On new year's day a good friend ministered on these chapters which contain this verse. It relates to this subject of coming revival in a most vital and personal way.
We are told in chapter 6 that the King of Syria came up with a great army and besieged the city of Samaria. In verse 25 we read: "And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver."
An ass was an unclean animal to the Jew but things are so bad in this famine that they not only were buying and eating it, but they were eating its head. The head was the cheapest part. And as if that was not bad enough it was being sold for the crazy price of 80 pieces of silver. Dove's dung was being sold for 5 pieces of silver. When Christianity is besieged, in famine, with no sign of revival, then God's people eat anything at a very high price. When the Dove who brings and leads revival is gone His dung is very costly!
At this disastrous point of the siege as the King walked about the walls surveying the scene of his beleaguered people a woman cried out to him for help. The sad story then unfolds before the King concerning two mothers with babies who agree to cook and eat their children. The first mother carried it out but the second would not. She hid her child (v26-29). When no revival comes to God's people this is the tragedy which takes place. Have you not been sickened to the stomach by what you have seen go on in so-called churches amongst believers? Why is that? It's because there is a famine, there has been no rain, the enemy has exalted himself in besieging the church.
When the King heard this he was so sickened by it that he rent his kingly garments and went onwards in sackcloth and ashes. Anger filled his heart which he turned against Elisha who was God's prophet in their midst. The King swears that that very day he would take Elisha's head. When the King came to Elisha blaming the Lord for this tragic state of affairs Elisha responded by prophesying of coming deliverance. Within 24 hours they will have more than plenty. "Thus saith the LORD, To morrow 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 lord who was at the King's side responded to this word of the prophet: "Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?" Here was a statement of utter disbelief. The tragic famine had blinded his eyes to the hope of a coming change in the city and his heart had become so encrusted that it could not believe that God could or would do such within 24 hours.
The prophet responded: "Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof." This is a stark warning to believers who have become so discouraged with the famine, the enemy, and even the state of God's people they have no faith that God will again bestir Himself, reveal the power of His right hand and deliver His people once more by mighty revivals and visitations. It is a terrible thing when believers forget how powerful God is and limit the Holy One of Israel in what He can do. There will be those in our midst who will only see revival afar off but will not live long enough to enjoy it.
So close to revival yet so far. All because of unbelief. What was the means by which God brought this amazing and sudden deliverance? It was through four lepers who reasoned "Why sit we here until we die?" God honoured their faith and their willingness to not die without a testimony. In this hour of famine are you like the lord who died of unbelief or the lepers who lived because of faith?