2 Kings Chapter Six: Angels and the Prophetic. Elijah and Elisha were constantly attended by angels. In this chapter we see Elisha surrounded by a host of angels that others could not see. He single handedly takes an army captive and leads them to the king of Israel. Yet interestingly he doesn’t call for violence against this captive army but feeds them and sends them home knowing that they will shortly return and besiege the city. Elisha could see what others could not see. He knew what others did not know. He did not dismiss the eye of the Spirit that operated in him. Jesus said that the least in the kingdom was greater than John the Baptist. If Elisha can see then you can see. If he can know then you likewise can know.
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Today: [2 Kings Chapter Six]: [2Ki 6:1-33 KJV] 1 And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. 2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. 3 And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. 4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. 5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. 6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast [it] in thither; and the iron did swim. 7 Therefore said he, Take [it] up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
In this chapter we find that Elisha and Elijah’s influence on the Northern Kingdom produces an increase of prophetic spirit in the land. The sons of the prophets have always gathered together since Samuel’s time and now they wish to build a more commodious compound to live in. Their purpose is to go down to Jordan which is a fitting place for prophets to dwell because Jordan means “the going down place” which represents the place of humility. There are always many prophets in the high places but where are the prophets in the low places – the place of humility? The prophets want Elisha to accompany them which he does. This again points out that Elisha as his master Elijah with him was not produced from the schools of the prophets in that day. He was always considered separate and considered himself separate yet they sough his endorsement of this building project.
As the building is underway one of the workman loses a borrowed tool into the waters of the Jordan. Elisha cuts a stick and throws it in afterward and the axehead swims. Again we see the characteristic of the prophetic as being one of blessing and benefit. When people needed help they went to the prophets. We think of prophets and tend to think of Elijah calling down fire on the prophets of Baal but the people saw the prophets as representing as well the goodness and beneficence of God as well.
8 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. 9 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. 10 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. 11 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? 12 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. 13 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. 14 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. 15 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? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that [be] with us [are] more than they that [be] with them. 17 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.
The king of Syria again rebels and sets ambushments against the king of Israel several times. Each time Elisha sends word to the king and warns him and nothing comes of it. The king of Syria is very upset and sends men to capture Elisha. Prophets are not hard to find but they are hard to capture. Elisha is in Dothan. Dothan means “place of two wells” in fact one of these two wells is the place where Joseph’s brothers throw him in to later sell him into slavery. This speaks to me of the awareness prophets must have of the nature of relationships around them. The king of Israel is very respectful of Elisha during this time that Elisha saves his skin time and again through word of knowledge but later on this same king is not so friendly.
The servant of Elisha is frightened when he sees the host of Syrians surrounding the city to take them captive. Elisha prays that his helper would see. There is a difference between looking and seeing. Again Elisha is aware of things going at great distances in the camp of the Syrians and of unseen spiritual activity in the same location. Remember that 1 Corinthians 14:31 says that all may prophesy which means you can hear from God and see what he wants you to see and know what he wants you to know. Elisha is unfazed even though he constantly sees things going on around him many times even the activities of the enemy. Angels attend the lives of those who are called by God’s name. If many angels attended Elisha what about us? Jesus said that the least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. If many angels stood guard over Elisha how many angels then stand guard over you if in the estimation of Jesus himself you are greater than John the Baptist?
18 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. 19 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. 20 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. 21 And the king of Israel said unto Elisha, when he saw them, My father, shall I smite [them]? shall I smite [them]? 22 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. 23 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.
What do the angels do to protect Elisha? They confuse the Syrians so that they do not know that Elisha is before them. Elisha in fact presents himself to them and offers to lead them to their prey. He takes them directly into the territory of Samaria and in the guise of an ancient Sgt. York takes the whole army captive to the king of Israel. Notice the response of the king of Israel to speak in a very deferential tone to Elisha? Why? Because he fears Elisha? In fact he despises Elisha but appreciates the fact that Elisha is acting in his defense. What to do with the captives? Why feed them of course. In our modern thinking of the prophet we might expect Elisha to order the Syrians to be killed but instead he says that we should feed them and bless them and send them on their way. This is a different response than the king might have expected but he complies. This gives us another viewpoint on the words of Jesus regarding our enemies:
Matt. 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The doctors of the church tend to view the teachings of Jesus regarding our enemies to be somewhat fatalistic and pacifistic in nature. It is true that our enemies may regard us as sheep to the slaughter but that is not Jesus’ intention. Never forget that Jesus read these passages also. He was very familiar with these passages and quotes them often. Elisha instructs the kind treatment of the Syrians because he could see the host of angels round about them and was not insecure about his safety. He was advising mercy from a position of strength and not weakness. Jesus as well frequently made reference to angels and knew that he could call 10,000 angels at any time. How did he know this? Because he could see them. Today we criticize people who talk about angels too much. We hold up a hand of objection and say “don’t talk about angels – talk about Jesus” but Jesus himself referred to angels and to the protect they afford those that belong to him. You have angels round about you. You may look in the natural like Elisha’s servant and be intimidated but if you will look with the eye of the prophetic spirit your only conclusion will be “we’ve got ‘em surrounded!”. So fear not. Be kind to your enemies. Be merciful to those that hate you and create problems for you not from a position of pacifism or weakness but from a position of strength. One more point here – Elisha did not presume to know what the king of Syria was doing, he actually knew. He did not presume based on a scripture reference that angels were with him he actually saw them. Open your eyes. Tell your eyes to see and your ears to hear. Greater are they that are with you than they that are against you.
24 And it came to pass after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria. 25 And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was [sold] for fourscore [pieces] of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five [pieces] of silver. 26 And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king. 27 And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress? 28 And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him to day, and we will eat my son to morrow. 29 So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son. 30 And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and, behold, [he had] sackcloth within upon his flesh. 31 Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day. 32 But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and [the king] sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: [is] not the sound of his master’s feet behind him? 33 And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil [is] of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?
After Syria’s army goes home in shame what happened next? Did the king of Syria repent and decide not to make war on Israel? Not the case. Elisha knew that the very soldiers that they fed and treated kindly would be back to besiege the city to the point of starvation. This is why after the siege of Syria brings such atrocious conditions to Samaria that he wants to see Elisha dead. Elisha had heard from God and seen the angels of God around him. He had singlehandedly brought an army captive to the king but now the king hates him. So we see that the king of Syria and the king of Israel are in agreement on one thing: they hate Elisha and want Elisha dead. When you act in the spirit of Christ do not do so because you think it will turn the hearts of your enemies. In fact when you act in the spirit of mercy and love your enemies it will often turn your friends against you. Remember this – open your eyes. Open your ears. Listen to the plethora of information that is swirling around you by the hand of God. You will know what others do not know. You will see what others do not see. Don’t dismiss the still, small voice. Know that God is with you. Move in the Spirit of Christ not from a position of weakness but a position of strength.
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