If you watch any movies involving epic battles and especially if there is a stronghold or a castle involved, you have likely seen what a siege looks like. The word siege originates from the Latin and means simply ‘to sit’. There are a number of recorded Biblical Battles that involve a city under siege. One of those is found in 2Kings 6:24- 7:20. Samaria is under siege and the results are gruesome and horrifying.
So, exactly what is a siege? Well, a siege is a basic military strategy that goes something like this. When a land was being invaded, you couldn’t occupy every square inch so you went after the key cities, the fortified cities, the strongholds, the cities with walls. A walled city meant safety from enemies. It represented strength, protection and power. If the invading enemy could take a walled city, this meant a change of rule and authority and possession of the surrounding lands. At its most basic form the enemy army would simply set up camp and prevent any coming or going from the city. They could also include catapults, battering rams or perhaps even march around the walls and blow shofars (think Jericho).
So, what is the purpose of a siege? Bottom line, the purpose was to alienate and cut off the people within from resources they needed to survive, as in food and water. They also wanted to prevent them from contacting other people who might be able to send aid. What was meant to protect would become a prison. An entire city of people trapped and taking terrible measures to survive.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever been busy about life when the very walls you have labored to build, with the intention to keep you safe have imprisoned you. You are trapped. You are under siege. Perhaps you are under physical siege with health issues, pain or a devastating disease like cancer. Perhaps you are under emotional siege with grief, infertility or a relationship devastated by divorce. Perhaps you are under the most terrifying siege of all, spiritual siege.
What are the signs of a spiritual siege?
Value system warped/priorities out of order
Broken thinking/unreasonable behavior
Blame game/targeting spiritual authority
We see these clearly in the Scripture passage mentioned above.
Dove dung being sold and considered valuable. Say what? Yep, they were starving and they were willing to eat anything to survive. As a matter of fact it gets far worse when a woman comes to complain to the king about another woman who has broken their agreement involving cannibalism. How could someone resort to such measures? Their value system is warped! What should be sacred and precious and defended is instead sacrificed and then justified as necessary to survive. Don’t be too startled, it happens regularly in our modern civilized world. Just let a life, an innocent child, a wife or a husband get in the way of what someone has decided they want or need and you will see how quickly the decision to self-preserve is. How could anyone think this is okay? This is a result of broken thinking.
What then immediately happens when we are faced with such atrocities? Well, you’d think there would be repentance and sincere changes of lifestyle and behavior. But, not when there is a spiritual siege involved. Instead, the next step during a spiritual siege is the blame game. It has to be someone’s fault. A refusal to be held accountable for the consequences of sin requires that someone else be blamed. More than likely it will be a spiritual authority that is blamed during a spiritual siege. We see this when the king decides to behead Elisha! Say what? Yep, the anger that should have been directed toward the enemy is retargeted towards the prophet.
So, what could delay our deliverance?
Refusal to believe, trust the Word of God.
(angry, bitter, blind, easily offended).
Refusal to get up and move.
(Siege=sit here and die, resisting change, embracing the past).
Refusal to share the good news.
(Self-serving, Self-centered, Self-focused, Self-preserving, Self-absorbed).
Elisha, even after being threatened with being beheaded (the Lord thwarted that plan) offered hope and a Word from the Lord. Tomorrow, he said, everything would be set right. They refused to believe. Okay, I hear you, I know after facing such a terrible life altering siege, it is hard just to take someone’s word, even God’s Word. God understands that too. And when we need something more to help us believe, He will provide it.
There were these four lepers sitting, like everyone else, expecting the worse, anticipating death and destruction. But, they decided to GET UP AND DO SOMETHING. (Remember, siege means to sit). It’s a great story and you should read it. They decide they can’t get what they need ‘back’ in the city and they can’t get what they need by staying where they are so they will take their chances by moving ahead. I believe that there are many of you who just read those words and as you did, something stirred within your heart and spirit. You’ve been longing for what used to be, but yesterday can’t provide for you anymore. What was enough is no longer enough. You’ve been in a state of siege, stuck, trapped, imprisoned in this situation that surrounds you and yet you continue to sit there. Today is the day that you can take the first step towards deliverance from the personal siege. You see, what began as an enemy siege has developed into a personal siege. You’ve become your own worst enemy.
When the lepers arrive at the enemy camp they are astounded. God has cleared out the enemy and provided a bounty of provisions. At first the lepers begin to collect and hide what they’ve found and then, they are convicted and decide to go share the good news. The siege is broken. The enemy is gone. The miracle everyone has hoped and prayed for has arrived. Just like God said, everything has been made right.
The king is suspicious, his doubting officer continues to doubt, but someone suggest at least checking out the unbelievable report that the lepers have given. They didn’t have much faith, but, they acted on what faith they had. They were delivered from the siege! Those who refused to believe died in their unbelief (see the end of the king’s official).
No matter what kind of siege you may be facing today, whatever you do, don’t just sit there. Let go of the past and take advantage of today to change your tomorrow. Don’t allow the enemy to cut you off from your most valuable resources of the Word of God, Living Water and Loving Relationships. That is his strategy, but, you don’t have to sit down and take it.
Pack your bags and prepare to leave; the siege is about to begin. (Jeremiah 10:17 NLT)