UNBELIEF in God’s WORD will ‘DEPRIVE’ us of God’s BLESSINGS: "Now the king had appointed the officer on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate. But the people trampled him in the gate, and he died, just as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. So it happened just as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, "Two seahs of barley for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, shall be sold tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria." Then that officer had answered the man of God, and said, "Now look, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, could such a thing be?" And he had said, "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it." And so it happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gate, and he died. (2 Kings 7:17-20)
The background of this story is that Ben-Hadad, the king of Syria had launched a major invasion of Israel and laid Samaria the capital under a long and devastating siege. Food had become so scarce and expensive that Israelites eventually resorted to cannibalism, which is eating the flesh of other humans (6:24–30). King Joram of Israel was powerless in this matter and had refused to accept responsibility for his people’s plight. Instead, he was blaming the prophet Elisha for this crisis (v. 31). It was at this time that Elisha prophesied to the king that the siege would end immediately and the basic food items like fine flour and barley would be available so freely to everyone that their prices would drop drastically – all in a day’s time (7:1).
Listening to Elisha’s prediction was an unnamed officer of the king who refused to believe the word of God through His prophet. He declared publicly that even if God would make windows in heaven, this thing was not possible. He just could not believe that God could do such an extraordinary miracle. This unbelief would later deprive him of God’s blessing just as Elisha predicted: "In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it" (7:2).
In accordance with the prophecy of Elisha, fine flour and barley were sold at very low prices that day itself. The king’s officer (vs. 17) was appointed to control the crowd as it rushed from the city. He witnessed the miracle and the excitement it created, but he could never participate in eating the food; for he was trampled by the crowd he could not control, and he died. Verses 18–20 reemphasize that the man died according to the word of the Lord because of his unbelief. Unbelief robs us of enjoying the blessing God choses to give His children!
Let us be assured that God will open the windows of heaven when we obey Him through giving. "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it" (Mal 3:10).