2 Kings 6:2 Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.
Elisha’s disciples wanted to build a meeting place near the Jordan River. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. Oh no, my lord! he cried out. It was borrowed! (2 Kings 6:5). Elisha threw a stick near the place where the axhead fell, and it floated to the surface. It was an amazing recovery.
This miracle violates the laws of nature, but that is what miracles do. It was no more difficult for God to make the axhead rise in the water, than for Jesus Christ to walk on the water (John 6:16-24). Violating the laws of nature is not a problem for God, since he created the laws of nature. He can pause them whenever he likes.
2 Kings 6:8 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, I will set up my camp in such and such a place.
But every time he set up his camp, the prophet Elisha informed the king of Israel where the king of Aram was staying. The king of Aram thought one of his officers might be an enemy spy, but then he learned the problem was Elisha. So during the night, the king of Aram sent his soldiers to surround the town where Elisha was staying. The next morning, Elisha’s servant saw the town was surrounded, and he feared for his life.
2 Kings 6:16 Don’t be afraid, the prophet answered. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.
Elisha prayed that his servant’s eyes would be opened. Then his servant saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17). Elisha was not afraid of the enemy soldiers, because he saw the heavenly soldiers. There is a vast spiritual realm to which we are normally blind.
Angelic armies gave courage to Elisha, and also to Jesus Christ, at the time of his arrest. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53), he asked. A Roman legion could be as many as six thousand soldiers, so Jesus was claiming access to over seventy-two thousand angels.
Not only that, but angels watch over believers as well. Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14), asks Hebrews. God can protect us himself, of course, but he also likes to use angels. Whenever we are afraid, we can ask God to send angels to watch over us.
2 Kings 6:18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, Strike this army with blindness. So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Then Elisha led them to the King of Israel, who suggested killing them. But Elisha told the king to give them food instead. So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory (2 Kings 6:23).
This was a strange way to settle a war, but it worked. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink (Romans 12:20), wrote Paul. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27), said Jesus. If you show kindness to your enemies, they will find it harder to oppose you.
2 Kings 6:24 Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.
The capital city of Israel was under siege, and the famine was causing so much hunger that people were eating their children. The God of Elisha did miracles in the past, but where was he now? May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha . . . remains on his shoulders today! (2 Kings 6:31), said the king.
Widespread hunger was making the king angry at God. But since God was out of reach, he directed his anger at God’s servant. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God (Romans 8:7), wrote Paul. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you (John 15:20), said Jesus. We should not be surprised when God’s enemies lash out at his people.
2 Kings 6:32 Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him.
Israel’s king arrived with an officer ready to remove Elisha’s head. But the prophet’s life was spared because Elisha predicted relief the following day. When the officer doubted the prophet’s word, Elisha said, You will see it with your own eyes . . . but you will not eat any of it! (2 Kings 7:2).
The following morning, four Israelite men decided to surrender. But when they got to the enemy’s camp, they found it completely abandoned. God caused the Arameans to hear the sound of horses and chariots the previous night. They assumed Israel had hired foreign armies, so they ran for their lives, and left their supplies behind.
When word got back to the city, the people ran out, and found more than enough for everyone. The king’s officer saw it with his eyes, but he was trampled to death by the people. The prophet’s word to the officer was fulfilled, despite his unbelief.
Christians can also be prone to unbelief even when reading the Bible. How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! (Luke 24:25), said Jesus. No one ever had greater confidence in the Bible than Jesus Christ (Luke 16:17), and we should be like him.
Christians believe the Bible, in all its parts, because that is what Jesus believed. Whoever does not believe the Bible, in all its parts, thinks they know better than Jesus. Anyone who leads us away from the Bible, leads us away from Christ. Doubting the Bible is never wise; according to Christ it is foolish.
2 Kings 9:6 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anoint you king over the Lord’s people Israel.
Elisha sent a young prophet to anoint Jehu as the new king of Israel. Almost at once, Jehu sought to eliminate Baal worship from the nation. He pretended to host a sacrifice to Baal, and summoned every prophet, priest and servant of Baal to attend. When they crowded into Baal’s temple, Jehu commanded his guards to kill them, and not one escaped. The temple was then torn down, and became a public toilet. The Lord said to Jehu . . . you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes (2 Kings 10:30).
God’s approval of this event reveals his hatred of idolatry. Since God is our Maker (Psalm 95:6), and our sustainer (Acts 17:25), he alone is to be worshipped. This is made clear in the first commandment. You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).
A man donated his classic motorcycle to a church that was having a rummage sale. When someone asked Why? he said, I really loved that motorcycle. I just wanted God to know that I love him more. Whoever loves God above all, is free from the sin of idolatry.
Reflection and Review
If God can take care of us himself, why does he use angels?
Are unbelievers neutral toward God?
Why is it foolish not to believe the Bible?