THE SIN OF UNBELIEF by C.H. Spuregon
ONE wise man may deliver a whole city. One good man may be the means of safety to a thousand others. The holy ones are “the salt of the earth,” the means of the preservation of the wicked. Without the godly as a buffer, the race would be utterly destroyed. In the city of Samaria there was one righteous man—Elisha, the servant of the Lord. Piety was altogether extinct in the court. The king was a sinner of the blackest dye, his iniquity was glaring and infamous. Jehoram walked in the ways of his father, Ahab, and made unto himself false gods. The people of Samaria were fallen like their monarch—they had gone astray from Jehovah.
They had forsaken the God of Israel—they remembered not the watchword of Jacob, “The Lord your God is one God.” And in wicked idolatry they bowed before the idols of the Heathens. Therefore the Lord of Hosts suffered their enemies to oppress them until the curse of Ebal was fulfilled in the streets of Samaria, for “the tender and delicate woman who would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness,” had an evil eye to her own children and devoured her offspring by reason of fierce hunger (Deut 28:56-58). In this awful extremity the one holy man was the medium of salvation. The one grain of salt preserved the entire city—the one warrior for God was the means of the deliverance of the whole beleaguered multitude. For Elisha’s sake, the Lord sent the promise that the next day food which could not be obtained at any price, should be had at the cheapest possible rate—at the very gates of Samaria. We may picture the joy of the multitude when first the Seer uttered this prediction. They knew him to be a Prophet of the Lord. He had Divine credentials. All his past prophecies had been fulfilled. They knew that he was a man sent of God and uttering Jehovah’s message. Surely the monarch’s eyes would glisten with delight and the emaciated multitude would leap for joy at the prospects of so speedy a release from famine. “Tomorrow,” would they shout, “tomorrow our hunger shall be over and we shall feast to the full.”
However, the officer on whom the king leaned expressed his disbelief. We hear not that any of the common people, the plebeians, ever did so. But an aristocrat did it. Strange it is that God has seldom chosen the great men of this world. High places and faith in Christ do seldom agree. This great man said, “Impossible!” And, with an insult to the Prophet, he added, “If the Lord should make windows in Heaven, might such a thing be”? His sin lay in the fact that after repeated proofs of Elisha’s ministry, he yet disbelieved the assurances uttered by the Prophet on God’s behalf. He had, doubtless seen the marvelous defeat of Moab—he had been startled at tidings of the resurrection of the Shunamite’s son. He knew that Elisha had revealed Benhadad’s secrets and smitten his marauding hosts with blindness.