Let me ask you this. 

What if you are given market tips from God himself today? 

For instance, God chose to reveal to you only exactly the price of a certain stock that will be transacting at a certain time tomorrow. 

Would you believe it? Would you act upon it? 

Perhaps, you’ll be wondering, ‘Really? Are you serious about this?’ 

‘Does God himself be so generous to rain people with market insights today?’ 

To answer this, let me share with you in brief, a war story. 

The Siege and a Broke King 

It happened in Samaria during 800+ B.C. 

Ben-hadad, the King of Aram had gathered his army and besieged Samaria. This has caused a massive famine throughout Samaria. Food prices had skyrocketed. It was recorded that a cup of dove’s dung was priced at 80 shekels (around US$ 47), which practically means that the people are paying almost RM 200 to have bird shit for food. 

It was a desperate time. People were practising cannibalism to live on. Even the King has no extra food and wine to help his people. At that moment, the King is bitter, in great despair, and has no clue on how to get out of his predicament. 

In the modern context, it is the equivalent of, ‘The stock market is crashing. The economy is bad. The cost of living is rising and you can say that our leaders now don’t have any solutions to problems relating to our livelihood.’ 

Market Insight from God? 

In the midst of chaos, the King sent his assistant to meet up with a prophet. His name is Elisha, an anointed prophet of the God of Israel. 

Elisha told the King’s assistant, ‘By this time tomorrow, two things will happen: 

1. 6 quarts (7.3 liters) of choice flour will cost 1 piece of silver (US$ 9.16). 

2. 12 quarts (14.6 liters) of barley grain will cost 1 piece of silver (US$ 9.16). 

Guess what the King’s assistant responded. 

He said, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ 

Elisha prophesied that the King’s assistant shall witness them happening but he wouldn’t be able to profit from them. 

Is the King’s assistant foolish? 

From my perspective, I won’t say he is foolish because if he is stupid, it is highly unlikely for him to attain his position as the King’s Assistant. In fact, he could be a well-educated and a highly-qualified person. Rather, I would say he is a pretty normal chap who assessed things based on his surroundings and understanding of the current situation. 

It is human to doubt the validity of a market tip even if it came from all the way directly from God himself. 

Look. Honestly speaking, if a ‘prophet’ today is to tell me that Supermax shares will crash to exactly 91 sen tomorrow at 11.15 a.m. from its current price of RM 19.14 a share, I would most probably brush him off. 

Most likely, my reply would also be, ‘That couldn’t happen.’ 

As such, as an investor, why would I even try to check out market predictions or stock tips from financial newspapers and brokers’ reports to invest safely in the stock market? After all, these predictions are given by men themselves who are subjected to failures and not from God himself.  

Panic from the Armies of Aram

Let’s switch our focus to the armies of Aram, who was besieging Samaria. 

They had the upper-hand in the battle and were in a good position to win. They had the soldiers, horses, donkeys, equipment, food, wine, gold, silver and other supplies in their army camps. 

Victory was just around the corner for Aram. 

Then, they heard noises. 

They heard sounds of speeding chariots and galloping horses coming their way. 

Guess what they did? 

They panicked and fled away for their lives, leaving behind all supplies as stated above in their army camps.

This is where it is most frustrating. 

The armies of Aram is likened to people who are cash rich, had studied the art of value investing, and did their homework but panicked and have decided to abort investments in the stock market because they fear that the market would crash even further in the near future due to some hearsays, rumours, stock tips and commentaries which are negative by nature. 

Therefore, without keeping their emotions in check, they missed their boat to a huge jackpot that was likened to be ‘almost theirs’ in the first place. 

So, What Exactly Happened? 

Why did the armies of Aram who were in sight of a great victory fled away from their army camps for their lives? 

As mentioned, they heard noises and became fearful. 

But, here is the thing. Couldn’t they have sent out scouts to find out what could have caused these ‘noises’ in the first place? 

After all, isn’t it normal for an army’s general to find out the situation before he reacts to it? In other words, the army’s decision to retreat was based on noises, not on actual events. It is likened to one who buys and sells stocks based solely on news and tips which are practically noises in the stock community.  

They don’t read financial reports to find out actual information of stocks before making investment decisions. 

So, let’s assume the General of the Armies of Aram did send his scouts to check on the source of these ‘noises’. He would probably know that all that were just four Hebrew lepers that were walking towards their army camps, which is quite far away from what they had imagined in the first place. 

The 4 Hebrew Lepers and How They Got Their Pot of Gold 

Ironically, the ultimate winners in this war are the four Hebrew lepers. 

They were the outcast of their society in Samaria and likely to be uneducated. 

They don’t have stock tips and market insights from God himself. 

But, they are the first people to reap their pot of gold from the armies of Aram. 

