very next day, food would be sold in Samaria for pre-siege prices. One of Jehoram’s captains sneers at this. He questions God’s ability to provide such a bounty, even if He were to open windows in heaven. In reply, Elisha tells him “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
That night, God frightens the Syrians so that they flee, leaving all of their provisions behind. The people receive word of this, dash out to the Syrian camp, and loot it, so that Elisha’s incredible prediction is fulfilled. The only loser is the skeptical captain. The king had put him in charge of the gate, so that when the Israelites rush out, they trample him, and he dies. He did indeed see God’s salvation, but his unbelief kept him from benefiting from it.
Sadly, all too many people are in the midst of re-enacting this story. As the word of God’s salvation came to the unbelieving captain, so it comes to them. They too learn that God promises them life. However, also like the captain, they choose to sneer rather than believe. Resurrection from the dead? Impossible!
God may not reveal His final salvation tomorrow, but just as surely as the word of Elisha was fulfilled, so too will the word of Christ be. On the day when He returns, every eye will see Him. Every knee will bow before Him. Every tongue will confess Him.
However, even though everyone will see the fulfillment of the promise, not everyone will taste it. God’s blessings are reserved for His own. They will spend eternity sustaining themselves with the Bread of Heaven and drinking His living water. The unbelieving will not. Instead, the same appearance that meant life for the faithful will mean death for them.
The devil likes to try to get us to dwell on the problems that may come with belief. We won’t get to do fun things anymore, our friends will laugh at us, the smart set will sneer at us, and so on. In practice, these problems prove either to be insignificant or nonexistent.
Against them, though, we must set the very real problems that accompany unbelief. The skeptical captain probably spent his last few hours congratulating himself on his wit. We may spend our last several decades congratulating ourselves on our superior understanding. In time, though, the folly of faithlessness always becomes evident. We will see the salvation of God whether we expect to or not. Whether we taste it is up to us.