Wednesday, November 16, 2022

2022.11.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 6:8–23

Read 2 Kings 6:8–23

Questions from the Scripture text: Who was doing what in 2 Kings 6:8? With whom did he consult? What did he tell them? Who speaks in 2 Kings 6:9? To whom? About what does he warn him? What does the king of Israel do (2 Kings 6:10)? How does verse 10 summarize this exchange? How many times did this happen? What was troubled in 2 Kings 6:11? Whom does he call? What does he assume about one of them—what does he ask? Who answers (2 Kings 6:12)? What does he answer? What does he somehow know? What does the king now tell them to find out (2 Kings 6:13a)? Why? Where was Elisha (verse 13b)? What three things does the king send (2 Kings 6:14)? At what time? What do they do? Who does what in 2 Kings 6:15? At what time? What does he see? What does he ask Elisha? What does Elisha tell him not to do (2 Kings 6:16)? Why not? Now to whom does Elisha speak (2 Kings 6:17)? For what does he ask? What does Yahweh do? What does the young man do? What were the mountains full of (cf. 2 Kings 2:11–12, 2 Kings 13:14)? Around whom were the horses and chariots centered? Who come down in 2 Kings 6:18? To whom does Elisha speak? What does he ask for now? What does Yahweh do? According to what? Now to whom does Elisha speak (2 Kings 6:19)? What does he tell them? Where does he take them in order to “find” him? When they get there, what does Elisha pray (2 Kings 6:20)? What does Yahweh do? What do they do? What do they see? Who else sees in 2 Kings 6:21? To whom does he speak? What does he call Elisha? What does he ask? How many times? What does Elisha answer (2 Kings 6:22)? By what question does he imply why not? What does Elisha tell the king to do instead? How enthusiastically does the king respond—what does he prepare (2 Kings 6:23)? After they eat what does he do? And how do the Syrian raiding forces respond?

What is the true condition of the enemies of God and His Word? 2 Kings 6:8–23 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these sixteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that God’s enemies are always at the mercy of His wisdom and power.

The scene now shifts back to Syria where, apparently, Naaman’s miraculous healing has made Elisha widely known. But our reintroduction to Syria comes in the context of their being Israel’s enemy (2 Kings 6:8). The problem for them is that Israel are God’s people. Those who war against them are warring against Him. As we see God acting through His Word, we observe several truths about God and His enemies.

God’s enemies are always out-schemed. What good does it do to have secret councils and amass the best human advice, when your Opponent has all knowledge and acts with all wisdom? Even as we read 2 Kings 6:13, we must be shaking our heads. Doesn’t he know that God’s prophet will know of this plan and defeat it too? Part of God’s enemies’ problem is that even when they have a little knowledge (like that the prophet is giving away all the plans), God gives them over to foolishly living contrary to what they know (like making plans to get the prophet).

God’s enemies are always outnumbered. The King of Syria thought that he could tilt the numbers in their favor (2 Kings 6:14). His servant thought he had succeeded (2 Kings 6:15). But the prophet prayed, Yahweh opened his servant’s eyes, and he saw not just a force of men around a city but a mountain full of horses and chariots of fire. The implication is that these are but the logistical accoutrements of an innumerable force of spirit-being warriors.

But the legions of angels aren’t even needed to be called to action. The prophet by himself, as the mouth of God, is the chariots and horses of Israel (cf. 2 Kings 2:11–12; 2 Kings 13:14). Indeed, Elisha continues praying. Syrians’ eyes are closed with blindness. Elisha leads them to Samaria to “find” him there. Elisha prays. Syrians’ eyes are opened. One, with God, is always in the majority. You may stand alone, if you are with the Lord.

God’s enemies are under His protection. This is an odd twist. The king of Israel wants to destroy the enemy. By amazing grace, however, he recognizes the authority of God’s Word in the mouth of His prophet. He calls Elisha, “father”! In fact, the command is to feed them like a good host, and the king obliges by throwing them a great feast.  

What a strange  thing that the Syrian army would come under God’s protection! That is to say that God is their only hope for protection, whether they acknowledge Him or not. He owes them nothing, and they are liable to find themselves catastrophically destroyed at any moment. Every moment of protection they enjoy is mercifully and graciously extended to them by the God Whom they hate. We must always remember this not only about ourselves but also about our enemies. They survive only as long as the Lord wills. Here, the lesson is learned at least to the extent that whether responding to God’s all-surpassing power or to His puzzling mercy, Syrian forces no longer make raids into Israel.

What enemies do you have? What is their condition before God? How does this free you to love them?

Sample prayer: Lord, forgive us for being intimidated by our enemies, when we should know that they are outschemed and outnumbered by You. Forgive us for forgetting Your vengeance, so that we are too ready to want our own vengeance and not ready enough to love our enemies. Thank You for loving us while we were still enemies, and purchasing us as Your people through the blood of Christ, in Whose Name we pray, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP46 “God Is Our Refuge and Our Strength” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” 

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