Series: Thru the Bible
Message – The lesson of Elisha: God Provides
***Video is HERE***
Elisha the Prophet
Scriptures covered: 2Kings 4-7
Hopefully in these passages you will see foreshadows of thoughts, actions and events in the lives of Jesus and the apostles.
I love that the scriptures offer us the history of some of God’s people throughout the years. I also love to see the influence they had on Jesus and the apostles.
Even our Lord was meek and lowly and open to learn from others.
Here we have the Lord of heaven, Who was not too proud to listen to and learn from the lives of regular mortal men. It only serves to make my heart love and respect Him more!
I know He was living under the veil of the flesh which obscured His eyes from perfect sight as it does ours, otherwise He’d have known EVERYTHING from the beginning and would not have needed the guidance and help of the Spirit. That we have in Jesus the God of Creation, looking to and learning from His Own Creations is something too wonderful for words!
He truly is lovely, pure and without pride or arrogance! He, more than any other, is the hero of all who have eyes to see Who He is!
God, our Provider
We start off with an example which we’ve seen recently before in the life of Elisha’s mentor. The multiplying of oil and we will see something like this later. I envision Jesus hearing and reading these accounts in these men’s lives and knowing that if God did it before He can do it again (like with the fishes and bread).
“(1) One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the LORD. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.”
(2) Elisha asked her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”
She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”
(3) Then he said, “Go and borrow empty containers from everyone–from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. (4) Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.”
(5) So she left. After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. (6) When they were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”
But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped.
(7) She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest.”
When I read real life accounts of God meeting the needs of His children, I cannot help but think…
“Thank you God, that I am not just one sheep lost in the ocean of “bahs”, but that you know me, you know my name…even if I am invisible to everyone else I am not invisible to You!” Because You choose to know me, love me, provide for me and pursue me…I have value and it is found in You! I am NOT alone!”
Elisha was a man of gratitude as well
This passage gives some meaning or definition to the words of Jesus Who told us in Matt. 10:40-42, “(40) The one who welcomes you welcomes Me, and the one who welcomes Me welcomes Him who sent Me. (41) Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. And anyone who welcomes a righteous person because he’s righteous will receive a righteous person’s reward. (42) And whoever gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple–I assure you: He will never lose his reward!”
“(8) One day Elisha went to Shunem. A prominent woman who lived there persuaded him to eat some food. So whenever he passed by, he stopped there to eat. (9) Then she said to her husband, “I know that the one who often passes by here is a holy man of God, (10) so let’s make a small room upstairs and put a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp there for him. Whenever he comes, he can stay there.”
“(11) One day he came there and stopped and went to the room upstairs to lie down. (12) He ordered his attendant Gehazi, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her and she stood before him. (13) Then he said to Gehazi, “Say to her, ‘Look, you’ve gone to all this trouble for us. What can we do for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?'”
She answered, “I am living among my own people.”
(14) So he asked, “Then what should be done for her?”
Gehazi answered, “Well, she has no son, and her husband is old.”
(15) “Call her,” Elisha said.
So Gehazi called her, and she stood in the doorway. (16) Elisha said, “At this time next year you will have a son in your arms.”
Then she said, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not deceive your servant.”
(17) The woman conceived and gave birth to a son at the same time the following year, as Elisha had promised her. (18) The child grew and one day went out to his father and the harvesters. (19) Suddenly, he complained to his father, “My head! My head!” His father told his servant, “Carry him to his mother.”
(20) So he picked him up and took him to his mother. The child sat on her lap until noon and then died. (21) Then she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut him in, and left. (22) She summoned her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, so I can hurry to the man of God and then come back.”
(23) But he said, “Why go to him today? It’s neither New Moon or Sabbath.”
She replied, “Everything is all right.”
(24) Then she saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Hurry, don’t slow the pace for me unless I tell you.” (25) So she set out and went to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When the man of God saw her at a distance, he said to his attendant Gehazi, “Look, there’s the Shunammite woman. (26) Run out to meet her and ask, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your son all right?'”
And she answered, “Everything’s all right.”
(27) When she came up to the man of God at the mountain, she clung to his feet. Gehazi came to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone–she is in severe anguish, and the LORD has hidden it from me. He hasn’t told me.”
