Elisha and the Syrians (2020)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
(2 Kings 6-7) I. The name Elisha means “God is salvation.” The power of God to help and save is emphasized in this prophet's life and ministry. A. He was a prophet in Israel during a time of general darkness and apostasy. B. He was the successor to the great prophet Elijah, whose translation Elisha had witnessed. 2KI 2:9-15. C. Some of his dealings with Syrians were for their benefit, a fact about which the Lord Jesus Christ reminded His generation. 2KI 5 c/w LUK 4:27. D. But Elisha was first and foremost a prophet to Israel, and their cup of iniquity was not yet full. Thus, antagonistic forces should beware. JER 2:3 c/w LUK 13:6-9. II. 2KI 6:8-12. A. The king of Syria's battle plans were constantly thwarted. God delights in tethering and frustrating the wicked and their devices. PSA 76:10; MAT 21:46. B. The king of Israel was quick to heed the warnings of Elisha and thus avert danger. 1. He was not nearly so quick to heed the warnings about his sins which Elisha gave him. 2. King Joram is like many who are attentive and diligent to the saving of their skin or substance, but not so to the saving of their souls. III. 2KI 6:13-18. A. The king of Syria thought to spy out Elisha to capture him, as if the same Spirit which informed Elisha against him would now let the prophet be taken by surprise. 1. Those who fight against God, His man or His church delude themselves into the most ridiculous pursuits. 2. Under self-imposed delusion, such fools are as ridiculous as the idolater. ROM 1:21-23 c/w ISA 44:19-20. 3. Do not expect the adversary to give up testing you or tempting you though you have overcome him in the past. B. Elisha's servant was distraught at the sight of the army of the Syrians which seemed so invincible. v. 15. 1. Elisha, however, was not afraid and thus comforted his brother who was weak in faith (vs. 16-17). This is our duty. ROM 15:1. 2. Elisha knew that numbers and impressive displays of force mean nothing when God is on one's side. v. 16 c/w DEU 20:1; 2CH 32:7-8; 1CO 10:13. 3. Elisha told the servant not to fear. Neither should we fear the terror that discomfits us to overcome us. PHIL 1:27-28; 1PE 3:14; 5:8-9. 4. The problem with the servant is that he viewed things through the eye of man rather than the eye of faith. 2CO 5:7. C. Elisha prayed and the servants eyes were opened to an awesome spectacle. v. 17. 1. The horses and chariots of fire were the angels of God set for the defence of the faithful. PSA 68:17; HEB 1:7. 2. God's angels stand for His people. HEB 1:14; PSA 91:11-12. 3. It took only one angel to eliminate 185,000 Assyrians (2KI 19:35). So how much havoc could this multitude have done? 4. We do well to desire the eyes of our understanding to be opened to stave off fears and temptations. “The clearer sight we have of the sovereignty and power of heaven the less we shall fear the calamities of this earth.” (Matthew Henry) COL 1:9-11; 2PE 1:2. D. Elisha then prayed for blindness to be imposed upon the troublers. The same God Who opens the eyes of them that fear Him also blinds the eyes of those who do not. ISA 59:10; JOH 9:39. IV. 2KI 6:19-23. A. Elisha clearly deceived the Syrians in leading them to Samaria, the capital city of Israel. There are times when godly deception is justified. JOS 2:4-6 c/w HEB 11:31. 1. God is willing to “...bring the blind by a way that they knew not...” (ISA 42:16). 2. Elisha’s intent was to bring them to himself on his terms, not theirs. 3. Saul was “seeking” Christ to destroy Him, but Christ had other plans for Saul: plans of mercy. ACT 9:8-9; 1TI 1:13. B. Elisha's way of dealing with enemies goes contrary to the intent of the king and our human nature, but it is a pattern for us to follow. v. 23 c/w ROM 12:20-21. C. How many, like these Syrians, wander through this life in the darkness of ignorance, blinded to the truth until God opens their eyes to their hapless condition? 1. The threat of the Law and the realization of their sin convicts and condemns them. ROM 7:7-10. 2. But in their most vulnerable condition, the gospel gives mercy. 1TI 1:14-15. 3. As for these Syrians, so shall it be for God's unbelieving elect among Israel in the day of Christ. His word to them in that day shall be one of mercy. ROM 11:25-30. V. 2KI 6:24-33. A. In time, the Syrians returned and laid siege to Samaria, reducing it to desperation. At times like this, money/currency is of very little value compared to commodity. v. 25. B. The unspeakable happened at this time in the cooking and consumption of a child for survival. vs. 26-29. 1. Moses had warned that sin would bring such horrors upon Israel. DEU 28:53-57. 2. This is the loss of natural affection and it attends perilous times of rebellion and selfishness. 2TI 3:1-3. 3. What those women did out of desperation, sinful women do today out of a sick sense of belly-worship to desperately secure consequence-free sex. PHIL 3:19. 4. We may thank God that His affection is not so fickle. ISA 49:15. C. Curiously, the civil authority blamed the righteous for all the trouble in the nation. v. 31. VI. 2KI 7:1-20. A. Elisha prophesied of a dramatic turn of events, but a peer of Israel mocked and would not believe. vs. 1-2. 1. His fate would be the same as the unbelievers who left Egypt. HEB 3:19. 2. The Hebrew Christians of the 1st C. dared not cleave to Jerusalem, Judea nor their earthly comforts. LUK 21:20-22. B. God had not yet forsaken Samaria utterly. He turned His curses on Israel back on the wicked Syrians (vs. 3-7 c/w LEV 26:36) whose goods then benefitted Israel. PRO 13:22. C. Learn from the four lepers. When faced with no “good” choices, choose the less “bad” choice (while pleading God’s mercy). D. Samaria was spared. God still had a righteous remnant therein for whose sake He did forbear. GEN 18:32 ct/w JER 5:1.