I promise to fill you in on how I’m finishing Black Music History Units with the kids. Been putting it off for awhile now but I want to share something I learned today.
This evening, I took part in a bible study over Zoom with some people I met through Instagram. It was nice to meet new people. The topic they focused on was spiritual warfare, what it is, how can we get through it and why it’s important we recognize that it’s a legit thing.
Usually when I think of spiritual warfare I think of the bible passage in Ephesians 6: 10-18. But tonight the leader led us to a different passage I haven’t read yet about Elisha in 2 Kings 6:8-22.
There’s a war happening and the Syrians are preparing an ambush against Israel. Elisha is a prophet who- from what I understand- is like the understudy of Elijah, another prophet before he was taken up to heaven. Elisha is really tight with the King of Israel (KoI) and tells him about the ambush. KoI tells the people and they are ready for them. It doesn’t sound like there was a massive battle when they got there but I think the King of Syria (KoS) really thought he had the KoI duped. So when the village was ready for them, he was so pooped.
So KoS says to his army, “Hey! Which one of you has been tipping off KoI?” And the guys are like, “None of us. Elisha, the prophet, knows what you say in the privacy of your room.”
KoS is super pissed about this and decides to kidnap Elisha. His men find out Elisha is in the city of Dothan and they surround it. Elisha’s servant wakes up the next day to see they are trapped. He’s like, “We’re doomed!!! What are we going to do?!?!?!”
Elisha’s like, “Don’t panic. We’ve got more people on our side than they do on theirs.” The servant didn’t understand so Elisha prayed that God would open his eyes. God did and the servant saw the entire hillside covered with chariots of fire and horses!
The Syrians couldn’t see them either so they began their attack. Elisha prayed God would blind them. He did. Elisha, keeping his identity a secret, says to the blind Syrian army, “You’re going the wrong way. I’ll take you to the man you are looking for. You’re in the wrong city.”
Elisha leads them to Samaria where the King of Israel was. He asks God to open their eyes and find out they were led straight into the hands of their enemy, the Israelites. The king sees them and wants to know if he should kill them. Which, I can’t tell if he’s asking that out of respect for God and Elisha or because he’s hesitant and doesn’t want to kill them. The reason I say that is because Elisha says, “Nah. You couldn’t kill men you captured in battle. Give them some food and drink and let them go back to their king.” So KoI prepares this massive feast, feeds his enemies and sends them home. The Syrians didn’t try raiding Israel again.
There are a couple of things I take away from this story:
1. God is working behind the scenes, even if I’m the servant who can’t see the full picture.
2. Mercy triumphs over hate. You can win a long-standing battle by extending mercy.
3. I admire Elisha’s faith and trust in God. His confidence that God will deliver him and protect him. He wasn’t afraid of what he was facing.
4. You can be merciful but clever and strategic in how you deal with your enemies. Prayer is key in defending against attacks and moving forward to push the intimidation back.
5. Sometimes your enemies are stuck in a bind; it’s their job to do what their king tells them to, too. It doesn’t excuse the sin but it does help humanize them and in turn, empathize and feed them.
What are some of your takeaways?