How did it happen? 

First, as outcasts, they hung around the city gate in Samaria. They had no silver and food and were hungry just like anybody else in Samaria. 

But, in the middle of a highly chaotic situation, they were the most rational. 

They assessed their options which were: 

1. To sit around the city gate and starve to death. 

2. To enter the city and also starve together with the residents within and die. 

3. Walk to the army camp of Aram and beg for food. 

They chose the third option because if the armies of Aram keep them, they will live and survive. If the armies choose to kill them, these four lepers would have a much quicker death as compared to a slow and painful death from starvation. 

So, the four lepers were being the most rational and were courageous to act on it as they had chosen an option which has the best ‘rewards’ and lowest ‘risks’. 

And, they were rewarded with food, wine, clothes, gold and silver. 

Therefore, it is the same with stock investing. Often, investors who are rational, logical, and sensible tend to profit the most in the stock market for investments are only made after having knowledge of their position, a careful study on their investment options, and a full understanding on their risk and rewards for their undertakings. 

The Broke King Speculates 

Back to the lepers. 

They were enjoying food and wine and had hid their gold and silver.

At that time, Samaria was still in famine and nobody knew the Aramean armies had left their army camps. The lepers were so filled that they began to feel a bit guilty of not sharing the news back to the people in Samaria. 

Hence, they headed back home to spread the news. 

Soon, the King received the news and he started to be speculative about it. 

He told his officers that he knew what was happening and viewed it as a trick, a ploy set up by the Arameans to invade Samaria and have him captured alive. 

Boy, how far off the King was in his speculation from the truth that happened. 

It is the same with many people who are speculating stocks in the market. They may have views on how stock prices or the economy will be heading in the near future. But, how accurate are they? How many of them are successful investors in the stock market? Can you speculate your ways to millions in stocks? 

Hence, as smart as speculators may sound with their speculation, most of them are not yet a success in the stock market.

The Advise of a Smart Officer 

As the king speculates, one of his officers stood up and reckoned that the King’s scouts should be sent out to check on the news given by the four lepers. 

The officer proposed that the scouts could take five out of the King’s remaining horses to verify the news. If the news is proven to be true, Samaria profits. But, if it is otherwise and the scouts and horses died while scouting, it is still okay as they would have died in the city due to starvation anyway. 

Again, the proposal given was rational. 

As such, the scouts were the second group of people to have access to both the gold and silver left behind by the armies of Aram. 

So, why do I say the officer was being smart? This is because: 

1. The officer chose to ignore speculations from the King. 

2. The officer chose instead to verify the news first before acting upon it. 

3. The officer proposed an idea which was of low risk as he sent out five horses, not all the King’s horses to scout the camps left behind by the armies of Aram. 

These traits are to be cultivated if you wish to be a good investor. 

Conclusion: Will You Reap Your Pot of Gold? 

In short, the scouts came back and verified the news given by the lepers. 

The city gates of Samaria opened and people rushed out to plunder all that was left behind by the armies of Aram. Indeed, with massive supplies of food, wine, clothes, gold and silver, the economic situation in Samaria has lopsided. Thus, it caused prices, including food, to tumble, hence, fulfilling the prophecy of Elisha of: 

1. 6 quarts (7.3 liters) of choice flour will cost 1 piece of silver (US$ 9.16). 

2. 12 quarts (14.6 liters) of barley grain will cost 1 piece of silver (US$ 9.16). 

And, remember the King’s Assistant that received the market insight from God? 

He was put in charge by the King to control the traffic at the city gate. 

True enough, he witnessed Elisha’s prophecy but he was not able to profit from them as he was trampled to death by people who were rushing to plunder stuff at the army camps of Aram. 

It was a sad ending to one who indeed received a market tip from God himself. 

So, will you emerge as the ultimate winner in the stock market today, given that it is choppy and uncertain as I write? 

Here, I’ll list down a couple of traits that you can emulate to boost your chance of surviving or thriving in stock investing today: 

1. Don’t invest based on noises. 

2. Don’t try to speculate the stock market. 

3. You don’t need stock tips to be a good investor. You just need to be sensible. 

4. Scout and Verify based on actual data. It is done via reading financial reports. 

5. Understand your position, risk, and rewards before investing. 

6. It’s cool to take small calculated risks. 

7. Be logical and rational.  

Ian Tai
Ian Tai

Financial Content Machine. Dividend Investor. Produced 450+ Financial Articles featured in KCLau.com in Malaysia and the Fifth Person, Value Invest Asia, and Small Cap Asia in Singapore. Regular Host and Presenter of a Weekly Financial Webinar with KCLau.com. Co-Founded DividendVault.com, an online membership site that empowers retail investors to build a stock portfolio that pays rising dividends year after year in Malaysia and Singapore.

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