But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD: thus says the LORD, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, “If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” But he said, “You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat of it.”
(2 Kings 7:1-2)
In the days of Elisha, things got bad, really bad in Israel. The nation of Israel was rebelling against God, the king was a wicked son of the wicked king Ahab. Syria (Aram) came against Israel and besieged them. Look at how bad things were economically in Israel:
Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.
(2 Kings 6:24-25)
We think we’ve got it bad that there is no toilet paper on the shelf? They were paying a high price to eat donkey brains and bird poop! Yuck! It even got so bad that some moms agreed to eat each other’s children (2 Kings 6:26-29). It’s sad that even in this destitute condition people were not turning back to God. Even worse, the king of Israel was blaming God. God was the problem, how could He be part of the solution?
And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?”
(2 Kings 6:27)
And while he was still speaking with them, the (King’s) messenger came down to him and said, “This trouble is from the LORD! Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”
(2 Kings 6:33)
That’s what brings us to the beginning of chapter 7 when Elisha through the Spirit promises that the change and recovery will happen overnight. They were paying high prices for donkey brains and bird poop, but by tomorrow they will be paying cheap prices for barley and flour. Would you believe that if a prophet of God said that to you? Would I believe it as I am eating donkey brain soup? We can see in verse 1 of chapter 7 that a captain who was very close to the king didn’t believe it. He said,
“If the LORD himself should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?”
God has made windows in heaven. Remember the flood in Noah’s day? It is clear that the captain here did not believe that (1) God had the power to make such a quick change, nor (2) could God make such a change happen overnight.
Elisha said, “Oh it will happen. You just won’t be able to enjoy any of the blessings of it.” What happened is that as the people were rushing out to get the food and supplies, the captain was trampled by the crowds (2 Kings 7:17). This leader could not see nor believe that God was able and willing to restore goodness to His people.
But God did make windows in heaven, and God did care, and God did make immediate changes to care for His people. God is good, and God is all-powerful.
Sometimes things are so bad we have a very difficult time hoping that there will be any improvement. But this passage reminds us that we serve an awesome and loving God, and that even when things are at their darkest, God can make incredible changes in a hurry!