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.” (2 Kings 7:9 NIV)
There was a siege in Samaria, an area of Israel where the king and most of the people were living. The situation was extremely bad with people literally starving to death. Outside the city were four lepers who because of their condition couldn’t come inside the gates.
Their plight was serious: They had no food, they couldn’t go into the city for protection, and even if they did there was no guarantee they would survive with the lack of food available.
What were they to do?
They decided to take a calculated risk. They reasoned that since they were about to die, and they couldn’t get refuge inside the city, why not surrender to the Arameans, the enemy of Israel responsible for the siege. They might take pity on them and give them some food. It was a huge risk, but if they were going to die anyway what had they got to lose?
So they set out at dusk and to their surprise when they arrived at the Aramean camp they found it completely deserted. Unbeknownst to them the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, and as a result they thought that Israel had grouped together some allies and was coming to attack them.
The Arameans fled in such a hurry that they left everything behind; the lepers had struck gold.
At first they ate and drank as much as they could and then they started to hide the treasures for themselves: Gold, silver, beautiful clothes. But then something very profound occurred to them. They realised that what they were doing wasn’t right. What they had happened to discover was good news for Israel and it was wrong to keep it to themselves.
This life-saving news just had to be shared at once.
As I read through this account I couldn’t help but be reminded of the shepherds at the birth of Christ. There they were outside the city on the hillside tending their sheep. For all intents and purposes they were regarded as lepers for they were among the lowest and most despised of groups. They head off to see what this good news actually is that the angel had told them about, and when they arrived at the manger they struck gold.
God incarnate, the Saviour of the world was lying there.
How did they react? Did they think, ‘this is such wonderful news that we are going to keep it to ourselves so that we can be the only ones that benefit from it?’
No! They realised that this would not be right. They reasoned that this is a day of good news that shouldn’t be kept to ourselves; let’s go at once and report this. And that’s exactly what they did:
‘When they had seen him [Jesus], they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.’ (Luke 2:17–18)
What about us? Have we been to the manger, seen the Son of God, and realise that we have struck gold. That here lies God’s greatest gift to mankind.
If so, don’t keep it to yourself, that wouldn’t be right.
This world is starving; it is on the verge of spiritual death. But unbeknownst to them the enemy has already been routed. Victory has been assured because God took on our flesh in order to redeem us.
The day of the birth of Jesus is such good news; let’s not keep it to ourselves, rather let’s be sure to share it without delay.
Father, thank you for sending to us your Son to save us from our sins. This Christmas time help us to share this good news with others.
Have a good Christmas sharing the good news,