Michael Youssef - It Is Supernatural - Part 4
Turn with me to 2 Kings, 6:24, all the way to chapter 7. What I want to do is summarize the incident. I want to give it to you in a narrative, I want to give it to you as a story, so you understand it, you can comprehend it, and then you see how the hand of God working supernaturally. Simply put, Israel had a fence around the city of Sumeria. The Syrian army was surrounding that fence, and so people could not go in or out, they cannot go to the farms and farm the land or bring food or go in and out, they were totally surrounded.
The king of Syria wanted to kill all the Israelites by starvation, that was the purpose of surrounding it, I mean. Life became not just unbearable, in fact, death has become far more better option than life. But through God's man Elisha, God announced good news to the people of Israel. What is that good news? He said the day is coming of their liberation, that day is near. The day of their salvation is near, the day of their freedom is near, but as often the case, the skeptics and the cynics, they made fun of the Word of God, they made fun of the prophet of God, they made fun of Elisha's prophecy. It's always the case, you see it all over the place today. The hard hearted and the arrogant always, always mock the good news, always mock the good news.
So, the general of Israel's army, this is not the Arameans, the Syrians, no, no, this is the general of Israel's army, the big shot. He made fun of the good news when he heard that announcement, the verse 2 of chapter 7, is God going to open the windows of heaven and send food? It's always the case. The whole reason for this series that I'm doing at this particular time, "It is Supernatural," is because I want to encourage the elect of God, the faithful believers, the remnant, I want to encourage you to lift up your heads and look up. I want to encourage you to live expectantly of God's intervention, I want you to live in thanksgiving for God's empowerment over our circumstances, to live confidently, even in the midst of the world's mockery.
Is God going to open windows from heaven and pour out food? How arrogant. As a matter of fact, in Malachi chapter 3, God said yes, he actually does open the windows of heaven and pour his blessings upon the faithful believers. To that mockery and insult, Elisha said to the great general, yes, he actually, in a manner of speech, he will open the windows of heaven, and we're gonna see food falling down, but you're not gonna participate in it. When God's promised good news was fulfilled, that army general, Israel's army general saw it with his eyes, but as the people were running out, he was trampled underfoot. And he saw it, never participated in it, because he was dead as a doornail.
On the day of judgement all of those who have rejected the good news of the gospel, those who have mocked the believers, those who have persecuted God's faithful people, all of those who have ignored God's generous invitation to accept the good news of forgiveness of sins and eternal life with him, will be judged. Not one person will be able to escape in the whole world. Question, how did God save Israel physically? How did he save it? Well, here's a Youssef explanation. God in heaven clicked his fingers. Have you ever heard God clicking his fingers? I sure have, and I've seen miraculous things. You just to be looking for them. You have to live with the expectations. God clicked his fingers and what happened?
Terror and fear came upon the hearts of the Syrian army, who were surrounding Israel, and man, they ran like jackrabbits. They ran away, and they left all of their tents behind, they'd been there camping for a long time, they're starving people to death, so they were there with the supplies, with everything else, and all these... so they ran, and they left behind all their stuff, but was even a bigger problem at that moment, in this incident, the people of Israel, inside the walls of the city, they did not know about it. They did not know about it. They still think they're besieged, and the city's surrounded. They had no idea that they already ran back like jackrabbits. They were inside a prison in a figure of speech. They were cowering in fear and terror mentally and literally, even though the enemy had already ran away, leaving everything behind.
The Israelites were living in misery and in oppression, and in reality, the enemy's power has been broken. The Israelites were living in a sieged mentality, while in reality there is not a single enemy soldier on the other side of that fence. Oh, but they did not know it, they did not know it, they did not know it. Beloved, listen to me, this is exactly what's happening today with so many people. They're living in fear, they're living in terror, they're living in anxiety, they're living in worry, while in reality, the enemy's teeth has been knocked out on the cross of Jesus Christ. When Christ was lifted on that cross, the siege of Satan's power has been lifted, and yet millions of people today don't know it.
