April 23, 2007
II Kings 6-8
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- And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
- 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.
- And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
- So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
- 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.
- 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.
- Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- And it came to pass after this, that Ben-hadad king of Syria gathered all his host, and went up, and besieged Samaria.
- 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.
- And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, Help, my lord, O king.
- And he said, If the LORD do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
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- Then Elisha said, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the LORD, To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.
- Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
- And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die?
- If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.
- And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there.
- For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.
- Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.
- And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment, and went and hid it; and came again, and entered into another tent, and carried thence also, and went and hid it.
- Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household.
- So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were.
- And he called the porters; and they told it to the king's house within.
- And the king arose in the night, and said unto his servants, I will now shew you what the Syrians have done to us. They know that we be hungry; therefore are they gone out of the camp to hide themselves in the field, saying, When they come out of the city, we shall catch them alive, and get into the city.
- And one of his servants answered and said, Let some take, I pray thee, five of the horses that remain, which are left in the city, (behold, they are as all the multitude of Israel that are left in it: behold, I say, they are even as all the multitude of the Israelites that are consumed:) and let us send and see.
- They took therefore two chariot horses; and the king sent after the host of the Syrians, saying, Go and see.
- And they went after them unto Jordan: and, lo, all the way was full of garments and vessels, which the Syrians had cast away in their haste. And the messengers returned, and told the king.
- And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.
- And the king appointed the lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.
- And it came to pass as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be to morrow about this time in the gate of Samaria:
- And that lord answered the man of God, and said, Now, behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, might such a thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
- And so it fell out unto him: for the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died.
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- Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.
- And the woman arose, and did after the saying of the man of God: and she went with her household, and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years.
- And it came to pass at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines: and she went forth to cry unto the king for her house and for her land.
- And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done.
- And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life.
- And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.
- And Elisha came to Damascus; and Ben-hadad the king of Syria was sick; and it was told him, saying, The man of God is come hither.
- And the king said unto Hazael, Take a present in thine hand, and go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?
- So Hazael went to meet him, and took a present with him, even of every good thing of Damascus, forty camels' burden, and came and stood before him, and said, Thy son Ben-hadad king of Syria hath sent me to thee, saying, Shall I recover of this disease?
- And Elisha said unto him, Go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the LORD hath shewed me that he shall surely die.
- And he settled his countenance stedfastly, until he was ashamed: and the man of God wept.
- And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.
- And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria.
- So he departed from Elisha, and came to his master; who said to him, What said Elisha to thee? And he answered, He told me that thou shouldest surely recover.
- And it came to pass on the morrow, that he took a thick cloth, and dipped it in water, and spread it on his face, so that he died: and Hazael reigned in his stead.
- And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign.
- Thirty and two years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem.
- And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wife: and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.
- Yet the LORD would not destroy Judah for David his servant's sake, as he promised him to give him alway a light, and to his children.
- In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah, and made a king over themselves.
- So Joram went over to Zair, and all the chariots with him: and he rose by night, and smote the Edomites which compassed him about, and the captains of the chariots: and the people fled into their tents.
- Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time.
- And the rest of the acts of Joram, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
- And Joram slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
- In the twelfth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel did Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah begin to reign.
- Two and twenty years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign; and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Athaliah, the daughter of Omri king of Israel.
- And he walked in the way of the house of Ahab, and did evil in the sight of the LORD, as did the house of Ahab: for he was the son-in-law of the house of Ahab.
- And he went with Joram the son of Ahab to the war against Hazael king of Syria in Ramoth-gilead; and the Syrians wounded Joram.
- And king Joram went back to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him at Ramah, when he fought against Hazael king of Syria. And Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Joram the son of Ahab in Jezreel, because he was sick.
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Thought for the day:
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II Kings 6 reveals the protecting hand of God upon His children. Israel was being besieged by Syria. The king of Syria expressly wanted to get his hands on Elijah, because he had heard that Elijah knew exactly what was going on in the Syrian headquarters because God was revealing it to him. The king's advisors don't understand how it is happening, but they know that there is something about Elisha that makes him different than everybody else. There is a lesson here - people who did not know Elisha, and were the enemies of Elisha, still knew that Elisha was a special man. I wonder if our co-workers, neighbors, and unsaved relatives look at us and say,
"There's something about that man that makes him different than the others."
Do we have the reputation of walking with God, and do people believe that we have the answers of the Bible for the situations that they face? Or are we simply one of the crowd; no different than anyone else in spite of our salvation?
The king of Syria sent his men to surround the city of Samaria. When Elisha's servant saw the multitude around about the city with their horses and chariots he was filled with fear. Elisha had words of comfort for him:
"Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." I would imagine that the servant was somewhat skeptical of Elisha's words, for he certainly could not see anyone who could provide them with military assistance. Elisha prayed, and asked God to open the eyes of his servant, and when He did the servant saw that the entire mountain was filled with angelic horses and chariots of fire that were prepared to defend Elisha.
God wants to protect His servants.
"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident... For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock."
Perhaps David was anticipating such a time as Elisha was facing. When the hosts of the enemy surround us, and there seems to be nothing that we can do, the Lord will provide for us.
In today's reading we also see several supernatural instances of God's protection. In
6:18-20, we see God smiting the Syrian soldiers with blindness, and this resulted in them allowing Elisha to guide them inside the city of Samaria. Once inside God opened their eyes. This brought about a temporary reprieve for the Israelites from Syrian invasion. In chapter seven another siege has taken place. This time the Lord sent the sound of horses and chariots which frightened the armies of Syria away. They were so fearful that they left all their supplies behind, which God used to restock the starving Israelites. If God could intervene for the Jews in a miraculous fashion, He Who is unchanging can intervene for us in the same way. I don't know what circumstances you may be facing today, but I know that God can bring you through it. He can remove the problem if He chooses, or simply give you the grace to bear the burden. Note that God does not always answer immediately; the economic situation in Samaria was so bad because of the siege that people were eating their own children. This did not happen overnight. Sometimes situations continue to grow worse, yet God knows what He is doing. Perhaps we are in need of chastisement. Perhaps we need to call upon Him and trust Him more. Perhaps He simply knows that this problem is what we need to be facing at this point in time. Whatever His purpose may be, we know that He cares for His children, that He protects us, and that He is acting in our spiritual best interests.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery