2 Kings 6

2 Kings 6
Pastor Mark Hudson

Elisha has a growing number of students around him. This prompts “the sons of the prophets” to ask to build a bigger place. They leave for the Jordan but not until someone innocently asks Elisha to join them. These are not wealthy students so when one of them loses an axe head in the Jordan they just can’t go buy a new one. Since Elisha just happened to be there, the axe head floats to the top and is retrieved. Small thing? This shows God’s concern for us even in matters that may not seem to be life-changing, deeply spiritual, and are somewhat mundane. Why should a sovereign God, a Spirit who controls all the universe, care about little people like us when we lose an axe head?

We don’t often find stories where prophets help kings. But in 2 Kings 6, Elisha is protecting the king by relaying intel about the king of Syria to the king of Israel. The King of Syria accuses his inner circle of betrayal. How else could the king of Israel knows these things? The truth is, Elisha seems to know everything the king says in secret. Now, what happens next is deja vu all over again (Yogi Berra). First, Mt. Carmel where Elijah wins, then 2 Kings 1, where 102 men are burned alive, now this. So, you really think you can capture a man of God with soldiers and horses? Come on, man!

God allows Elisha’s servant to see what God and Elisha know: angelic forces always overpower mere human armies. Elisha prays to open his servant’s eye and blind the Syrian’s eyes. He then leads the entire army to Samaria in the presences of the King of Israel. Instead of killing them (after all they were soldiers), they instead feed them and send them on their way.

A détente does not last long. Syria lays siege to Samaria which is a blockade of goods to a city. In the course of the King’s walk on the city wall, a woman wants help in fairly and equitably cannibalizing another child. Blaming Elisha, the King goes after Elisha who the King thinks is to blame. Yes, you heard that right. Another king trying to kill a prophet of God. He vows to do this ‘today’ (v. 31). Did anyone warn the king? Did anyone attempt to remind him of the recent attempts to kidnap and murder one of God’s prophets?

Can anyone fight against God and succeed? Even if unbelievers are not destroyed in this life, what will happen the moment they die? And yet they keep trying to fight against God. “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?” asks the Psalmist in Psalms 2. There is an endless struggle against the ungodly and everyone who stands for His church. This struggle began in heaven with Lucifer, continued with Adam and Eve and threatens to destroy God’s church in every continent in the world. In fact, doesn’t it seem like the forces of evil are winning? Christians at times seem powerless to resist. As we know, so many believers are murdered by their own governments.

But we need an Elisha to ask God to open our eyes and see the ‘true’ reality of the struggle. Jesus Christ defeated Satan on the cross. Satan is still afflicting the church. Real violence almost destroys the church on an annual basis. But that is not the last word for our holy God. He even uses the violence, hatred, and evil that is intended to destroy the church to strengthen His body. Time and time again what wicked humans intend for evil, God uses for good. We ‘see’ this most clearly on the cross. If you are a person of faith, born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, you ‘see’ the glory of God and embrace the cross. Peter captures these two opposing themes in Acts 2:23, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” The prayer of the church in Acts 427-28, lists the evil men who oppose Christ who gathered together “to do whatever Your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.”

Of course, if you told Pontius Pilate, Herod, and the Gentiles and Jewish people that they were doing what God had predestined, they would call you crazy. ‘I’m doing this of my own free will’ they might respond. And they would be right . . . and so would you. Both things are true.

God uses the blindness to confuse the Syrians. This blindness of the Syrians served to protect Elisha and his servant. We must stress that God does not always protect His church, but He always can. He always works in ways so that the gospel prospers, Christ is exalted, and His people grow, rejoice, and experience His blessing. That may sound like wishful thinking. Is not this exactly what God the Father did through the cross? If you had been there, you would not see the glory of God. Rather, you would have seen violence, blood, and three hurting men on the cross. But if God the Holy Spirit gave you eyes of faith that day, you would have witnessed the supreme example of the glory of God. So, we can believe that God is able to punish evil, protect His people, and glorify His Son in millions of ways all around the world every hour of every day.

Lord, You are a mighty God Who does all things well. You care about our food, our health, and our present as well as our future. How you weave the tapestry of our lives and billions of other people’s lives to serve Your glory can never be fathomed by us nor will we ever comprehend Your knowledge and power. But we can attempt to learn more of Your ways and thereby be humbled by all that You are. Exalt Yourself in our somewhat insignificant lives. May we revel in all that You are. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. May Your glory be over all the earth. For the sake of the eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Amen