- 2 Chron. 21:18
- 2 Kings 6:8-23; 8:3-6; 5:1-27; 6:24-7:20
Today's reading contains multiple miracles that GOD performed through the prophet Elisha. For today's devotional we will consider two of them.
Chariots of Fire
The king of Aram [Syria] was at war with Israel, but when he would send forces to a location, GOD would reveal it to Elisha who would inform the king of Israel, and they knew Syria's plans before they were even carried out. The Syrian king grew frustrated and called in his officers to question which of them was on the side of Israel. And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” (2 Kings 6:12) So the king sent an army of horses and chariots to the city of Dothan where Elisha was staying. The army surrounded the city by night.
And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:15-18 NKJV)
Elisha ended up leading the enemy's force to the king of Israel in Samaria, where Elisha prayed for their sight to be restored. Afterward the king of Israel fed them (at Elisha's instruction) and sent them home. Because of this the Syrian raiders stopped raiding the Israelite land.
There are times in life when we feel alone, outnumbered by our enemies. During these times we need to recall this story and pray that GOD will open our eyes so we can see, by faith, that He is with us and that the reality is that we outnumber our enemies because the hosts of heaven are on our side.
Naaman is Healed
Naaman was the commander of the Syrian army. He was a great soldier and GOD had given him victory in his battles. However, he became sick with leprosy—a terrible skin disease that was very contagious. A young Israelite servant girl who had been captured during one of the Syrian raids in Israel suggested that Naaman go see the prophet Elisha in Israel. Naaman went to the Syrian king and gained approval, so he took supplies and gifts and went to the king of Israel to request help. The king was distraught at Naaman's arrival and he tore his robes because he feared it was a trap.
Elisha heard about Naaman's arrival before the king, so he sent word to the king to have Naaman come see him. Naaman went to Elisha's house, and Elisha sent a messenger out to him to tell him to go dip in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed. This made Naaman very angry. Naaman said:
“Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.
So Naaman said, “Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD. Yet in this thing may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD please pardon your servant in this thing.” Then he said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him a short distance.
(2 Kings 5:11b-19 NKJV)
At first Naaman was angry because he didn't like the way GOD answered his plea for help. He thought GOD would have healed him in a different way—perhaps one that required nothing of him—and his pride prevented him from obeying. Thankfully Naaman's servant spoke sense into him and convinced him to do this small thing to receive healing, and Naaman humbled himself and obeyed. But GOD is so infintely wise! Look at what happened.
When Naaman went on his way to the Jordan River, that took him some time...time to think about his condition and how he hoped that this would work. Perhaps he thought of how he couldn't see his family again if this didn't work, because he couldn't risk infecting them with the highly-contagious disease. And when he obeyed, his heart was clearly touched by GOD's work. This was all Naaman needed to convert from idolatry to serving the True and Living GOD. I hope Naaman kept his promise to serve GOD from now on. I bet he did, because he saw GOD's compassion firsthand.
The same is true of you and me. We are sick, highly-contagious sinners under the sentence of death. But we've heard that there is a cure—a Man who can save us, Jesus Christ. We don't know at first, but seeing our lost condition we try. We come to Him for help. We must come in faithful obedience in order to receive GOD's blessing of healing from our sins, and our journey to and from the cross is what makes our life story unique. Praise GOD for His word, His provision, His healing and His salvation!