From a sermon series on 2 Kings by See Huang Lim, a missionary at IBF.
Friends, have you ever worried about your finances? Or some challenge that seems too big for you? Do you believe that God cares about you and your challenges? The text today is from 2 Kings 7, and it tells us that God has a generous heart to provide for His people.
Let me provide the story’s background before we read 2 Kings 7. At that time, Israel was fighting a war and was in a crisis. Enemy armies had surrounded their capital city, Samaria. As a result, the Israelites suffered a food shortage. Food became scarce and expensive. The crisis was so severe that some people ate babies to survive (2 Kings 6:24-29). The Israelites’ situation was hopeless. If they left the city, enemies would kill them. If they stayed inside, they would soon die of starvation.
Let’s discover how God helped them. Let’s open 2 Kings 7. The story begins with the prophet Elisha telling Israel a message from God. The message said: Everyone, listen! Tomorrow, food will become plentiful and very cheap!
[Read 2 Kings 7]
Who is Your Provider?
Today’s story is about God’s provision in a time of great need.
Last year, I asked a friend in Malaysia, “Do you plan to have children?” He said, “Probably not. The economy is so bad.” I asked him, “Do you believe God can provide for you?” “Of course I do,” he said, “But we have to be realistic too. What about their college education? Everything costs so much these days!”
So, my friend said, yes, he trusts God. But at the same time, he said that trusting God is not realistic. Do you feel like this sometimes? Do you believe in God but feel you alone are responsible for taking care of your family? We often think, “Food doesn’t drop from the sky! We have to work hard!”
Isn’t it interesting that, in 2 Kings, God provided Israel food from out of nowhere. God caused the enemies of Israel to run away, leaving all their camps and food. Israel didn’t produce that food. They didn’t even fight and conquer the enemy. God did everything!
You might think, “Oh, but that’s a miracle. God doesn’t do miracles like that every day. Normal people like me have to work.”
Yes, it’s true that we should work to provide for our families. ButI believe God wants us to change our perspective slightly.
God wants us to believe that, ultimately, He is the true provider. Because it is actually God who provides our jobs and our ability to work. Our jobs are only oneway he provides for us.
Deut 8 says, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deut 8:17-18).
What will happen when you start to see God as the true provider, instead of yourself? You will be able to obey Jesus’ words in Matthew 6. “Do not worry,” Jesus said.
In Matthew 6:25, Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about what your body, what you will wear.” Jesus said: Look at the birds – they don’t even work but God feeds them. And aren’t you more valuable than birds?
Verse 32 says, the world runs after all these things: food, clothes, money, success. But your heavenly Father knows what you need. In verse 33, Jesus concluded: Seek first God’s kingdom and what you need will be given to you.
In the 19th century, there was a man named George Muller who lived in the United Kingdom. Those days, there were many homeless, starving children. Muller saw their pitiful condition. He felt God calling Him to open an orphanage. So he found a buildingin England to house many children. But one day, he found there was no more food left in the house. They did not have enough money for breakfast.
What did Muller do? He sat down with the children at the table. There was no food on the table. But as usual, he prayed and gave thanks to God for the food. When his prayer ended, there was a knock on the door.
It was the bread seller. He said, “I couldn’t sleep last night. I felt God asking me to share bread with the orphans.” After that, the milkman came. He said, “My milk cart broke down near your orphanage. So I want to share the milk with your children.”
Wow, isn’t God amazing? Actually, Muller experienced this kind of miracle many times. After 34 years, Muller had 1,700 orphans. But the whole time,he never asked for donations from anyone. He wanted to just pray and trust God. And God did provide.
I shared Muller’s story to encourage you that God knows your needs.
Does that mean that it is easy to trust God? For me, no. It is a conscious decision. It takes effort. Every time I feel anxious, I have to keep coming back to God and tell Him about my worries.
For example, right now, I feel it is not easy to trust God about my finances in Japan. Elena and I are still depending on support from Christian friends and churches. I told God, “I wish I could be financially independent right now.” After praying, I felt God say, “Son, I know it’s not easy. But
I am training you to trust me. I want you to know I am your good and generous Abba Father. Just wait on me.”
Right now, if you are also waiting for God, I hope you will keep waiting patiently. The process of waiting shapes us to become more like Jesus. Jesus trusted and depended on His Father.
