Lord Open His Eyes….Elijah 26

 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. ( 2 Kings 6:8-12)

We turn now to a very public series of miracles in which the King of Israel was given deliverance as long as he hearkened to the Prophet of God, in his dealings with the enemy, Syria.

The Syrians had been launching raids and setting up ambushes against the King of Israel, but were foiled because Elisha could see, and relayed the location of the Syrian, to the point where the King of Syria thought he had a traitor in his midst. “No King, the Israelites don’t have a spy among us, they have something better, a Prophet”, replied one of the King’s advisors.

And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan.

 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha ( 2 Kings 6:13-17)

The Syrians set up a siege around Dothan, to trap and imprison Elisha. When his servant looked out over the city walls, He saw a vast military camp with horses, chariots and troops, intent on seizing Elisha. But Elisha stayed cool, calm and collected. The prophet knew that there was an expeditionary force sent to arrest Him, and thus was not at all surprised when he and his servant awoke to the danger.

But Elisha could also see what no one else could see, other than through the eye of faith. “Lord I pray thee, open His eyes, that he may see…” . When the servant’s eyes were opened he saw, that surrounding the mighty Syrian army, was an even greater heavenly army, of fiery chariots, horses and an Angelic army.

The Angel of the LORD encamps around them, who fear him,, and deliverers them...” (Psalm 34)

Do not fear little children, you have already over come them, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” ( I John 4)

In Ephesians, Paul prayed that the “eyes of our understanding would be enlightened…”.

All of these realities were there all along, but unseen until Elisha prayed for the servant that his eyes would be opened. God is an ever present deliverer and defender of his people.

 And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. And it came to pass, when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see. And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and, behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.( 2 Kings 6: 18-20)

The first clause of this sentence should read “When they (Elisha and his servant) came down to it (the camp of the Syrians)… Elisha descended from the hill city of Dothan and walked right into the Syrian war camp, in the knowledge of the heavenly help afforded him.

He smote them with blindness…not total blindness, but Blinding… in other words the Syrians could see, but were unable to know who it was that they were seeing . Elisha then offered to lead the Syrian army, to the man whom they sought, and took them ( 4 hours march) to the city of Samaria, the capital city of Israel, and the home of King Joram. When Elisha prayed that the LORD open the Syrian’s eyes, they realized that they were in Samaria and at the mercy of King Joram.

And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite them? shall I smite them?And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master. And he prepared great provision for them: and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. So the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel. ( 2 Kings 6:21-23)

How refreshing to see an Israelitish King following a prophet of God, and even calling him “My Father…” . Yet King Joram needs his eyes opened as well as the servant of Elisha, and the Syrians. This is a story about the opening of eyes to see, or the darkening of eyes to not be able too see, all mediated through God’s prophet.

Should Joram now kill the Syrian raiding army? Of course not, would he kill prisoners of war, if he had caught them in battle? Are these Syrian his captives? Can he do with them as He pleases, or are they God’s captives?

How should enemies be treated? How was Naaman the Syrian treated? He was baptized into the Kingdom of God and healed!

What about this invading army, now helpless and like putty in the hands of the Prophet? They were set out to capture him, but instead He captured them, ( in the name of God, of course).

Make them a feast, feed them and send them back to Ben Hadad as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. “If your enemy is hungry, feed Him…” .

Alfred Eidersheim summarizes well the many lessons in this precious gem of a story;

 We do not wonder to read that after this marauding bands of Syrians no longer made incursions into the land. But to us all there are many lessons here: not only of the unseen, but certain presence of our God and of His help; of rebuke to our groundless fears, and encouragement to go forward; but also as concerning the enemies of the people of God and our dealing with them. How often when they have surrounded Dothan, and deemed themselves certain of achieving their purpose, have they seemed blinded, and found themselves in the midst of Samaria. How many times have arguments and measures, which were thought certain of success against the truth or the people of God, ended in quite the opposite result. And lastly, should we not learn to deal with those whom not our own power, but God, has made helpless captives, not as if they were our personal enemies, but generously, while faithfully, although in meekness, instructing those who oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:25)? For, as harsh or self-asserting bearing on the part of those who may defend the truth of God would tend to injure that cause, probably more than anything else, so assuredly would it be palpably and painfully incongruous. And yet – the LORD reigneth, and He will take care of His own work. ( Eidersheim, Alfred Old Testament History)

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