Saturday, August 11, 2007

Lions, Logic, and Lepers

"Logic!" said the Professor half to himself. "Why don't they teach logic at these schools? There are only three possibilities. Either your sister is telling lies, or she is made, or she is telling the truth. You know she doesn't tell lies and it is obvious that she is not made. For the moment then and unless any further evidence turns up, we must assume that she is telling the truth." from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

One of my favorite stories we studied during Bible Hour was one that I’m sure I’ve read, but never noticed. In 2 Kings 7, there is a story where the capital city of Israel was besieged by Syria. Outside the city gate lived four lepers, who were not allowed inside the city for the reason that they were “unclean” and might contaminate others with their horrible disease.

Eventually the city was in dire straits, starving for lack of access to food. That is the purpose of besieging a city. You close it up, and provisions run out.

So one day, the lepers had a council. If we stay here, they agreed, we will die of starvation. If we go into the city, where they don’t want us, and where there is still no food, we die of starvation. If we surrender to the Syrians, where they don’t want us, but they do have food, well, our chances look better over there. We won’t lose anything if they kill us.

I kept applying the sheer logic of the lepers to life at camp and afterwards. When we’re making decisions, it may do us good to consider our options. Too seldom do we consider that though one course looks good, another may be just as good or better. Though a situation looks desperate, and all courses may run ill, there may be one with hope. Captain Sparrow says the only rule you need to know is what a man can do and what a man can’t do. I think we ought to follow God’s rules and trust to divine intervention when necessary, not only to our own abilities. But it might do well to think through a situation like Captain Sparrow did (even when he appeared to be staggering about drunk or afraid or desperately greedy).

Four lepers trudged down the road to the camp of the Syrians and found it Syrian-less. The food and clothing, weapons, and riches were all still there, but no one was defending it. (This was an instance of divine intervention that the lepers had not counted on.) Samaria, the capital city of Israel, after a little convincing that the empty camp was really empty and not a trap, was saved.

To God be all glory.

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