God Provides, Guides, and Disciplines
So far, the stories I have told you are financial. But God provides in many other ways. Not only material things.
For example, God provides wisdom. The Bible urges us to pray for wisdom when we face difficult situations. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
A few more examples: God can provide us good friends, mentors, encouragement, and purpose.
God also generously provided us His Son, Jesus. Romans 5:8 says: While we were still sinners, God provided us His only Son, who died in our place for our sins. As a result, we can have a relationship with God. We can enter His family. We can have a full and meaningful life.
Before I continue, let me add a word of caution about God’s provision. God does not simply give you anything you ask for.
Philippians 4:19 says, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” God promises to supply our needs, not our wants! So be careful when people say, “God will bless you if you pray the right way, or have enough faith, or do many good things for him.”
But no, God is not our genie. God is our Master. God is our good and wise Father. Yes, God blesses us, but according to His reasons and His will.
James 4:3 says, “We ask and do not receive, because we ask with wrong motives.”
In contrast, 1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” So when we pray, we must pray for God’s will.
Sometimes, God blesses us generously so the world can see who He is: all-powerful, holy, and loving Father. It reminds us to depend on Him and love Him.
For the same reasons, God disciplines his people. God provides but God also disciplines. We can see this in the 2 Kings story.
Earlier, I did not mention something important about 2 Kings 7. Actually, the reason why Israel was in this crisis was because God was punishing them.
God wanted to train Israel to be a holy nation. It is like how a parent trains a child. The parent feeds and loves the child but also disciplines the child to grow up with good character. Although God blessed Israel, they kept disobeying him. So God allowed Israel to be invaded by foreign enemies and suffer a famine.
But God’s punishment didn’t last forever. At the right time, God chased away Israel’s enemies. He provided food, which the 4 lepers discovered in enemy camps. This was God’s way of reminding Israel, “Return to me. Stop chasing other gods and money. Depend on me. Seek to know me.”
In the same way, God shows his love by blessing and training us. Like a parent, He enjoys giving us gifts. He is also happy when we grow up to be holy like Him.
Let me say a bit more about this heavenly Father.
Children want to be loved, but I believe parents also want to be loved. They don’t want their children to only think about the toys that parents can buy. God also wants us to love Him. He wants us to talk with him, not just play with our toys and ignore him. God knows us well, but He also wants us to know him. He wants us to know his personality, his heart, and his plans for the world.
God wants a close relationship with us. Like a parent and child who love each other. At the same time, God wants his family to grow. He doesn’t limit his love to 2 or 3 children. He cares about the whole world! God wants us to share his love and blessings with other people too.
Sharing God’s Provision
In 2 Kings, the 4 lepers found tons of food, money, and clothes. What did they do? Well, at first, they had a big feast. Then they started hiding all the things. They didn’t want to share it with other people.
But then, they stopped and thought. They said, “What we’re doing is not right! This is a day of good news but we are keeping it to ourselves.” They knew it was wrong to hoard the blessings. So they decided to tell other Israelites about the food.
In the early Christian church, there was a pattern of sharing and caring among Christians. Acts 2:44-45 says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”
Many of us have been blessed by God. We have wonderful families, good jobs, a comfortable apartment, and friends. God has given us time, skills, brains, and life experiences. He gave us bodies. He gave us hands to work, ears to listen.
Is there a blessing you can share with other people? Do you have time? Do you know a friend who needs your listening ear? Do you love playing music? Fixing cars? Playing sports or games? Using computers? Cooking? Your skills and interests can be helpful to other people.
Christians are also called to share God’s biggest blessing, which is Jesus. Jesus commanded, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Jesus wants us to share about him. He wants us to help other people know, love, and obey Him. It is not just Pastor Ino’s responsibility. It is not just Sunday School teachers’ responsibility. It is a command for all people who believe in Jesus and have experienced God’s love.
You can share about God in various ways. You can tell a friend how God has answered your prayer. You could share how you became a Christian. Most importantly, you can be kind to people at home, at your workplace, or at the train station. John 13:35 says that people will know that we belong to Jesus when they see how we love.
In conclusion, God is a God who knows our needs and takes care of us. .
Maybe you can take time this week to talk with God and reflect on a few questions:
How has God blessed you in the past? Do you believe He can help you now? What blessings can you share with someone else?
Jesus said in Matthew 6:33: Seek and prioritize God’s kingdom, and what you need will be given to you.