When The Lord God Almighty Guards Your Country, No Harm Shall Befall It
13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 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 no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that 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.
18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”
22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
When faced with an army of your enemy, many would be intimidated. The prophet Elisha’s servant certainly was when he woke up one morning and saw the entire city surrounded with chariots of the nation that had declared war on Israel. He was intimidated to the point where he began to experience great fear.
When we are faced with what appears to be overwhelming odds, we also have a tendency to experience fear ourselves. The Bible tells us over three hundred and sixty-five times – enough for one every day of the year – that we should not fear. We have been told by God that there is nothing to fear, for He is sovereign. Yet our physical eyes may try to deceive us, and Satan, the enemy of our souls, would try to instill fear and panic within us.
When we experience fear, we begin to act irrationally. We see imaged threats that aren’t even real. And we conflate the importance of the threats that are right in front of us. In this case, the servant of Elisha the prophet saw no way out, and only saw himself and his master as being able to stand against this massive gathering of enemy troops.
But God protects His people. Most of God’s people do not have the ability to peer into the spiritual realm. If they did, they would see just how protected they are from the enemy. Elisha, the prophet of God, prayed to God that his servant’s eyes would be opened to see what he could see, and God honored that prayer and did so. When He opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant, he saw the most amazing sight – the hills were filled with chariots of fire being pulled by horses. Immediately, this calmed down his heart, because his faith had become sight.
…These aren’t the droids you are looking for… – Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi
In what would seem to the world to be a stunning turn of events, Elisha the prophet prays and asks God to strike the enemy blind. The Sovereign Lord God Almighty immediately answers his prayers, and the enemy is struck blind. Although this in and of itself is amazing, but what happens next is even more amazing.
Remember that the enemy arrived at night. They were camped out around the city. They could clearly see the city, and the road that they came in on – the sun was out. Scripture says that it was early in the morning (this began around 6:00 AM, as the fourth watch of the night was from 3:00 AM to 6:00 AM). They were now struck blind. That certainly would have unnerved them. But it was what happened next that was most amazing and interesting. Elisha tells the men that they are on the wrong road, and this is the wrong city. He would lead them to the man that they were looking for. They didn’t bat an eye! Scripture doesn’t record that they even told Elisha why they were there! Elisha appears to just walk up to them and tell them they are in the wrong place, and he’ll lead them to man.
In Elisha’s defense, he didn’t lie. Elisha wanted to reveal himself to them in Samaria, so they technically were in the wrong city. And Elisha did lead them to the right man – himself! And, being blind (a rather incapacitating handicap at this point), they blindly followed Elisha to Samaria (no pun intended).
Arriving in Samaria, in the land of the king of Israel, Elisha the prophet of God prayed that God would open the eyes of the men that were blinded. Now, the group of chariots that were arriving would have been both seen and heard from at a great distance from the city of Samaria. The king of Israel would surely have placed watchmen in distant areas to warn of any pending invasion by the king of Aram, as they were at war. When news of the prophet of God leading an army of the king’s enemies towards Samaria, the king of Israel would have surely called all men to arms, and had them line up around the army as it approached.
Upon seeing the vast army in front of him, the king of Israel asked the prophet of God for permission to destroy it. Elisha forbade the king from doing so, pointing out that it was improper for the king to kill those whom he had captured in war. Elisha instead commands the king to feed them and provide them with drinks. The prophet of God showed the love of God towards his enemies, and the king did more than what was required. A great feast was thrown by the king for the army, and then they were sent back to Aram.
When the king of Aram had heard what had happened, he realized that the land of the king of Israel was sovereignly protected by The Lord God Almighty. And when the Lord God Almighty guards your nations’ borders, no enemy that comes against us will be able to have any success in overtaking the land.
We would be well-advised by this historical record to seek the providential protection of the Lord God Almighty rather than trying to protect the land in our own strength with only our own intelligence, plans, weapons, and strategies:
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the Lord.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: When I am in trouble, where do I turn first?
A short prayer of preparation
Father in Heaven, You have said that You would never leave me nor forsake me. Give me comfort in that promise when my enemies surround me and threaten me with death and torture. Give me strength that day to know what to say, and to speak boldly about You in the day of threat. Grant me peace in my spirit, and help me to remember the protection that You provide. For all that is required to wipe out an entire city is just one angel given authority to do so. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.