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Four Lepers Refusal To Sit and Die

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At times desperation and spiritual indifference drives us to despair and tough decisions. Four lepers give us some simple and practical principles to get out of famine, siege, and despair.

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Introductions:

There are certainly times when we need to just wait things out.
There are other times when we must stir ourselves to action. It is sometimes difficult to know when to do what.
I think our passage gives us some principles for knowing when to act. Getting out of ruts and committing to change is difficult.
Bro. Larry Smith once quipped, “Sometimes the most conservative thing you can do is change.” (Quesenberry, 2019, God’s Errand Boy p.76)
Our passage begins with four listless lepers in a famine and siege. We find in The Syrians were blinded and captured by Elijah.
This doesn’t sit well with the Syrians and in The Syrians under the reign of Ben-hadad besiege Samaria possibly taking advantage of the famine that was on.
It gets so bad that cannibalism ensues, people were eating animal feces, donkey heads - their own offspring.

1. A Crisis Faced - Despair or Deliverance

The Crisis was real. Leprosy was taking its toll on these four listless lepers both physically and emotionally.
Think about that sad day at the gate as they told their families “goodbye” from a distance.
No lingering last hug.
No claps on the back of the little sons to bolster their courage.
No kisses from that wife of so many faithful years
It was just — you’re quarantined outside the city, and don’t come back unless you are healed.
Or stay away from people and call out “unclean” wherever you go.
But that wasn’t the worst of it. There was the toll of hunger.
If the people inside the gates of the city were suffering so bad - eating dove dung and donkey heads, boiling their own children just to get by
How well do you think these men, outcast, quarantined with a deadly contagious disease were faring?
Not too well.
They were in a desperate state - and this desperation wasn't bringing hope - but rather a feeling of pessimism and defeatism.

A. Desperation birthed defeatism -

Listen to the conclusion they came up with - “Why sit we here till we die?)
Defeatism is the acceptance of defeat without struggle, often with negative connotations. It can be linked to pessimism in psychology. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/defeatism
“In 1965, a psycologist named Martin Seligman started shocking dogs. He was trying to expand on the research of Pavlov—the guy who could make dogs salivate when they heard a bell ring.
Seligman wanted to head in the other direction, and when he rang his bell, instead of providing food, he zapped the dogs with electricity. To keep them still, he restrained them in a harness during the experiment. After they were conditioned, he put these dogs in a big box with a little fence dividing it into two halves. He figured if the dog rang the bell, it would hop over the fence to escape, but it didn’t. It just sat there and braced itself. They decided to try shocking the dog after the bell. The dog still just sat there and took it. When they put a dog in the box that had never been shocked before or had previously been allowed to escape and tried to zap it — it jumped the fence.
This is how these men were - I’m afraid this is far too often how we as conservative holiness and dare I say - Bible Holiness - Yes even we Wichita Bible Holiness people are. - We have been conditioned to believe we are only good for defeat. Only good enough to struggle on with not much hope for success.
Studies have shown that the clinically depressed show that they often give in to defeat and stop trying… - How bout you? have you stopped trying? Do you feel you are already defeated before you begin?
That is how these men were. In a state of downward focus -
If we go in the city there is famine - we die
If we stay here - there’s leprosy and starvation - we die
Lets go see the Syrians, if they let us live fine - if they kill us we die.
But — Thank God! They didn’t stay there - and you don’t have to either.

2. A Path to Chose - Apathy or Action - What will we do.

Their despair led them to a desperate and radical decision
They realized a missed blessing is as simple as staying put!!!
Their thoughts weren’t all that much brighter - Positive attitude alone won’t fix it -
They said, “Let’s go to the Syrians - maybe we live, maybe we die.”
They counted the cost - weighed their options - looked at the odds - and at twilight got up and went to the Syrians.
Rather than give in to the defeatist attitude that had plagued the lepers for so long — they decided to do something radical and unheard of - something different -
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
These men were dying of leprosy and starvation - - but they weren’t crazy.
Rev. James Plank once stated - “Do something and something will happen. Do nothing, and nothing will happen.” James Plank. (Cited in Flaming Sword vol. 86, Issue 5, Sept-Oct 2019, pg. 1)
Doubt, Defeatism, and Despair - turn into Deliverance -
They were already delivered but unaware.
Deliverance is always a “God thing” but is appropriated by faith moved to action.
It was in this time of deliverance that they realized they had another choice to make - we can keep this all to ourselves and die out here without helping anyone - or we can go let those in the city know about all of this.

3. A Blessing to Share - Survive or Thrive - These delivered lepers had a desire to deliver others

I’m just a beggar, telling other beggars where to find bread!” Unsure of author
They recognized the blessing, privilege, and results were of God - - but also the responsibility.
The responsibility is in our hands - but the results are up to God -
We are facing a crisis - we are hemorrhaging young people / people in general
We are in a rut - a seemingly endless rut of despair and defeatism -
If we stay put we die, if we act we die, whatever we do we die
We are facing a choice apathy or action? Will we keep going like we are - or will we do something?
We are facing a choice Will we just try to survive or will we thrive?
Let's ask the question the Lepers did - Why sit we here till we die?
Don’t let the Devil talk us into thinking we are too little, to small, too much in a bad location, not spiritual enough, not relevant enough, not modern enough not whatever you fill in the blank enough -
We can sit in our strength or we can rise in the power of the LORD and see things we have never seen yet in Wichita, KS!!!
I say let’s get up,
let's get moving,
let's go exploring,
let us go spoiling the devil’s tents.
let's go tell someone we have found the greatest treasure - they can feast of dove’s dung and donkey head if they want to - but I’m going to enjoy steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy -
I’m not sitting down by the wall in defeat anymore - I’ve got all of heaven pulling for me - I have the Holy Spirit abiding inside me - I’ve got the Word of God to guide me -
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