(28) Then she said, “Did I ask my lord for a son? Didn’t I say, ‘Do not deceive me?'” (29) So Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your mantle under your belt, take my staff with you, and go. If you meet anyone, don’t stop to greet him, and if a man greets you, don’t answer him. Then place my staff on the boy’s face.”
(30) The boy’s mother said to Elisha, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.
(31) Gehazi went ahead of them and placed the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or sign of life, so he went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy didn’t wake up.”
(32) When Elisha got to the house, he discovered the boy lying dead on his bed. (33) So he went in, closed the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the LORD. (34) Then he went up and lay on the boy: he put mouth to mouth, eye to eye, hand to hand. While he bent down over him, the boy’s flesh became warm. (35) Elisha got up, went into the house, and paced back and forth.”
I can’t tell you what was going on here for sure, but having been in far less extreme circumstances but needing our Lord to move, this could have been an expression of worry OR it could have been an eagerness to hear the word of the Lord.
Up to this point we have no notion that the Lord had said much… if anything to him. For a prophet that is unnerving, to go into something blind since “sight is the norm” for a prophet.
“Then he went up and bent down over him again. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. (36) Elisha called Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite woman.”
He called her and she came. Then Elisha said, “Pick up your son.”
(37) She came, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; she picked up her son and left.”
The Student becomes the teacher
“(38) When Elisha returned to Gilgal, there was a famine in the land. The sons of the prophets were sitting at his feet. He said to his attendant, “Put on the large pot and make stew for the sons of the prophets.”
I told you last week that it was most likely that Elijah had a school of sorts at Gilgal and the 50+ prophets there were his proteges. The way the 50 responded to Elisha both before and after the departure of Elijah both seemed to help solidify this possibility.
Now, we see these same prophets of Gilgal, sitting before Elisha!
This again points to a structured school – not one like we would recognize in modern America, but much more like those of the founding colonies.
When we get to chapter 6 we will see that they all lived under one roof, which would have been a sizable structure to be sure!
The words “sit before” do not make it completely certain that they were under his tutorage, but when taken together with all the other evidence it certainly tilts the scale in that direction!
The use of the words “Sons of” in the phrase “sons of the prophets”, refers to membership in a group or class and does not imply a family relationship.
This is one of many difficult passages in scripture that many do not necessarily see as difficult.
In my view, if you have a community of prophets… led by one as close to God as Elisha, you would think one of them would have discerned beforehand that these gourds were going to be picked or at least that they had made there way into the pot before someone ate from it.
To me, this is a bit of a mystery.
The only thing I can extract from it is the need to pray over your food BEFORE you eat it, is and has always been a rather good idea. Also, to seek God in ALL things, both big and small is wisdom itself (acknowledge Him in all our ways – Prov. 3:6).
Unlike what many think, these were not dark and unenlightened times. It is very likely that these men would never have taken a gourd for food in the first place, much less one they did not know what it was and eat it unless times were lean.
The presence of the famine may be key here. These prophets, though possessing spiritual discernment beyond the normal person, could have their eyes and ears dulled of seeing and hearing if their stomachs were speaking loud enough!
This reminds me of the encouragement of Romans 8:5 & Galatians 5:16, to set our minds on the things of the spirit and we will not follow after the desires of the flesh.
“(39) One went out to the field to gather herbs and found a wild vine from which he gathered as many wild gourds as his garment would hold. Then he came back and cut them up into the pot of stew, but they were unaware of what they were.
(40) They served some for the men to eat, but when they ate the stew they cried out, “There’s death in the pot, man of God!” And they were unable to eat it.
(41) Then Elisha said, “Get some meal.” He threw it into the pot and said, “Serve it for the people to eat.” And there was nothing bad in the pot.”
“(42) A man from Baal-shalishah came to the man of God with his sack full of 20 loaves of barley bread from the first bread of the harvest. Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
“(43) But Elisha’s attendant asked, “What? Am I to set 20 loaves before 100 men?” “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said, “for this is what the LORD says: ‘They will eat, and they will have some left over.'” (44) So he gave it to them, and as the LORD had promised, they ate and had some left over.”
See I told you! What events in Jesus’ life happened that practically mirrored this event in every way?
