Don’t Hold Your Peace (II Kings 7:9)

By | Aug 15, 2017

Samaria was in the grip of a terrible famine. Benhadad, King of Syria, had laid siege to the city and the consequences beggared description. They were facing one of the seven-fold curses which God predicted would befall Israel, if she departed from His commandments. “Thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, of thy sons and of thy daughters.” (Deut. 28:53) This prophecy was fulfilled in this incident. (II Kings 6:28-29)

In verse six “the Lord made the hosts of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots, and the noise of horses” and they thought the King of Israel had hired the armies of the Hitites and the Egyptians to come upon them. In fear they fled, leaving their tents, horses, and everything else in the camp as it was.

There were four leprous men who were not allowed to enter the camp since they were unclean. Because of a lack of food they knew they were going to starve to death so they made a decision amongst themselves. Not knowing the Syrians had fled, they decided to take their chances and go into the Syrian camp. They concluded that a quick death at the hands of the Syrians was more to be desired than a slow, agonizing death by starvation. When they entered their camp they were shocked to find the Syrians gone and all their food and resources left behind. In the eighth verse we read that “they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it.”

As they were indulging themselves in all the bounty that the Syrians had left behind, their consciences began to trouble them. They felt obliged to share with the others, who also did not know that the Syrians had fled and were in the same predicament. The fact that they were troubled is revealed in the text, which says, “Then they said one to another, we do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry til the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go tell the King’s household.”

It seems their motive for sharing this good news was mixed. It was not so much a feeling of sympathy for the starving people, but was rather due to the fear of punishment that they might receive for withholding this glad news. They would have been guilty of the ‘sin of silence’.

These four lepers had filled their aching stomachs and were at last satiated. They serve as a warning for all Christians who want to enjoy the benefits of salvation without sharing it with others. Having tasted the good Word of God they themselves then refuse to give the good news of the gospel to others. Proverbs 11:6 says, “he that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse.” We must not withhold the food of the Word of God.

Scripture records that when the early church was baptized with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost they that were “scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:4) Paul said, “for to me to live is Christ.” Life to Paul was Christ and Christ was life. Jesus told them that they would “be witnesses unto me…to the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The reason that the early church grew so rapidly, even under great persecution, was because the early Christians felt it their duty to tell everyone they met the good news of the risen Christ. With the Spirit of Christ within, they were so moved with compassion that it inspired them to action. Nothing could stop them. Paul said, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also.” (Romans 1:14-15)

All christians, not just pastors, missionaries, educators, evangelists and such like, are called and commissioned of God to be witnesses. God has no other means of winning a lost world to himself apart from the christian. The very existence of the church is for this purpose. The Church is not a place for us, as believers, to go and feed our mind and our emotions on sermons, hymns and songs and then walk away fully satiated and refuse to share the gladsome news with a spiritually starving world. Oh, that the consciousness of this ‘sin of silence’ might dawn upon us as it did the four lepers. May we, like them, feel that retribution and judgment will come to all who follow such course.

If we are going to be the witnesses that God can depend on, we must have a vision and passion that will move us to action. We need a vision of God’s holiness which will result in a vision of man’s sinfulness. In the sixth chapter of Isaiah, the prophet got a vision of God’s holiness and cried; “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” It was his vision of God’s holiness that enabled him to see his own sin and the sin of the world. This vision gave him a passion for lost souls and it in turn moved him to action.

Do we really see that souls without God are eternally lost? William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, once said that if he could, he would finalize the training of every man in his army by suspending him over hell for twenty four hours. Perhaps that is the kind of vision we need!

Many of our friends and family do not attend church and they desperately need to hear the gospel message. Each of us has relationships in which we are responsible for showing Christ to others. It may not always be by audible words but sometimes by deeds of kindness, acts of generosity, and even giving a sympathetic ear to their concerns. There are various ways of witnessing for Christ. A tract given with a tip to a waitress or waiter is a witness. Paul said, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Perhaps the greatest motivation of all is for us, as believers, to come to grips with the reality that a soul without Christ is eternally lost.


“We’ve a message to give to the nations
That the Lord who reigneth above
Hath sent us His Son to save us,
and show us that God is love.”

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