Two thousand years ago, God rendered sin and death to be powerless over the believer, and yet billions of people don't know this good news. Two thousand years ago on the cross God offered a way of escape from the judgement that is coming upon the world, and yet billions of people are yet to know the good news that Jesus saves. Back to Israel's siege. The siege was over, it was over, but the good news had not reached them yet. How in the world would God communicate to his people this good news? I'm glad you asked, 'cause I can't wait to tell you, I really am anxious to tell you.
In 2 King, chapter 7, verse 3, it tells us there were four lepers, did you hear that? Lepers, four lepers on the outside of the city camp. They're outside of the city wall. Why? Because lepers were not allowed to live inside the city walls. They had to be isolated on the outside of the city walls, outside of the community. Of all people, of all people, God chooses four lepers to communicate the good news. Can you see God's sense of humor? God used the most unlikely people to help save the nation of Israel. Now, you have to understand, back then the lepers were excluded from the rest of the community. Lepers were repugnant to a Jew. Lepers lived lives that are really like living death. Why? Because back then, they associated leprosy with sin, that's why, and that is why, listen to me, only Jesus, only Jesus the sinless Son of God could touch a leper. Not just come close to him, but touched him. Nobody else could.
The sin bearer can touch lepers and heals him. Only Jesus the redeemer, the sin bearer, can make the foulest clean. Make no mistake about it, as far as God was concerned, you and I were born as spiritual lepers. You and I were living spiritual lepers, you and I were isolated from God, you and I were at enmity with God, oh, I'm getting ready to shout because I know what I'm gonna say. Because one day, glory to God, one day Jesus touched me, and he touched you. One day, Jesus, my sin bearer, reached down and healed me and healed my spiritual leprosy. One day, Jesus, my sin bearer, touched me, and he set me free from sin and death. One day, Jesus the sin bearer touched me and told me that he loved me. One day, the sin bearer touched me and told me that I'm no longer a slave to sin.
One day, Jesus the sin bearer touched me and told me today you are my son, and I know he did this to all of you. One day, Jesus the sin bearer touched me, and he bound my broken heart. One day, Jesus the sin bearer touched me and he told me that his Father from now on looks at me through the prism of Jesus, and therefore he sees me as if I have never sinned. You wanna give glory to God? Oh, but millions of people still don't know, they still don't know. This is where you, you, you, you, you, and I come in. Just as somebody told you the good news of the gospel, you need to tell everybody the news of the gospel.
Back to the scene outside of the city wall. Four lepers, they were between the rock and the hard place. Here's a Youssef explanation. They said to themselves, you flip a coin, heads you lose, tails you lose. That's basically, that's... now I'm putting it in a vernacular, but that's really what they were saying to each other. If we stay isolated, we're gonna be starved to death, if we go inside the city, they'll kill us. We got the Syrians, they might kill us, but who knows, they might have mercy on us, let's go there. So, they go out to the Syrian camps. Remember, I told you, they ran like what? Got it right. We got nothing to lose! We got nothing to lose.
Let's go to the Syrians, and so these four lepers, they were kicked out of the city, residing in the leper's community, venture out. And they went out, I can only imagine they would be tippy toeing, tippy toeing, I mean look, they didn't expect the Syrians to be ran away. I mean, they were tippy toeing, and they were going in from tent to tent to tent to tent to tent, and they go to the first tent, they pull the flap, no Syrians. Phew, all they could find is kebabs, tabbouleh, falafel, and pita bread. Ha, ha, I'm doing this in honor of our listeners overseas. Man, if you're starving to death, what do you do? You stuff your face, right? They just ate and ate, and they said well, let's go, maybe this is just a trick, they might be, they're just... it's a trap.
So, they go to the second tent, pull the flap, wow! Hard currencies, it's hard to come by, particularly that time. Hard currencies. Well, this might be a trick too, let's go to the third one, they go in the third tent, they open the flap, and there were stocks and bonds in the Damascus Stock Exchange, was piled up high. My goodness gracious, they have to there to cash it though. So, they go to the fourth tent, to their surprise, no Syrians. So, they stuff their face again until they got bloated. They were so full they couldn't walk. They started taking a nap, I mean, they were just, and they're probably popping in some Syrian MAL-X and Pepto Bismol, trying to digest this heavy food, but they couldn't sleep. They couldn't sleep.