Mark 8:14-21, “(14) They had forgotten to take bread and had only one loaf with them in the boat. (15) Then He commanded them: “Watch out! Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” (16) They were discussing among themselves that they did not have any bread. (17) Aware of this, He said to them, “Why are you discussing that you do not have any bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Is your heart hardened? (18) Do you have eyes, and not see, and do you have ears, and not hear? And do you not remember? (19) When I broke the five loaves for the 5,000, how many baskets full of pieces of bread did you collect?” “Twelve,” they told Him. (20) “When I broke the seven loaves for the 4,000, how many large baskets full of pieces of bread did you collect?” “Seven,” they said. (21) And He said to them, “Don’t you understand yet?”
Jesus was teaching two things here. To beware of false teachings AND that food is NOT something the righteous should be worried about. Seeking first God’s kingdom and right standing in it is our business. Provision is His!
After feeding one of those multitudes, they tracked down Jesus the following day hoping for more food and to witness another miracle. They were hungry, but not for God. After chastising them for their unbelief and business with worldly affairs and concerns they asked Him “what are the works God would have us to do?” and He answered, “believe in the One He sent – THIS is the work of God.”
God and Judge of the WHOLE EARTH
Lesson: Though God is PRIMARILY concerned with His people, and that is His primary focus on earth, He is also God of the whole earth and is not limited to just those of the house of Israel.
We begin chapter 5 with a Syrian named Naaman, who was a commander of Aram. God had blessed him. It does not tell us why, though if his later actions are any indicator, he may be somewhat like Lydia (Acts 16) or Cornelius (Acts 10) from the New Testament who were both worshippers of God as best and they understood how, but did not yet know God for Who He really was. Because of the sincerity of their worship God met them, revealed Himself to them and they came into the Kingdom. Perhaps this was the “behind the scenes” story of Naaman as well.
For reference, Aram (Syris) was in one way or another a descendant of Shem – possibly from the same family line as Abraham but that is a little ambiguous.
“(1) Naaman, commander of the army for the king of Aram, was a great man in his master’s sight and highly regarded because through him, the LORD had given victory to Aram.”
“The man was a brave warrior, but he had a skin disease.
(2) Aram had gone on raids and brought back from the land of Israel a young girl who served Naaman’s wife.
(3) She said to her mistress, “If only my master would go to the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his skin disease.”
(4) So Naaman went and told his master what the girl from the land of Israel had said. (5) Therefore, the king of Aram said, “Go and I will send a letter with you to the king of Israel.”
So he went and took with him 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold, and 10 changes of clothes. (6) He brought the letter to the king of Israel, and it read:
When this letter comes to you, note that I have sent you my servant Naaman for you to cure him of his skin disease.
(7) When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and asked, “Am I God, killing and giving life that this man expects me to cure a man of his skin disease? Think it over and you will see that he is only picking a fight with me.”
(8) When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel tore his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.”
God seeks to cure hearts, not just bodies
I say this, because Namaan was clearly a decent man, but he had a deadly pride about him from which God in His wisdom and kindness wanted to deliver him. However, in using the phrase “God seeks to cure hearts, not just bodies” I do not want to be guilty of leading others to think the body is somehow of less importance.
Though we have often thought that way in times past, it really is not true. It is NOT a matter of importance as it is a matter or proper order and authority. Paul talks about the order of the spirit, soul and body in Corinthians and John prays that the health of the body of one of the elders of the early church would be in health which corresponded to the wellbeing of his soul. Jesus said it would be better to enter into eternal life lame or mamed than to be case whole into the lake of fire. So there is a priority that consistently runs from spirit to body, but it would be a mistake to say that the priority is one based upon intrinsic value. All of us – spirit, soul and body are the creation of God and play party to our being His image bearers. So NOTHING about the human being is less important than another or even more sacred than another. Only that priorities should be set for which parts exercise the greatest influence and wield the greatest power and authority over the other parts. This seems like a contradiction from an American point of view, but that does not make it wrong. Jesus submitted to and does submit to the Father – represented Him, spoke His words but was not intrinsically less than the Father in any way – He both did and does share equality with God. This is a VERY important lesson for the modern Christian. Without it we make all sorts of mistakes and allowances for departure from God’s word out of our misunderstanding and grasping for a significance which is already ours from creation – regardless of our status in society, our race, ethnicity or gender.
“(9) So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. (10) Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be clean.”
