What do you think of when you hear the word ‘horror?’ What if I said you ought to think of your Bible?
Sure the Bible has some beautiful stories, but it also contains darker stories that trigger fear, shock, & disgust. Let’s be brave and search out these stories together.
In today’s story we witness the terrifying consequences of an entire city turning away from God while their king refuses to accept responsibility. Famine! Cannibalism! Leprosy! How can anyone save these people from this horrific situation?
Welcome – Horror Stories from the Bible
Recap – Week 1: Jeptha – Week 2: Herod and the worms
What movie has your favorite twist ending?
Many good horror movies have a great twist at the end:
The killer is calling from upstairs!
It was a dream, you didn’t escape! You’re not safe!
Bruce Willis was Norman Bates the whole time!
This Biblical Horror story has a twist, and it hinges on four men with leprosy
Spoiler Alert: They do not get healed
Leprosy is Horrific
“Leprosy” could be used to refer to a variety of skin diseases in the Bible.
It was potentially deadly, incurable, and contagious
The disease we call leprosy today can be cured, back then it couldn’t
Bacterial infection, it can go undetected for up to 20 years
Granulomas of the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, and nerves
You lose the ability to feel pain, you get injured, it gets infected, parts fall off
And leprosy isn’t even the worst part of this horrific story!
2 Kings 3:1 NIV Joram [Jehoram] son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years.
2 Kings 3:2 NIV He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made.
2 Kings 3:3 NIV Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
2 Kings 6:24 NIV Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.
2 Kings 6:25 NIV There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.
Famine is Horrific
2 Kings 6:26 NIV As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”
2 Kings 6:27 NIV The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?”
2 Kings 6:28 NIV Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’
2 Kings 6:29 NIV So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
2 Kings 6:30 NIV When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body.
Famine is Horrific
Famine is horrific, but you don’t just start eating children.
There was something else going on here.
They had mixed with and learned from pagan cultures around them. They turned from the true God. They worshiped the false gods. And they came to believe it is okay to kill and eat children.
Other “gods” required child sacrifice. The true God does not. See Abraham and Isaac.
Our sin should disgust us.
Eating Their Children
Whenever you let anyone/anything else raise your children so you don’t have to…
Daycare, TV, Videogames, Internet…
2 Kings 6:31 NIV He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”
This was the king’s responsibility, but he blamed Elisha.
He should have been leading the charge against the enemy and praising God the whole time.
Instead he was cowering in his castle and blaming Elisha, and blaming God!
2 Kings 6:33 NIV …The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
With God there is victory. Without God there is only defeat.
With God there is hope. Without God there is only despair.
With God there is a legacy. Without God we are eating our children.
God had warned Israel about this…
Leviticus 26:23 NIV If in spite of these things you do not accept my correction but continue to be hostile toward me,
Leviticus 26:24 NIV I myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over.
Leviticus 26:25 NIV And I will bring the sword on you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands.
Leviticus 26:29 NIV You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.
This was a warning, not a threat.
Not Everything in the Bible is God’s Will
Where Was God?
2 Kings 7:3 NIV Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die?
2 Kings 7:4 NIV If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
2 Kings 7:5 NIV At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there,
2 Kings 7:6 NIV for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!”
2 Kings 7:7 NIV So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
2 Kings 7:8 NIV The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.
Hell on Earth
Avoiding your responsibility drags others down.
Not Everything in the Bible is God’s Will
Why is this story in the Bible?
Stories in the Bible shine light or point out shadow
This story does both ***MUSICIAN***
2 Kings 7:9 NIV Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
You will eventually be held accountable
2 CORINTHIANS 5:10 NIV For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
Taking Responsibility Saves People
Just as avoiding responsibility drags others down. Taking responsibility can lift others up.
If God can use these four diseased outcasts to save an entire city, then don’t tell me he can’t use you!
Stop blaming and take responsibility
Take responsibility for yourself: your life, your health, your relationship with God
Take responsibility for your family, your friends, the people around you
Take responsibility for your community, your city
Take responsibility for you church – get involved
Take a step – Talk to God – Take responsibility!