2 Ki 6:1 The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us.

2 Ki 6:2 Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live.” And he said, “Go.”

2 Ki 6:3 Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied.

2 Ki 6:4 And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees.

2 Ki 6:5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh, my lord,” he cried out, “it was borrowed!”

2 Ki 6:6 The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float.

2 Ki 6:7 “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.

2 Kings 6:8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

Where is God when I'm afraid?

Text: 2 Kings 6:8-23

“Wake up, Master, wake up!”  Poor Gehazi had never been so frightened in his life.

“What’s the matter, my servant?” said the man of God sleepily.

“We’re surrounded!  The Arameans have come to kill us!”

“Yes, I know.”

You see, the Arameans kept trying to ambush Israel.  The trouble for them was, Elisha always knew where where they were, and so the Israelites could avoid them.  The Arameans got fed up with this in the end, and that is why a whole army of them had surrounded Dothan, where Elisha and his servant were staying.

Elisha says to him, ‘Don’t panic.  There are more on our side than are against us’

Then came a double miracle.

First, his servant looked around and saw that they were being protected by a vast army of angels.

Second, Elisha’s enemies became completely confused.  Elisha marched out to meet them an announced, ‘The man you’re looking for doesn’t live here.  I’ll show you where he lives.’  And he led them right into his home town of Samaria.  Then their confusion was lifted and they realised where they were – and they were trapped.  The Israelites could have killed them there and then.  But Elisha said, ‘No.  Give them a meal, and then send them home.  They’ll never bother us again.’  And they didn’t.  Cf. Prov 25:21/Rom 12:20, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Have you ever been afraid – of things, of people, of what might happen?

We may not have Elisha’s miraculous gifts.  But we can all be Elishas when it comes to helping each other when we’re afraid.  Notice what Elisha did:-

1.  A word of reassurance.  ‘Don’t be afraid.’  I love the ‘Fear nots’ of the Bible don’t you?  Luk 2:10, ‘”Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”‘  5:10, ‘Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”‘

2.  A word of instruction.  ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’  See also 2 Chron 32:7f; Psa 3:6; 27:1-3; 34:7.  Do you realise that this is precisely true for us as Christians?  Rom 8:31, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’  That passage is very important, because it assures us that although God may not always chose to deliver us from the things we fear, he does promise to be with us in them.

3.  A word of prayer.  ‘O Lord, open his eyes so that he may see.’  Eph 1:18f,  ‘I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.’

The king of Aram was at war with Israel – The hostilities consisted of border raids. Although Elisha did not respect wicked King Jehoram, 3:13-14, he was concerned to protect the people of Israel.

2 Ki 6:9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.”

2 Kings 6:10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

Time and time again Elisha warned the king – although the king was less included to heed the prophet’s warnings about his own sin and ungodliness. But it this not typical? -People are keen enough to listen to God’s word when it suits them, but not when it rebukes them.

2 Ki 6:11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

2 Ki 6:12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

2 Kings 6:13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.”

The king of Aram realised that he needed to put an end to Elisha. So the prophet himself became the object of his attack.

2 Kings 6:14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

The king sent an entire army in order the capture Elisha.

2 Kings 6:15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Oh, my lord what shall we do?” – When the servant saw this mighty army surrounding them, he thought that their end had come. Which are we more like – the fearful servant or the trusting prophet (see next verse)?

2 Kings 6:16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Note Elisha’s threefold response to the anxiety of the servant: (a) a word of reassurance, “Don’t be afraid;” (b) a word of instruction, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” See 2 Chron 32:7-8 Ps 3:6 27:1-3. Do we realise that this is precisely true for us? See Rom 8:31.

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, “Oh LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

The last part of Elisha’s response to his servant: (c) a word of prayer, “Oh Lord, open his eyes.”

Horses and chariots of fire – A vast angelic army. Cf Ps 34:7.

2 Kings 6:18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

There was a double miracle: the eyes of the servant were opened, so that he could see the surrounding angelic host, and those of the surrounding army were blinded, so that they could not recognise where they were.

2 Kings 6:19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

“I will lead you to the man…” – Elisha appears to utter an untruth here. Some commentators, however, seek to excuse the prophet by saying that Elisha did not live in Dotham, but in Samaria, and so he is indeed leading them to his own home town. Accordingly, Elisha’s words are not an untruth, as his real home was Samaria; and so he led them to himself, not to harm them, but to repay evil with good.

2 Kings 6:20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

There they were, inside Samaria – which was Israel’s captial. Presumably they would have been outnumbered inside the town.

2 Kings 6:21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

“Shall I kill them, my father?” – The king recognises that the authority of the prophet is greater than his own.

2 Kings 6:22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.”

This passage illustrates the power which God has over his enemies through his servants. But on this occasion they are spared, for God does not delight in punishment, but in mercy.

2 Kings 6:23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

The bands…stopped raiding Israel’s territory – Having been defeated with kindness, cf Rom 12:20-21 Pr 25:21-22 Mt 5:43-45.

2 Ki 6:24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.

2 Ki 6:25 There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.

2 Ki 6:26 As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

2 Ki 6:27 The king replied, “If the LORD does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?”

2 Ki 6:28 Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’

2 Ki 6:29 So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

2 Ki 6:30 When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and there, underneath, he had sackcloth on his body.

2 Ki 6:31 He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”

2 Ki 6:32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?”

2 Ki 6:33 While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him. And the king said, “This disaster is from the LORD. Why should I wait for the LORD any longer?”