Anybody know a critic? Dumb question right? Everybody knows that one guy or maybe you are THAT guy? A critic is someone who too readily makes captious, trivial, or harsh judgments; a faultfinder. The key component are the words "too readily." Before seeing the end result, you arrive at an "end" opinion. Before anyone rolls their eyes and says "oh boy", this is a not a rant on justifying any carnality on my part, I am rather addressing being a critic of the supernatural. A perfect example is found in II Kings 7.
Syria has besieged Samaria and caused a great famine! Notice, the enemy "besieged" Samaria because he could not attack Samaria. Syria had failed miserably at trying to attack head-on God's people so he just choked the life out of them. He surrounded them and made his presence felt. As a result, the people shut off the gates, closed the doors, shut the windows and the end result was a famine of epic proportions. This is the same enemy that was stricken with blindness just one chapter before and was led like a puppy on a string to the SAME city, Samaria. The same pathetic, powerless, God-less enemy was now starving out God's people because of pressure. They couldn't defeat them head on so they just put the squeeze on them. Just because they had bigger "visible" numbers, more "stuff", and a made a great visible presentation out in the field, God's people were intimidated and closed ranks!
The end result of shutting the gates of the city is always famine. Oh sure, you can get by for a little while but it isn't long until donkey's heads are selling for 80 shekels of silver and your paying to snack on dove dung! Not exactly a healthy diet for God's people! This is what happen when we focus on self-preservation and "closing ranks!" Some may say, "well, we have closed the gates to keep the enemy out!" Well guess what, those same gates are where provision comes in!!
Keep the gates closed long enough and the children start dying off, or worse yet, they are eaten by their own mothers! It's a sad day when a mother is looking to feed off her children rather than feed her children. That's what happens when the gates stay closed! That is the result of famine! Are we really getting it? We have too many closed gates! I want to be careful in trying to keep so much of the enemy out, that I keep fresh provision from coming in!
Truth be told, the enemy is scared to death of us! Correction, he is scared to death of those who do not see with carnal eyes! The same enemy was able to intimidate the servant of Elisha in II Kings 6 because he was looking with carnal eyes. How many have left the city with white flag in tow, asked for a Syrian sword and changed citizenship because of what they saw with carnal eyes! The decision was made "too readily."
Sadly, it took some lepers to do what a leader should have done. Don't leave it up to a leper. Four lepers just looked at each other and said, "well, if we sit here we are going to die!" As a matter of fact, they didn't even want to go in the city! They were locked out of a place they didn't even want to go in. Now that's funny to me! It's a sad day when lepers don't even want to come in our city because all they see is famine!! So four incomplete, imperfect, issue-riddled, leperous men decided to head where the enemy was; out in the field. They knew where provision was! While all the perfect, dignified and "chosen" people were starving themselves on the inside, four lepers just started walking. I can just hear them now "what have we got to lose boys.......I'm nervous but at least I'm walking.......I just couldn't sit there any longer!"
The amazing thing is when the lepers arrived at the enemy's camp, they were already gone!! I don't know how long they were gone, I just know they were gone!! God allowed the enemy to hear what was there all along in the spirit, "the sound of chariots and horses and a great army." God didn't manufacture that sound, according to II Kings 6:17, the carnal servant got a glimpse of that army. Sadly, the enemy heard what the people in the city should have been seeing and hearing all along. The provision was just sitting in empty tents while the "city" dwellers were cowering in fear.
When is the light going to click on that if we just continue to sit we will die just like the common leper. I know that most think "self preservation" is the key to salvation but it's actually the answer to famine! Interestingly enough, the first response to the word of the Lord was a critic who doubted that God would provide (II Kings 7:2). Elisha just said, "Ok, mister carnal critic, you doubt the work of God, you'll see it happen but you won't partake in it!! (Magee's translation) Sadly, this guy had been locked in the city for so long that he forgot what it was like to be victorious. The carnal critic thought the answer was to kill the prophet. Kill the man of God! Let's just make a truce with the enemy. Let's join them. Ask them if they will share some of their provision. They seem to have more to offer. We must be careful when we become critical of the miraculous because we may see it happen but we won't get to partake in it. That same critic was trampled in the gate when the blessing started flowing back into the city. When you don't know if your coming or going, that is probably when you will get trampled! I want to be in tune with what the spirit is saying because I don't want to just see it happen but I want to partake!!
I don't think it's coincidence that we are referenced by Jesus in Matt 5:14 as a "city that is set on a hill." I dont know about you guys, but I am tired of just being a card-carrying city dweller. Punching my city-dweller key card every day, making sure the gate closes firmly behind me! I believe in the city, I love the city, I'm proud of the city God has placed me in, but I want to open the gates and get out in the field! Let's not leave it up to lepers to do the leaders job! Better yet, don't be critical when lepers start reaping! They are doing nothing more than getting out in the field and plundering unguarded tents! They are just doing what we should have been doing all along! Don't leave it up to a leper!