Something was bothering them, something is wrong with this picture, something is convicting them, someone is convicting them. These four lepers looked at each other, and they said, what we're doing is wrong, we're not doing right. We are feeding our faces while the rest of the people are in a state of starvation. We are gorging ourselves and others have never heard the good news. We are so blessed with abundance and millions do not have a near neighbor to tell them that Jesus saves. Look at verse 9, 2 Kings 7:9, "They said to one another, 'We are not doing right. This is a day of good news.'" We cannot keep it to ourselves.
Beloved, one day, one day, each one of us are gonna be held accountable for hoarding the good news. I wanna tell you that I, for one, want to say to the Master on that day, the day of accountability, this is different from the day of judgement, this is the day of accountability when the believers are gonna give an account on every word. I wanna say on that day, Lord, you know, I've given it my all. I've given it my time, I've given my discretionary time, I've given it my funds, I've given my energy, whether I'm doing it right or not, at least that's a longing in my heart. These four lepers have been rejected by the community and could've kept the good news to themselves. They're rejected. But these four lepers who have now experienced the grace of God wanted to share the good news. They did not want to take it easy and play golf all day, they did not want to keep it to themselves.
I want you to think with me, please think with me for a moment, these were lepers. They would've had every excuse in the book not to share the good news. They could've said to themselves, why should we share the good news with them? These people, they hate us. Why should we share the good news with them? These folks threw us out of the city wall, why should we share the good news with them? They have rejected us. Why should we share the good news with them? They don't deserve it. I got news for you, I did not deserve it, you did not deserve it, but God's grace gave it to you anyway, amen.
Back in the '60s, when I escaped from the country of my birth with the clothes on my back, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with that part of the world. My wife will testify, that was the absolute truth, wanted nothing to do with it. But the love of Christ compelled me, the love of Christ motivated me, the love of Christ induced me, the love of Christ prompted me. All they could have said to themselves, and now you understand that I've been listening to people, what we need to do first is to get a course on self-esteem. After all, we need it, right? We need it. If anybody needs a course on self-esteem, we do. What we need to do first is to go through a program of how to handle rejection.
We're gonna get rejected, so we need to go through a course on handling rejection, because we're gonna face it. What we need to do first is to go to a seminar, that word drives me nuts, on how to handle difficult relationships, because we're gonna face it. Oh, what we need to do first is to get a class on how to eat Syrian foods without putting on weight, and then we can go and tell the good news. What we need is a course to learn how to articulate and how to communicate the message, so we do it effectively. No, my beloved friends, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, absolutely not. We are not doing right, let's go and tell the good news.
Listen, I get all sorts of good causes in the mail. I'm amazed of what an excuse people have for forming a charitable organization, a non-profit corporation, I'm amazed. Very little of them has to do with the true proclamation of the unvarnished gospel of Jesus Christ, and yet, sharing the good news of the gospel with others is the dearest and the nearest to the heart of Jesus. After all, that's why he came from heaven. I mean, that's why he came from heaven. For God's sake, why did Jesus leave heaven and come to earth, to give us self-esteem? To make us feel good about ourselves?
That's what I hear on television all the time. To give us respectability, what happened to our friend the general of Israel army? The man who mocked Elisha and the prophet of God, who scoffed on the Word of God. When people heard the good news, they were beyond ecstatic. They ran outside of the city walls, and it was a stampede, and he was trampled underfoot. He saw it with his eyes just as the Word of God said, but he did not participate in it.
Listen, I'm grateful to belong to a church that take the gospel to 3.9 billion people in 26 of the most spoken languages of the world, I'm grateful for that. But wouldn't it be the irony of all ironies that we taking the gospel to the ends of the earth and somebody here had never really received the gift of salvation, eternal life? Wouldn't that be an irony of all ironies, that we're taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, somebody might be watching, somebody at the sound of my voice say I've never committed my life to Christ, I've never confessed my sins and received his forgiveness that he paid my wages and the wages of my sin on the cross of Christ. Wherever you are, you can simply pray:
Lord Jesus, forgive my sins, I receive you as my only Savior.
Oh, but for the believers, the vast majority of you, so many of you have been sitting in the seats of salvation for decades. I want you to pray:
Lord help me. Help me to tell the good news to everyone who'd listen.