Living Faith in God—The Providences of the Almighty in Behalf of His People
(See 2 Kings 6:24–25; 7:1–20.)
President Orson Hyde said:
“Once on a time there was a great famine in Samaria, and so sore was that famine that a mule’s head sold for four score pieces of silver in the market, and a cab of dove’s dung sold for food in the market; I cannot recollect for how much [see 2 Kgs. 6:24–25]. We should consider it pretty much of a task or penalty to be compelled to use an article like that for food; but the people of Samaria were sorely distressed with famine, and which way to turn to save themselves they knew not. About this time, the king of Syria, with a large army, came to besiege the city, and there was a mighty host of them, and they brought everything in the shape of food that was necessary for the comfort and happiness of man; and although the famine was so sore among the Samaritans, the old prophet . . . Elisha . . . , told them that on the next day meal should be sold in the gate of their city at very low figures, lower than it had ever been known to be sold before. A certain nobleman, who heard the prophecy of Elisha expressed his doubt of its truth, and he said that if the windows of heaven were opened and meal poured down from above it could not fall to such low figures. Now see what he got by doubting the words of the prophet—said Elisha to him—‘Your eyes shall see it, but you shall not taste it’ [see 2 Kgs. 7:1–2]. That night the Lord sent forth the angels of His presence and they made a rustling in the trees, and sounds like horses’ hoofs and chariots, as if the whole country had combined to go out to battle against the Syrians, and they did not know what to make of it, and they were frightened, and fled, leaving almost everything they had brought with them in the borders of the town; and as they went, the rustling of the trees and the noise of the horses and chariots seemed to pursue them, and in order to make their burdens as light as possible, they threw away everything they had with them, and their track was strewed with everything good and desirable. The next morning the people of Samaria went out and brought the spoils into the market, and it was overstocked with provisions, and the word of the Lord through the prophet [Elisha] was fulfilled [see 2 Kgs. 7:1–20].
“Now, you see, the Lord knew they had eaten mules’ heads long enough, and that they had need of something more palatable; He had had the matter under advisement, no doubt, when the crusade was inaugurated against the people of Samaria, and He, in all probability, inspired them to take abundant supplies, that they might feel all the more confident on account of their great numbers being so well provided for. They no doubt calculated that they had the sure thing, little thinking that God was making them pack animals to take to His people what they needed. Their Father in Heaven knew that they had need of them, and He sent them, and the people of Samaria brought them into market, and behold and lo the multitude rushed together just as hungry people will, and this nobleman came out also, and he was trodden down under foot and stamped to death—he saw it but he never tasted it [see 2 Kgs. 7:17–20]. That is the reward of those who disbelieve the prophets of God; it was so then, and if the same thing does not occur in every instance something of a similar character is sure to take place. There was no living faith in that man, he could not believe the testimony of the prophets, and in this he was like some of our—what shall I say, great men, whose faith is weak and sickly, and they think they know it all, and can chalk out right and left that which would be best for building up the kingdom of God.
“Well, after the flight of Sennacherib and his hosts, the starving multitudes of Samaria had an abundant supply of food. By what financial calculation was this brought about? Was it by worldly financiering, or was it by the bounteous dispensation of kind Heaven, who, disregarding worldly technicalities, sent a full supply to administer to and supply the wants of those who put their trust in Him, for at that time the people of Samaria stood fairly before Him, and He [pled] their cause [see Psalm 35:1].”
(In Journal of Discourses, 17:6–7.)