Read 161.) II Kings 6:8 thru 7:20. Three readings back, we met the great prophet Elisha, and noted some 12 different miracles this action prophet of the Lord had performed. With this reading, we learn of his gift of prophecy, as God gives him insight into matters pertaining to the immediate future of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the incredible deliverance God is going to work for it; even though they were so unfaithful unto the Lord, and most undeserving of His mercy. Aram had risen up against Israel, but Elisha is able to tell King Joram of Aram’s every move. This king of Aram determines to take Elisha captive, and learns that he is in Dothan. The Aram force, come to claim Elisha, is struck with a blindness from the Lord, and Elisha leads them right into the capital city of Samaria, to King Joram. The captives are well-cared for and sent back to their king, and Aram decided it would be best to just leave Israel alone.
Beginning with 6:24, however, Ben-Hadad of Aram returns with all his army, and the situation becomes most dire. Laying siege to Samaria, the capital city of Israel, the inhabitants resorted to cannibalism, some eating their own children! Joram, though appearing to humble himself before God, determines to kill Elisha himself. What comes next defies belief, as Elisha prophesies by the Lord that the very next day, all Israel would be delivered of the siege, and their physical relief would be complete. What happened was a great terror from the Lord came upon Ben-Hadad’s army, and they fled back to where they had come from, leaving all their goods behind; enough to satisfy all the lack of Samaria in a single day! One particular official of King Joram’s, who had expressed disbelief before Elisha, only the day before, was trampled to death in the city gate, just as Elisha had prophesied unto him.
God was reaching out to the 10 northern tribes of the Kingdom of Israel, but they did not turn back to Him. Since it is likely in the 840’s BC, He is only going to remain gracious unto them for about 120 more years. Just because we do not see the ‘payday’ come today, we can be sure of this; it’s ‘payday’ someday! Don’t test the patience of the Lord. Turn to Him while He is dealing graciously and lovingly toward you. From Romans 2:4, the Apostle Paul explains that the purpose of God, in being so gracious before bringing crushing judgment, is to give time and to make room for people to repent toward Him. So often, the foolish and the wicked think it means that God does not see or does not care. Don’t impose upon the good grace of God, repent while He gives you every opportunity to do so! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell