2nd Kings 7:3-9
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.”
At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one 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, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took 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, “What we’re doing is not 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.”
While I will refrain from going into the entire 2nd Kings story, the important thing to know is that the Hebrew people are under siege from the Arameans. They are surrounded, starving and desperate. The only folks living outside the city are four men living with leprosy. it seems they are even more desperate than the starving masses.
They realize that the two options they have of staying outside or going into the city both will lead to the same result. Death.
So instead they took a huge risk and decided to go and do something crazy. They headed into the enemy camp. And according to the text, God rewarded them and these 4 very untouchables saved the Hebrew nation.
But it didn’t happen without a risk.
One of my favorite books/movies is To Kill a Mockingbird. There’s a scene in the classic 1962 film, To Kill a Mockingbird, when Atticus Finch, the defense attorney played by Gregory Peck, gets word that a mob is planning to storm the jail the night before the trial and lynch his client, who is an African–American falsely accused of assaulting a white woman. Atticus calmly takes a floor lamp from his living room, goes down to the jail, hauls a chair from the sheriff’s office out to the porch, and sets himself up there for the night. When the mob arrives, they’re at first taken aback by the presence of this gentlemanly figure in a white suit, calmly reading his book. When they start to threaten him, his young daughter, Scout (who’s followed him there without his knowledge), begins to call out the names of the men in the mob whom she knows. One of them is the father of a playmate of hers. It turns out, even angry, segregationist bigots are susceptible to the innocence of a child. They return to their homes.
If Scout hadn’t showed up when she did, there’s no telling what would have happened to her father—or his client. The mob carried neither cross nor nails, but they had something very much like crucifixion on their minds.
Sometimes faith is not so much a labor but a risk.
Atticus took a risk, Scout took a risk, the 4 untouchables took a risk, the disciples and apostles took risks, and throughout the history of the church the followers of Christ have been asked to take risks to help show what the Kingdom of God is like.
And this need for risk takers is true today more than ever. The church of Jesus Christ needs risk-takers. The church needs people willing to see new ways of doing things to reach those in need. The church needs those willing to put their lives on the line to show love. By that I want you to understand that it is not always risking physical safety but being willing to risk how the world might see you because you value love over everything else. The world needs faithful followers who will speak out for causes of justice and mercy and who are willing to walk humbly with God to tough places—places of hurt and suffering—places where healing of minds and bodies and souls and hearts are needed.
It is risky, but nothing great has ever been accomplished without risk. I pray both you and I are willing to take risks to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his LOVE of all for the world. Because like those four lepers, our risk may save the nation.