Elisha and the king of Syria

Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.[2 Kings 6:8-10 ESV]

Being at peace with God and being in His will are the same. Even those who are not at peace with Him may be protected by Him.

Elisha spoke to the Northern kingdom. They continually rebelled against God, bowing down to worship idols and refusing to follow His law. Yet, instead of using the king of Syria to discipline the rebellious kingdom of Israel God used Elisha to warn the king of Israel away from danger.

None of the Northern kings had peace with God. Yet, to an extent God protected them. He kept them safe when they should have died, been pillaged and carried away. God, knowing the hearts and minds of all, used Elisha to warn them about a coming disaster.

And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” So he sent their horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. [2 Kings 6:11-14 ESV]

God’s enemies plan and plot and act upon the belief they are more powerful than God or that He is as weak as their own gods. They perceived Elisha was somehow eavesdropping and the Syrian king decided to get rid of him. In the thinking of the hearts of those controlled by the world it is unreasonable for God to speaks to anyone or to suggest He knows intimately their thoughts and impulses. Is He not like the dumb idols the Syrians worshipped? If the king of Syria had simply thought, asking himself the right questions, would he not have realized fighting against God was futile?

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. [2 Kings 6:15-17 ESV]

Elisha saw what his servant did not. He knew God and the thinking of his heart was fixed upon the God he served. He was given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, of his faith and fortitude, but you cannot double the Spirit of God. He Himself is enough. Elisha had learned the absolute trustworthiness of the God he served. Surrounded by those who would destroy, kill and maim, so close to danger and disaster, Elisha prayed his servants eyes would be opened to the power and protection of God. The power of this world is insignificant to the power of God.

God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant. He saw. Did his seeing bring him peace with God, rest in His strength and protection, faith in Him who is sovereign over all? We do not know.

We do see Elisha praying God would close the eyes of their enemies, and God did. Where God opened the eyes of His servant He closed the eyes of their enemies.  They could see but could not recognize. They could walk and function completely blinded to the work of God. Elisha walked the Syrian king’s army into the waiting reach of their enemy, the king of Israel.

God commanded the king of Israel feed their enemies and send them home in peace. “So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel” [2 Kings 6:23 ESV].  Still, the next king of Syria did not remember or care for the kindness shown by God and continued attacking Israel.

God gives peace to those who are His. God shows peace to all, even those who are not His. May we rest in His absolute peace, even when surrounded by the willful hatred of the world.


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