Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Elisha continued...
Elisha was called upon to follow and serve Elijah, and he did so faithfully until it was his turn to take up the mantle of the one he served and be the mouthpiece of God for that time.
God called Elisha not from an Ivy League school, not from the most renowned of seminaries, not from some monastery up in the crevices of a mountainside, but from the field where he worked as a plowman.
If God calls you, God will equip you. If God equips you, then you have all the necessary tools to perform the task and duty to which you have been called. It’s that simple. Men complicate it.
Formally educated Elisha was not, but he was a man of prayer who had God’s ear, and who saw the power of God time and again due to his obedience.
Since Elisha was a man of prayer it was difficult to choose just one of his prayers for our discussion, but I finally settled upon one which stands out to me due to its implications.
The king of Syria was bent on war. He had gone from the planning stages to actually dispatching his soldiers, and hoping to set a trap for the army of Israel. He had taken counsel with his generals, sought out the most advantageous terrain, and all that was left was the battle itself wherein the king of Syria was certain victory would be his.
One eventuality the king of Syria did not prepare for was that Israel’s army simply wouldn’t show up where he had expected them to. Israel’s army wasn’t where the king of Syria expected it to be not because it was delayed, or because the march took longer than expected, but because they had been forewarned of the snare prepared for them.
Understandably the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because the only conclusion he could come to was that he had a traitor in his inner circle…one who had breathed the plans of his attack to his sworn enemy.
2 Kings 6:11, “Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, ‘Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?’”
The only logical conclusion the king of Syria could come to, was that one of his own was a spy. How else could Israel have known of his plans? How else could the army of Israel have known not to be where they were supposed to be, and where an ambush was waiting for them?
Because the king of Syria neither knew nor understood the God of Israel, or that God had prophets in the land, it came as a total surprise to him when one of his subordinates informed him that Elisha the prophet was to blame for the failure of his armies to engage the Israelites.
2 Kings 6:12, “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.’”
With the advent of listening devices, microphones and other apparatus, the notion that someone could be relating what you speak in your bedroom to another ought not to come as such a surprise. To anyone of Elisha’s time it would have been the greatest of shock.
Due to our technologically advanced generation, certain extraordinary events within the word of God escape us. We reason things out based on the world we live in and not the world that was, and so, having Elisha tell the king of Israel the words the king of Syria spoke in his bedroom doesn’t seem like that great of an accomplishment. Since in this case the contextualization of the time does matter, the king of Syria was so disturbed by the notion that Elisha knew what he said in his own bedroom, he sent men to get him.
2 Kings 6:13-14, “So he said, ‘Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.’ And it was told him, saying, ‘Surely he is in Dothan.’ Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.”
The first obvious question at this juncture is why didn’t God warn Elisha about the Syrian king’s plans as He had warned him in the past, and thus avoid the entire drama to begin with?
Why does God – in certain instances – warn us of impending trouble so we might avert, avoid, or otherwise sidestep it, and why does He sometimes allow us to go through it?
The short answer, although few today want to hear it, is for His glory!
God allows us to go through trials, afflictions, and yes, even tribulations for His glory. As we will see by the end of this moment in time, if Elisha had not stayed where he was, and if the Syrian army had not surrounded Dothan as they did, the glory of God would not have been made manifest, and the name of the God of Israel would not have been magnified throughout the nations.
Although we can run ourselves ragged trying to figure out God’s mind and understand certain seasons in our lives, it is far easier and far wiser to trust in His omnipotence, and know He has a reason and a purpose for all He does and all He allows.
No, we might not see how a certain setback, hardship, ailment or even loss might bring glory to His name, but we trust He does, and whether later in this life, or in the life to come, it will be made clear to us as well. We will one day see the plan of God in its entirety, and praise His name evermore for His faithfulness and holiness.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.