“(11) But Naaman got angry and left, saying, “I was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and will wave his hand over the spot and cure the skin disease. (12) Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and left in a rage.”
“(13) But his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more should you do it when he tells you, ‘Wash and be clean’?”
So here we see that Naaman’s pride had limits. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why God was able to reach the man at all. Though he felt indignant that the prophet did not honor him by greeting him personally and had told him to wash in a dirty river – he still heeded the voice of his servants who showed concern for him and challenged his reasoning.
“(14) So Naaman went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, according to the command of the man of God. Then his skin was restored and became like the skin of a small boy, and he was clean.”
Naaman desires to show gratitude – Elisha wisely refuses
“(15) Then Naaman and his whole company went back to the man of God, stood before him, and declared, “I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel. Therefore, please accept a gift from your servant.”
(16) But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives, I stand before Him. I will not accept it.”
Naaman urged him to accept it, but he refused.
(17) Naaman responded, “If not, please let two mule-loads of dirt be given to your servant, for your servant will no longer offer a burnt offering or a sacrifice to any other god but Yahweh. (18) However, in a particular matter may the LORD pardon your servant: When my master, the king of Aram, goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship and I, as his right-hand man, bow in the temple of Rimmon–when I bow in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.”
(19) So he said to him, “Go in peace.”
So we see Naaman has a good heart. He finally sees the invisible God and devotes his heart to His worship. We also see a prudent man who knows his limitations and estate and asks for allowances which are beyond his control.
Also, I told you that it was wise of Elisha to refuse the money. This is true on many levels. Perhaps the more important reason was to protect himself from being presented with temptations from other kings in the future – thinking that his services could be bought. Also, it very much reminds me of the New Testament account of the sorcerer turned believer named Simon who thought the power of the Holy Spirit could be bought with money.
Greed costs more than it gives
“After Naaman had traveled a short distance from Elisha, (20) Gehazi, the attendant of Elisha the man of God, thought: My master has let this Aramean Naaman off lightly by not accepting from him what he brought. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.
(21) So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him and asked, “Is everything all right?”
(22) Gehazi said, “It’s all right. My master has sent me to say, ‘I have just now discovered that two young men from the sons of the prophets have come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them 75 pounds of silver and two changes of clothes.'”
(23) But Naaman insisted, “Please, accept 150 pounds.” He urged Gehazi and then packed 150 pounds of silver in two bags with two changes of clothes. Naaman gave them to two of his young men who carried them ahead of Gehazi. (24) When Gehazi came to the hill, he took the gifts from them and stored them in the house. Then he dismissed the men, and they left.
(25) Gehazi came and stood by his master. “Where did you go, Gehazi?” Elisha asked him.
“Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” he replied. [He was REALLY gambling at this point]
(26) But Elisha questioned him, “Wasn’t my spirit there when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to accept money and clothes, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? (27) Therefore, Naaman’s skin disease will cling to you and your descendants forever.”
So Gehazi went out from his presence diseased–white as snow.”
The Axe Head Recovered
2Kings 6:1-33, “(1) The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision is too small for us. (2) Please let us go to the Jordan where we can each get a log and can build ourselves a place to live there.”
“Go,” he said.
(3) Then one said, “Please come with your servants.”
“I’ll come,” he answered.
(4) So he went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. (5) As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water, and he cried out: “Oh, my master, it was borrowed!”
(6) Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, the man of God cut a stick, threw it there, and made the iron float. (7) Then he said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and took it.”
Memories are short and gratitude wanes
“(8) When the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he conferred with his servants, “My camp will be at such and such a place.”
(9) But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Be careful passing by this place, for the Arameans are going down there.”
(10) Consequently, the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God had told him about. The man of God repeatedly warned the king, so the king would be on his guard.
(11) The king of Aram was enraged because of this matter, and he called his servants and demanded of them, “Tell me, which one of us is for the king of Israel?”
(12) One of his servants said, “No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom.”
(13) So the king said, “Go and see where he is, so I can send men to capture him.”
When he was told, “Elisha is in Dothan,” (14) he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city.”
There are more than one kind of blindness
“(15) When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?”
(16) Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” (17) Then Elisha prayed, “LORD, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the LORD opened the servant’s eyes. He looked and saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
(18) When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Please strike this nation with blindness.”
