Wednesday, September 28, 2011

God's Sovereign Protection of Israel: 2 Kings 6, 7

Joram of Israel was a king of the northern Kin...Image via Wikipedia
Israel today is a country surviving in the midst of a hostile world.  Her immediate neighbors wish fervently to completely eradicate her while her strongest supporter, the United States, has become tepid and lukewarm.  Although the general populace of America strongly supports Israel,  Washington seeks either Arab approbation or simply Israel's demise.  At any rate, the current administration has distanced itself from Israel.   With the Palestinian bid for statehood being considered by the UN, Israel must feel even more threatened.

But, none of this is really news.

From Israel's inception, the peoples surrounding this fledging nation have sought her destruction.  Around 875 BC, the prophet Elisha who ministered to the Northern Kingdom (of Israel), was able to warn Joram, king of Israel, of where the Arameans (modern day Syrians) were planning to attack Israel. (2 Kings 6)
Supernaturally, God protected His people, Israel even though they had turned from Him and violated their covenant relationship with God.  God informed Elisha of the Aramean encampments so that King Joram would not suffer any surprise attacks.

Eventually, when Ben-Hadad, the Aramean king, learned that Elisha the prophet had supernatural access to his military plans, he decided to capture Elisha.  I would suspect that even though Elisha probably knew that Ben-Hadad was coming after him, he chose to stay put in Dothan because he trusted in his Sovereign God to protect him.  In 2 Kings 6: 15-23, Elisha stepped out of his house in the morning to see a a mighty contingency of Aramean soldiers, horses, and chariots.

2 Kings 6: 15- 17  When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.  "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered.  "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And, Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Elisha saw with spiritual eyes into the spiritual realm and knew that God was going to protect him.  There was nothing to fear.  And, even thought his servant couldn't see the army of the living God, he would still have been protected by God.  While it's reassuring to actually see God's protective forces around you, we can't always see into the spiritual realm.  But, we can read God's Word and trust Him to keep His Word; to honor the covenant He initiated and ratified.

Genesis 17:19 Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.  I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."

Psalm 121:4 Behold, He that keepeth Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man that He should lie; nor a son of man that He should change His mind.  Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? 

Even though the nations turn from Israel today; even though the United States is distancing herself from Israel, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised to be ever the same.  God selected a family and made a nation out of it.  True, as any loving father on occasion must discipline his child, God has, on occasion, disciplined Israel .  Discipline is not rejection but correction which should serve to bring a wayward child back into his father's loving arms.  While a child may resent discipline, a parent never ceases to love his child and to yearn for his company.

In 2 Kings, after Elisha recognized God's army which greatly outnumbered the Aramean army, he prayed that God would strike the Aramean army with blindness so that he could lead them into the capitol city of Samaria.  These troops were not killed - rather, the king of Israel feted them and then sent them back to Aram.  Here, God showed the Arameans that Israel's national security relied neither on military force nor strategy.  God demonstrated that He Himself was Israel's protector.  

While there was peace for a little while,  Ben-Hadad returned with his forces around 850 BC and besieged Samaria.  Even though Israel starved during this siege, ultimately God caused the Arameans to be struck with such a great fear that they suddenly abandoned their camp and all of their goods and hastily fled as though being pursued.  Thus, God lifted the siege and fed His people Israel.  

The most important take away point from this account is to remember that God fights for Israel.  Nothing has changed. Israel must pray and strive to remember that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is Sovereign over Creation: time, space, life, everything.

L'Shana Tova

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