The Prophet Series: Elisha, part 20
The Prophet Series: Elisha part 20
2KI 6:17-23 Then Elisha prayed and said, "O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, "Strike this people with blindness, I pray." So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Then Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." And he brought them to Samaria. And it came about when they had come into Samaria, that Elisha said, "O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." So the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, "My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?" And he answered, "You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master." So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel.
In our last installment we found that the king of Syria had discovered that Elisha had known his every move and strategy. As Elisha warned the king of Israel, he secured the king's escape from every Syrian attack. The king of Syria, Ben-hadad, decided that the only solution was to capture Elisha, and upon finding out that the prophet was staying in the city of Dothan, sent a great army who surrounded the city in the middle of the night. Elisha's servant walked to the city gate in the early morning, found the army, and freaked out, running back to warn Elisha.
2KI 6:15-16 And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them."
Many of us might think it would be pretty cool to have an army of angels all around us as well, and it turns out that we do.
HEB 1:13-14 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
Jesus came into the world to answer anxious hearts. He showed us how faith in the very real presence of what the natural eye cannot see would give us courage and tranquility in situations that make the common man fear.
How suddenly dark clouds can surround us. We see nothing but happiness and joy and then BAM, something happens suddenly and all is changed. We may quickly turn to an "all is lost" attitude. And yet, even when our hearts are fearful and despairing, the Lord still brings sympathy and help. The greedy army and their snorting horses still surround us, and somehow the Lord is able to reveal to us that He is also residing in the surrounded city. A thought begins to dawn in our souls, "if the Lord is in the city, how could it fall?" Followed then by another thought, "I should nuzzle up as close to the Lord as I can."
Christ is identified with us. He has been tempted in all things and He is powerful to come to the aid of those who are tempted, HEB 2:18. We are not alone. When the burdened soul realizes the presence of Christ he finds the courage to stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord.
We should trust in His aid at all times, why wouldn't we? He is the Lord, everywhere present, all knowing, all powerful, and all "for us." Yet, we still fall in our doubt and forgetfulness. The Lord condescends to us in grace and mercy. He remembers that we are but dust. The prophet Elisha, a type of Christ, doesn't condemn the fearful servant, but rather bids the Lord to show him why he need not fear. The ethereal curtain is drawn back, and the angelic army in all their splendor and power, are revealed. I'm sure the servant was absolutely speechless.
Remember, you have a host of angels ministering to you, and more, you have the Lord of glory in you and clothing you. Do not fear; what can mere man do to you?
There really has been only one battle on planet earth, and all the rest are more like aftershocks. The Lord bled and died and won that sole battle. All believers are more than conquerors. Sin, sorrow, and death have all been swallowed up in victory. Fear should be banished from us because we have eyes to see the Lord and His host.
Mary Magdalene only saw a gardener and wept, but the Lord called her name and the scales fell from her eyes, and immediately her sorrow was turned to sweet joy. The disciples on the road to Emmaus walked sullenly when a stranger joined them and inquired what they had been discussing. Soon their eyes were opened to behold a risen Lord, and their sadness turned to exceeding joy. We only need eyes to see, and Christ has given us perfect vision.
Elisha's solution to the looming conflict was to use the same power that opened the eyes of his servant to close the eyes of the Syrians to reality, covering them with an illusion. One wonders how often God has done this throughout history. When an oppressor seeks to conquer, how often has God led them astray or into a trap? I wonder how often He has done this for each of us, when we were personally in danger, and His hedge deceived the enemy to take another course.
"This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." Elisha doesn't necessarily tell a fib here. The way is the Lord, and they're not on it. The one to be sought is the Lord, and not Elisha. Elisha’s plan is to show them the good way and the One who made it. So Elisha will bring them to the capital, and after opening their eyes he will provide the hospitality of Yavah. In grace and mercy he will provide their every need and then send them home safely. He will lead them along the road of grace and reveal to them the God of Israel, the One who holds that which every man seeks, ECC 3:11.
The enemy cannot prevail. Those who are with us are far more than those with them.
In every generation there has been a concerted effort to wipe out Christianity, and every time it has failed. Right now in the Middle East that effort is ongoing, but it will fail. Herod tried to destroy the infant Jesus. The Pharisees tried to discredit Him and kill Him. The religious tried to quiet the children and the disciples who cried out, "Hosannah," and if they had succeeded, the stones would have shouted it.
The objectors claim that Christianity is too old, meant for another time long past, and that we don't need it anymore. Crazy enough, they claim that we are too enlightened for it! But what do these enlightened ones offer to the human soul? Enlightened humanity without God is dullness, loneliness, anxiousness, longing, and weariness. The disciples of the enlightened are their witnesses. What is their answer to the experience of the renewed heart that abounds in joy, peace, and love? They claim such fruit to be an act or a show, but anyone who comes to know the redeemed lover of God, even a little, cannot explain them away so easily.
We are at the ready to tell those who claim to see that this is not the way you seek, and this is not the man you are looking for. "I will show you to Him, and I will show you the way."
Elisha in essence humbled himself to become the lead scout for the Syrian army. Can we imagine the expressions upon the faces of the people of Samaria when Elisha led that army through the gates of the capital? “Did Elisha switch sides? Will he now attack Israel with the enemy?” Certainly king Joram of Israel was made aware and watched in amazement.
When it was made clear that this wasn't an attack, Joram immediately acted like the fool he was. Instant upon his mind was the destruction of his foe. Did he realize that there were many other foes waiting? He forgot the commands of hospitality written in the Law, but of course he forgot them - he never read them. If Elisha walked away, the whole army would have been killed. Elisha has a higher thing in mind. He will reveal to the Syrians the grace and mercy of God in hospitality. And it worked. The Syrians never again came into Israel.
Joram is not spiritual, and like all unspiritual men who get involved with those who are spiritual, they seem only to be in the way. Elisha seeks hospitality, but he must first stop the king from killing his guests. When prosperity comes, the spiritual seek the Lord’s will in sharing graciously, while the unspiritual are only interested in their share, and perhaps a bit more. In adversity the unspiritual want to despair while the spiritual are striving to trust. The unspiritual men of this world consistently get in the way. It is the role of the spiritual to show them the way in gentleness.
The Lord is showing Syria that He is mighty to deliver. Hence, as promised, the blessing of the seed of Abraham comes to the families of the earth, the Gentiles. If Joram were God he would deceive them and then lead them into a trap and coldblooded murder.
2PE 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
There is only one way to overcome evil.
ROM 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I have often seen Christian fight with Christian over theology. In some of these cases I have seen those who are correct in their theology according to scripture take great pleasure in putting down those who were found to be mistaken. These things ought not be in the church. We do not compromise the clear truths of the Bible, but when we correct someone we always do so with gentleness and understanding. When Priscilla and Aquila heard Apollos, they understood that he was not full acquainted with the truth of Christ, and they took him aside and simply showed it to him. Do not fight those you are to teach. Do not be haughty in your own understanding, this is most unspiritual. Overcome evil with good, and overcome ignorance with gentle teaching. If they don't see the truth when presented gently, they won't see it when presented harshly.
To Him be all glory and honor,