So He struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word.
(19) Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
(20) When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “LORD, open these men’s eyes and let them see.”
So the LORD opened their eyes. They looked and discovered they were in Samaria.”
I do not believe the scriptures are telling us that this entire army was literally blind any more than one could claim that Elisha’s servant was blind – though he prayed that God would open his eyes to see the Hosts of heaven were with them. This word blind certainly CAN mean blind, but it can also be used figuratively. That is how I believe it is used here. It would be difficult indeed to lead a group of warriors – some walking, some in chariots and some on horseback – any distance at all while totally blind. Also, why would they follow the voice of a stranger? Would there not have been panic that they were all immediately blind?
This was more than likely a blindness of mind rather than just the eye. They did not recognize Elisha nor that He was a Jew, nor perhaps any verbal clues like an accent. They simply followed him to Samaria as if they were headed to the prophet’s house.
“(21) When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? I will kill them.”
(22) Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”
(23) So he prepared a great feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master.
The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.”
King Ben-Hadad finally got what was coming to him
You might be thinking – “I thought he was dead already!” Well, he may have been because some time had passed since last we saw the Ben-hadad who had interaction with King Asa and Ahab. It may be helpful to know that Ben-Hadad was likely a title like Caesar. The appalachian Ben-Hadad means “son of Hadad.” Hadad or Adad was the god of storm and thunder. Like in Egypt, it was common practice in that time period, to view kings as sons of their primary god. That is likely all there is to the name.
Also, we see this name crop up throughout the Bible – in 1 Kings 15- 20; 2 Kings 6; 8; 13; 2 Chronicles 16; Jeremiah 49 and Amos 1:4.
“(24) Some time later, King Ben-hadad of Aram brought all his military units together and marched up to besiege Samaria. (25) So there was a great famine in Samaria, and they continued the siege against it until a donkey’s head sold for 80 silver shekels, and a cup of dove’s dung sold for five silver shekels.
(26) As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, “My lord the king, help!”
(27) He answered, “If the LORD doesn’t help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor or the winepress?”
(28) Then the king asked her, “What’s the matter?”
She said, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him today. Then we will eat my son tomorrow.’ (29) So we boiled my son and ate him, and I said to her the next day, ‘Give up your son, and we will eat him,’ but she has hidden her son.”
(30) When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his clothes. Then, as he was passing by on the wall, the people saw that there was sackcloth under his clothes next to his skin. (31) He announced, “May God punish me and do so severely if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”
(32) Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a man ahead of him, but before the messenger got to him, Elisha said to the elders, “Do you see how this murderer has sent someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door to keep him out. Isn’t the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”
(33) While Elisha was still speaking with them, the messenger came down to him. Then he said, “This disaster is from the LORD. Why should I trust the LORD any longer?”
An answer for our times
2Kings 7:1-20, “(1) Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD! This is what the LORD says: ‘About this time tomorrow at the gate of Samaria, six quarts of fine meal will sell for a shekel and 12 quarts of barley will sell for a shekel.'”
(2) Then the captain, the king’s right-hand man, responded to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?”
Elisha announced, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.”
(3) Four men with skin diseases were at the entrance to the gate. They said to each other, “Why just sit here until we die? (4) If we say, ‘Let’s go into the city,’ we will die there because the famine is in the city, but if we sit here, we will also die. So now, come on. Let’s go to the Arameans’ camp. If they let us live, we will live; if they kill us, we will die.”
(5) So the diseased men got up at twilight to go to the Arameans’ camp. When they came to the camp’s edge, they discovered that there was not a single man there, (6) for the Lord had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a great army. The Arameans had said to each other, “The king of Israel must have hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to attack us.” (7) So they had gotten up and fled at twilight abandoning their tents, horses, and donkeys. The camp was intact, and they had fled for their lives.
(8) When these men came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent to eat and drink. Then they picked up the silver, gold, and clothing and went off and hid them. They came back and entered another tent, picked things up, and hid them. (9) Then they said to each other, “We’re not doing what is right. Today is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until morning light, we will be punished. Let’s go tell the king’s household.”
(10) The diseased men went and called to the city’s gatekeepers and told them, “We went to the Aramean camp and no one was there–no human sounds. There was nothing but tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents were intact.”
