“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16 NIV)
Conflict is an integral theme in the record of the Kings. The kings of Israel are in conflict against the men of God. The people of Israel are in conflict against neighbouring nations.
The sixth chapter of 2 Kings highlights the degree of both conflicts.
Arameans vs Elisha
The Arameans had been an ongoing challenge to the northern Kingdom of Israel. The conflict had its ebbs and flows, on this occasion, however the Arameans looked to up the ante in the conflict and were being frustrated. Not by being out fought, but by being out-thought. Every strategic move they were looking to take was being thwarted. Their innermost secret movements were disclosed and countered. Such is the blessing of having the man of God with you, he can receive insight that no one else should have access to even in the most secret recesses of the mind.
Their response to the revelation that one man was making the difference was to target the man. They didn’t go in half-hearted either. As Elisha’s servant woke up in the morning, he saw they were surrounded. Understandably, he was rather anxious about this development. Elisha was not. He too saw that they were surrounded. What he saw, however, was not what his servant saw and Elisha asked God to let his servant get a look at the bigger picture.
It never fails to amuse and amaze me how easy it is for me and us to fail to see the bigger picture. Thank God for His ability to open our eyes to see what He sees and rest assured in His ability to blind even the mightiest armies so they can be recipients of mercy.
The King vs Elisha
The King’s behaviour from one episode to the next is typical of his casual allegiance to God. When Elisha brings the troops of the enemy he is ready to strike and do anything Elisha instructs him to do. When the enemy comes to put Samaria under siege that cripples the city to the point of infanticide for food, he is quick to blame the very man who had given him victory previously.
Beware of fair-weather friends and fickle acquaintances. They too won’t see what you see in times of adversity. That should be all the more cause for you to see who surrounds you even when it looks ominous.
The chapter ends on a cliffhanger, but it is the setup for God to do great things. Even in ominous cliffhangers of life, they may just be a setup for Him to show Himself strong. Be encouraged – you are surrounded.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden