[May 17]--Outnumbered?

2 Kings 6:8-23

This is one of my favorite stories in the whole Old Testament, not just because it has some humorous parts, but also because it illustrates some very important lessons for us.

Despite the fact that the king of Israel was a stinker (like all the others), the prophet Elisha (Elijah’s protégé) was led by his Lord to help the northern nation of Israel in its struggle against Aram. Talk about military intelligence! I’m sure that groups like the CIA, FBI, and NSA would love to have sources of information like this one.

On a side note, notice the conversation between the king and his officials. The way they phrased their response to the king, and also the fact that they thought they could kidnap the prophet and either kill him or use him for their own purposes showed that they misunderstood the situation (remember our discussion on magic?). I mean, on its face this plan seemed rather silly: If he’s really a prophet and can see the future, then how could they think they could “sneak up” on him? The only reason why they could get as close as they did was because Elisha’s Lord allowed it to happen.

But here's the point of the story on which I want to focus. Elisha’s servant, seeing the thousands of men and chariots, immediately panicked. To his eternal credit, Elisha didn’t react like his mentor once did when threatened. He simply encouraged his servant with the immortal words: “Don't be afraid. . .Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." The Aramean army thought they were surrounding the city and about to capture the prophet, but it was they who were surrounded. The prophet prayed for his servant, and the man’s eyes were opened to the supernatural forces which were protecting them all.

The Aramean army, oblivious to its immediate danger, rushed the city. I'd guess that if Elisha had prayed for the Lord to strike them down dead, the ground would be littered with corpses. But instead he mercifully prayed for the army to be struck blind. Of course, this would make them completely helpless and at the mercy of even one man.

He led them to the capital of the Samaria, and the army had their blindness lifted to see themselves surrounded by Israel’s armies, ready to slaughter them at a word. The prophet again showed his compassionate (and Christ-like) spirit by forbidding Israel’s king from killing them.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? We’ll talk more about angels as the days go by, but for now, we need to take comfort in some facts. There are spiritual forces all around us, both malevolent and benevolent. Most of the time, we have no idea what's going on all around us, and there are good reasons why the Lord has made that so. But even if it looks like we’re fighting a losing battle, both on the national level and in our personal lives, we need to know that “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” It's Satan’s kingdom which is under siege, not our Lord’s. It's Satan whose days of rule are strictly numbered, not the Lord Jesus’. Know this, my friend, and take heart.

Lord Jesus, give me the eyes of faith. You have EVERYTHING under control, even when it doesn’t look like it. When I’m panicking like that servant, please give me your peace.

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