(11) The gatekeepers called out, and the news was reported to the king’s household. (12) So the king got up in the night and said to his servants, “Let me tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving, so they have left the camp to hide in the open country, thinking, ‘When they come out of the city, we will take them alive and go into the city.'”
(13) But one of his servants responded, “Please, let messengers take five of the horses that are left in the city. The messengers are like the whole multitude of Israelites who will die, so let’s send them and see.”
(14) The messengers took two chariots with horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army, saying, “Go and see.”
(15) So they followed them as far as the Jordan. They saw that the whole way was littered with clothes and equipment the Arameans had thrown off in their haste. The messengers returned and told the king.
(16) Then the people went out and plundered the Aramean camp. It was then that six quarts of fine meal sold for a shekel and 12 quarts of barley sold for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.
(17) The king had appointed the captain, his right-hand man, to be in charge of the gate, but the people trampled him in the gateway.
He died, just as the man of God had predicted when the king came to him. (18) When the man of God had said to the king, “About this time tomorrow 12 quarts of barley will sell for a shekel and six quarts of fine meal will sell for a shekel at the gate of Samaria,” (19) this captain had answered the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?”
Elisha had said, “You will in fact see it with your own eyes, but you won’t eat any of it.” (20) This is what happened to him: the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.”
DO NOT LIMIT GOD!!!
God’s view is not distorted or limited. He sees what we cannot see. So many lessons can be learned from the King’s servant, trust being foremost among them.
Also, just as I told you the other day -God often does not use miracles if He doesn’t have to and he practices an economy of power.
In answer to this servant – yes… in fact God COULD have opened the “windows of heaven” and poured out a blessing and saved them all – mana or quail from heaven spring to mind as possibilities. However, a miracle did happen. In the same way God caused these same people to not recognize Elisha, nor the surrounding terrain but followed him to Samaria where they could have been easy prey for the King of Israel, God caused them to “hear horses” so that they fled. God repaid the Armeanians for their desire to kill Elisha and their quick forgetfulness of God’s favor on Naaman, but causing them to lose their possessions and food rather than their lives. God effectively turned the tables for the king of Aram and the King of Israel.
One might ask – why don’t we see miracles like this today?
Well I have a few possible answers.
1 – is because we do not trust God for them.
2 – we often do not need them, since we have a history of possessing an abundance
3 – When it is necessary we DO in fact see them.
Two examples which spring to mind of many possible examples is when I was in college and a fellow student who was well supported by an affluent family net a need she did not know I had.
When Brother Andrew Van Der Bijl who became known as the God smuggler used to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain.
Early in his ministry one time Brother Andrew approached the Romanian border in his car—which was packed with illegal Bibles.
He could only hope the border guards were moving swiftly and not paying much attention, which might allow him to pass through undetected.
But just as he was hoping this, Brother Andrew saw the guards stop the car at the front of the line. He watched, in anticipation, as the vehicle’s owners were forced to take out all of the car’s contents and spread them on the ground for inspection.
Each car that followed received the same treatment, with the fourth car’s inspection lasting the longest. The guard took a full hour to sift through it, including removing hubcaps, taking the engine apart, and even removing the seats.
“Dear Lord,” Brother Andrew remembers praying, “What am I going to do?”
The story of Open Doors
As he prayed, a bold idea came to Brother Andrew. “I know that no amount of cleverness on my part can get me through this border search. Dare I ask for a miracle? Let me take some of the Bibles out and leave them in the open where they will be seen.”
Putting the Bibles out in the open would truly be depending on God, rather than his own intelligence, he thought. So when the guards ushered Andrew forward, he did just this. “I handed him my papers and started to get out. But his knee was against the door, holding it closed.”
And then, the almost unbelievable happened.
The guard looked at Brother Andrew’s passport and abruptly waved him on. “Surely thirty seconds had not passed,” he remembers.
Brother Andrew started the engine and began pulling away, all the while wondering if he was supposed to pull over so the car could be taken apart and examined. “I coasted forward, my foot poised above the brake. Nothing happened. I looked out the rear mirror. The guard was waving the next car to a stop, indicating to the driver that he had to get out.”
God had cleared the way for Brother Andrew to smuggle the Bible to Christians who had no access to God’s Word.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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