Summary: Elisha followed a course of three steps in all this. Prayer, Faith and Obedience. We may face situations beyond our reserves but never beyond God's resources.
Opening illustration: In the New York City subway, two youths robbed a well-dressed man who appeared to be asleep in his seat. Suddenly the whole car came alive! The victim turned out to be a decoy, and the passengers who jumped up from their seats were police officers. With lightning speed they converged on the young pair and made the arrest. These officers were “unseen” at first, but they provided ample security for riders on that subway car.
We get a similar picture of protection in 2 Kings 6. In a manner more dramatic than what happened on that subway, Elisha’s servant saw why his master could be so confident in the face of what seemed to be impending disaster. We read that when “the Lord opened the eyes of the young man,” he saw an amazing sight (v.17). God had arrayed an invisible army “of horses and chariots of fire” all around Elisha, ready to protect the Israelites from the Syrian army.
As God’s children, we can trust Him to defend us as we do His will. Even when the battle seems too great and it appears that we face defeat, we must still trust the Lord. We can be encouraged by remembering Elisha’s message to his servant: “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v.16). We are not alone! (Our Daily Bread, M R De Haan II)
Let us turn to 2 Kings 6 in God’s Word and catch up with this impossible story of God’s power …
Introduction: To believe the impossible one must first see the invisible – the lesson Elisha taught his servant. The text involves war between Israel and Syria, and the prophet Elisha’s informing his people of the enemy’s tactics through prophetic insight. Here is the lesson: Prayer is the key to discerning our adversary’s stratagems. Further, the key to dispelling Elisha’s servant’s panic was his vision being opened to see the invisible. Note these crucial words: “Elisha prayed!” Elisha did not ask God simply to show the servant another miracle; he asked for his servant to see another dimension. The answer came immediately: “Then 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.” (v. 17) Seeing into the invisible (spiritual realm) is a key to victorious praying – discerning spiritual issues from God’s perspective rather than man’s, seeing the Adversary’s attack plan, and perceiving God’s angelic strike-force.
How is the power of God manifested in our lives?
1. Operating the Prophetic gift (vs. 8-13)
The Syrian king’s way of warfare was not by a regular continued invasion, but by dashes across the border on undefended places; and time after time he found himself out in his calculations, and troops enough to beat him off massed where he meant to strike. No wonder that he suspected treachery. The prompt answer of his servants implies that Elisha’s intervention was well known by them, and measures the reputation in which he stood. Let no one suppose that thwarting Syria was an unworthy use of a supernatural gift. The preservation of Israel and the revelation of God were worthy ends, and all that is accessory to a worthy end is worthy. It is foolish to call anything a trifle which serves a great purpose.
The king of Israel had learned to obey the prophet, and his people and their enemies had learned that Elisha was a prophet. That was much. He had no great revelations of the deep things of God to give to his generation or to posterity, but he gave directions as to practical life which bore on the wellbeing of the state; and that office was not less divinely conferred. It is a good thing when God’s servants are not afraid to make their voices heard in politics, and a safeguard for a nation when their counsels are taken. The quiet prophet was more to Israel than an army.
We live in a fallen world. There is evil on every side. There is sickness and temptation and sorrow. Tragedy and loss sometimes strikes. Problems with personal relationships, economic difficulties and personal failure all stand at our door. Finally, death comes to all.
Today, the shrouded (invisible) enemy commander is not Ben-hadad, but Satan. The spears and darts come in the form of temptations and trials. He means to take us captive. Paul mentions some who had already been captured, and their need to be taught and encouraged to repent; "and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will." (2 Timothy 2:26). In fact today he has deceived the world by making it believe that he doesn’t exist.