Thursday, January 4, 2018

Year 8, Day 4: 2 Kings 6

Theological Commentary: Click Here

No good deed goes unpunished.  That’s my main takeaway from this chapter, although certainly there are other lessons to learn.

The king of Syria wants to attack and punish Israel.  He continues to send soldiers against the king of Israel, but God uses Elisha to warn the king.  Israel’s fighting force and its king were saved several times through Elisha’s influence.

Finally, the king of Syria learns that it is Elisha’s influence.  Ben-hadad, the king of Syria, does what any rational leader would do.  Ben-hadad goes after Elisha.  After all, if Elisha is removed from the picture, he might have an easier time disposing of the king of Israel.

He encircles the city in which Elisha is staying.  His forces far outnumber those of the city.  The battle looks doomed with one exception.  Elisha sees what nobody else does.  Elisha can see warriors of the Lord.

When the warriors of Syria attack, Elisha does something surprising.  Elisha asks them to be struck with blindness.  He doesn’t ask for their death; he asks for their blindness!  Furthermore, Elisha leads them into the presence of the king of Israel and then tells the king to spare their lives, feed them, and send them on their way!  This is an insanely generous act from one who was hated by the very people that he seeks to save!  If we learn nothing else, we can learn that God’s generosity and the generosity of His servants knows no boundary.  In fact, it often is surprising!

Now we get to the place where we say that no good deed goes unpunished.  How does the king of Syria respond?  The king of Syria gathers a large force and lays siege to the capitol of Israel.  For all his grace and mercy, Ben-hadad responds with fury, wrath, and treachery.  There is no appreciation for the generosity that Elisha showed him.  He can only think about his own agenda and how much he desires to lay waste to Israel. 

This is another lesson to learn.  There are people who see the grace of God and respond.  There are others who experience the grace of God and continue to focus on their own agenda.  We can’t predict how it will result, which is why we focus on grace.  Elisha is gracious, not because he knows how the king will respond, but because he wants to give Ben-hadad an opportunity to do so.