This fall I have the distinct honor of teaching the youth Sunday School class at my church which also includes one of my daughters. I've enjoyed getting to know each of them better. I have also been serving coffee, tea, and hot chocolate as a 'coming of age' treat. We've been learning how to balance the Bible and a cup of coffee without spilling it, something every adult ought to know how to do!
The lesson for this fall is the life of Elijah and Elisha. Every week has been filled with exciting tales of God working miracles through these two men who are just like you and me. So are you prepared for God to work miracles through you? The first step is to become a Christian if you are not already. The next and last step is to put your life fully into his hands to do whatever HE CHOOSES whether the miraculous or the mundane.
Today we learned about how to fight the enemy... Elisha style. I've included the whole text of 2 Kings 6:8-7:20 (WEB) below for your convenience, followed by a few paragraphs of comment from me. It is a fantastic story and worth your time to read it.
6:8) Now the king of Syria was at war against Israel; and he took counsel with his servants, saying, "My camp will be in such and such a place."
9) The man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, "Beware that you not pass this place; for the Syrians are coming down there." 10) The king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of; and he saved himself there, not once or twice. 11) The king of Syria's heart was very troubled about this. He called his servants, and said to them, "Won't you show me which of us is for the king of Israel?"
12) One of his servants said, "No, 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."
13) He said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him."
He was told, "Behold, he is in Dothan."
14) Therefore he sent horses, chariots, and a great army there. They came by night, and surrounded the city. 15) When the servant of the man of God had risen early, and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. His servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?"
16) He answered, "Don't be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17) Elisha prayed, and said, "Yahweh, please open his eyes, that he may see." Yahweh opened the young man's eyes; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha. 18 When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Yahweh, and said, "Please strike this people with blindness."
He struck them with blindness according to Elishah's word. 19) Elisha said to them, "This is not the way, neither is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek." He led them to Samaria. 20) When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, "Yahweh, open these men's eyes, that they may see."
Yahweh opened their eyes, and they saw; and behold, they were in the middle of Samaria. 21) The king of Israel said to Elisha, when he saw them, "My father, shall I strike them? Shall I strike them?"
22) He answered, "You shall not strike them. Would you strike those whom 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."
23) He prepared a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria stopped raiding the land of Israel.
24) After this, Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. 25) There was a great famine in Samaria. Behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. 26) As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, saying, "Help, my lord, O king!"
27) He said, "If Yahweh doesn't help you, where could I get help for you? From of the threshing floor, or from the wine press?" 28) The king said to her, "What is your problem?"
She answered, "This woman said to me, 'Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.' 29) So we boiled my son, and ate him: and I said to her on the next day, 'Give your son, that we may eat him;' and she has hidden her son."
30) When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes. Now he was passing by on the wall, and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth underneath on his body. 31) Then he said, "God do so to me, and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat stays on him today."
32) But Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. Then the king sent a man from before him; but before the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, "Do you see how this son of a murderer has sent to take away my head? Behold, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold the door shut against him. Isn't the sound of his master's feet behind him?"
33) While he was still talking with them, behold, the messenger came down to him. Then he said, "Behold, this evil is from Yahweh. Why should I wait for Yahweh any longer?"
7:1) Elisha said, "Hear Yahweh's word. Yahweh says, 'Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.' "
2) Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, "Behold, if Yahweh made windows in heaven, could this thing be?"
He said, "Behold, you will see it with your eyes, but will not eat of it."
3) Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate. They said to one another, "Why do we sit here until we die? 4) If we say, 'We will enter into the city,' then the famine is in the city, and we will die there. If we sit still here, we also die. Now therefore come, and let's surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they save us alive, we will live; and if they kill us, we will only die."
5) They rose up in the twilight, to go to the camp of the Syrians. When they had come to the outermost part of the camp of the Syrians, behold, no man was there. 6) For the Lord had made the army of the Syrians to hear the sound of chariots, and the sound of horses, even the noise of a great army; and they said to one another, "Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us." 7) Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their donkeys, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life. 8) When these lepers came to the outermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and ate and drank, and carried away silver, gold, and clothing, and went and hid it. Then they came back, and entered into another tent, and carried things from there also, and went and hid them. 9) Then they said to one another, "We aren't doing right. Today is a day of good news, and we keep silent. If we wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come, let's go and tell the king's household."
10) So they came and called to the city gatekeepers; and they told them, "We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, not even a man's voice, but the horses tied, and the donkeys tied, and the tents as they were."
11) He called the gatekeepers; and they told it to the king's household within. 12) The king arose in the night, and said to his servants, "I will now show you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we are hungry. Therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, 'When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive, and get into the city.' "
13) One of his servants answered, "Please let some people take five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city. Behold, they are like all the multitude of Israel who are left in it. Behold, they are like all the multitude of Israel who are consumed. Let's send and see."
14) Therefore they took two chariots with horses; and the king sent them out to the Syrian army, saying, "Go and see."
15) They went after them to the Jordan; and behold, all the path was full of garments and equipment which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. The messengers returned, and told the king. 16) The people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to Yahweh's word. 17) The king appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to be in charge of the gate; and the people trampled over him in the gate, and he died as the man of God had said, who spoke when the king came down to him. 18) It happened as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, "Two seahs of barley for a shekel, and a seah of fine flour for a shekel, shall be tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria;" 19) and that captain answered the man of God, and said, "Now, behold, if Yahweh made windows in heaven, might such a thing be?" and he said, "Behold, you will see it with your eyes, but will not eat of it." 20) It happened like that to him; for the people trampled over him in the gate, and he died.
I have already explained in other articles that I believe Christians are enlisted solely to spiritual warfare under the New Covenant and are called to un-enlist from this world's armies. You can read my other articles on this website for more lengthy proof.
I mention the point again here because this story about Elisha is further evidence of the calling given to godly men to fight with spiritual weapons, even under the Old Covenant. Elisha used the much more powerful weapons of prayer, prophecy, miracles, mercy, grace, and trusting God to make war and defend God's people. Elisha single-handed (or God-handed) disabled the entire Syrian army with blindness and led them by the hand to the heart of Israel. He then persuaded the King of Israel to give them food, grace, mercy, and sent them home. Though later Syria attacked again and the Israelite king became angry at Elisha for telling them not to kill the Syrians. However, God continued to work through Elisha and powerfully intervened again to protect God's people.
What if American Christians (not America, but American Christians) repented of their alliance with the armies of this world and the arm of flesh to join the Army of the Lord led by his Spirit? Consider the mighty victories that would be possible! But would we be willing to pursue a Christ-like Christianity that is committed to all mankind instead of our American brand of Christianity?
Recently a friend of mine praised a military man for 'believing' in the United States Marines. Yet, that is not the faith of the Bible, nor of most Christians around the world. What if instead we believed in and obeyed the Lord and became an army of Elisha's to minister grace to this world?
Pray that I would be willing. How can I pray for you?