2 Kings 6

Even though Elisha the prophet had been a blessing to one of the most powerful men in Syria (Naaman, see chapter 5), that nation was a constant threat and aggravation to Israel. This chapter and the next tell about two occasions when the king of Syria attacked Israel, and both times the Lord worked through Elisha to defend His people.

Elisha the prophet was a national figure who was known by kings, but he also maintained a personal ministry to a small group of younger prophets. He apparently spent a great deal of time with these men, teaching and mentoring them so that future generations of Israelites would have men of God to serve them. Apparently the “school of the prophets” was growing because they found it necessary to build a new place to live and meet (a new dormitory?). As they were cutting timber on the banks of the Jordan River for the new construction, one of the students lost the head of a borrowed axe in the deep, murky river water. In an amazing display of the power of God, Elisha made the axe head float! The student was able to recover it, save face with the owner of the axe, and continue his work.

The next section of this chapter records a bigger, grander display of divine power, but this more private, smaller-scale miracle of floating iron is here to remind us that God cares about the details of our daily lives. He is certainly capable of great and mighty things, but He is concerned about the little things that concern us. God is in control of kings and nations and armies, but He delights in reversing our failures and fixing our messes.

The king of Syria and his army were attempting to conduct raids in Israel, but they could not get any traction in their operations. The king of Israel knew their every move! The Syrian king reasoned that one of his men must be a spy, feeding information to the enemy. But the truth was that God told Elisha his every move, and Elisha passed the word along to his king. When the Syrians figured this out, the entire army went to capture the prophet, surrounding the city where he was staying during the night. Early the next morning Elisha’s young servant went outside and was understandably alarmed to see that the Syrian army, with its intimidating horses and charioteers, had them trapped. The servant told Elisha, and the prophet’s reply is classic: “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v.16). The servant was unaware that the Lord had sent a vast angelic army to protect Elisha. Not until the Lord “opened his eyes” (spiritually) did the young man see the fiery chariots of heaven’s forces. Through the eyes of faith, we can see that God is working in ways that go beyond reason. Ask Him to open your eyes to see past the circumstances of your life and into the spiritual realm where He is fighting for you and providing for you.

In a scene that is quite humorous to me, the Lord blinded the entire Syrian army as they began to attack and allowed Elisha to lead them into Samaria (capital of Israel’s northern kingdom). When their blindness was lifted, they looked around to find themselves standing before the king of Israel! The Lord had defeated the enemy; Israel didn’t even need to fight.

That same God will fight your battles, too. Put your trust in Him today, open your eyes, and watch Him work in unexpected ways to protect you and lead you to victory. Don’t be afraid, for those who are with you are more than those who are against you! As Chris Tomlin sings:

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side!
The One who reigns forever
He is a Friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side!