Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Praying for you, your family, your community and the rest of the world. Right now, the whole world is suffering because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Let’s pray together to God, Our Ever-Loving Father, His mercy and protection on all, and God’s healing on those who are infected by the Coronavirus. We all believe God’s grace and love rest on all who look upon Him every moment with faith in Him.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night. (Psalm 121:1-6)
We know Naaman, the king of Aram’s commander and a leaper, was healed by the Prophet, Elisha. Initially, he refused to wash himself in the Jordon River, but later he changed his mind by listening to his own subordinate’s suggestion. He humbled himself, and stopped his troop. Then he took off his massive and impressive armors, and let them down before his own troop. He walked down to the river, which looked much worse than all rivers in his own country. It was much smaller than he liked, and it did not look clean either. The Jordan River was not inviting for bathing.
Additionally, countlessly many eyes of his own troop carefully followed him. He felt this, of course. He concerned. If the river did not heal him, it would be the most stupid thing that he ever did in front of his own armies. He listened to his own officers, and the servant of Elisha. Yes, the idea of bathing in the Jordan River was not given by the Elisha himself but his young servant. Receiving such a request through a young servant was a humiliation. The risk was really high, but Naaman, for this time, he humbled before the almost foolish request to heal his leprosy. He walked and walked down to the river. He felt it was miles although it was a few steps from his horse to the edge of the river. Again, he walked in humility with one hope of curing his terrible disease, leprosy. However, there was one more observer: God. God saw his humility. Our merciful God heard his humble desire deeply rooted in his own contrite heart. Then Naaman dunked himself in the Jordan River. He bathed himself in the Jordan River in faith. God heard him, saw his faith and eliminated his illness from his body. He was completely cured and his body was renewed like a baby’s body. This is what God did to Naaman, although he was not one of the Israelites. Then how much more so to His own beloved people like us by our God? Our God is merciful and compassionate.
However, it did not take long before the king of Aram decided to war with Israel using another commander instead of Naaman. The king of Aram saw the miracle of curing his own commander, Naaman, but his heart was hardened. He was greedy. He wanted to have more and more, and his greed led him to another war with Israel.
With his officers, he made a careful plan to invade Israel. To support his planning activity, he sent spies. They brought the latest information about Israel, and he made a detailed map of Israel. He used the latest map, and he made a war plan. As making his war plan, he was getting confident. He felt that he would completely conquer Israel, and capture the king of Israel for this time. His goal was to make Israel as a part of his own country, which would make him even stronger. He hanged the map on the wall in his quarter. Whenever he looked at the map annotated with his own war plan, he was so happy. Following day, he assembled his armies. They were like sand on beach filling the entire land. He was fully satisfied and he knew he was ready. To make sure his plan really work without any resistance from Israel, he kept his plan secret. Nobody except the high rank officers involved in the war planning knew the plan. Then he set D-day to invade Israel.
One day prior to the D-day, he ordered his officers to assemble the armies to make them ready for the D-day. His officers reported back that all of his armies were ready by the evening. He went to bed happily. Early on the following morning, he led his armies and invaded Israel. He expected that Israel armies were disarrayed by his surprise attack. Then it would be an easy job to destroy the entire Israel armies. However, he could not find even one single Israel solider. The king of Aram and his armies were alone in the middle of the land of Israel. He realized that the Israel armies had already moved out of the place as soon as his armies was mobilized to invade Israel. The king of Aram was puzzled. He could not understand why such thing had happened. He called in his generals and the spies sent to Israel, and no one could tell why no Israel solider was there. There supposedly were the entire Israel armies camped at the place, and their surprise attack should have had destroyed the entire Israel armies. What a bummer!
The king of Aram was upset because nobody could answer why that happened. Then the king ordered a thorough investigation. A few days later, he was received a news about Elisha, the one who healed Naaman. The same Elisha told his invasion to the king of Israel! He was told as follows:
‘As soon as his armies were mobilized, Elisha, the man of God, warned the king of Israel, “Do not go near that place, for the Arameans are planning to mobilize their armies there.” So the king of Israel sent word to the place indicated by the man of God.’
Thus, the king of Aram made another secret attack plan. For this time, he only called very few generals whom he completely trusted. He kept his plan truly secret. He did not posted his new attack plan on the wall as he did last time. Nobody knew expect him and very few generals. Then he called his armies and mobilized them at the place that he secretly planned. Surely for this time, he expected to see the Israel armies who were completely confused under his surprise attack. Again he was wrong. Nobody was at the place except his own armies. It was a real shock to him. He could not believe his own eyes. He could do nothing except returning his armies to his base camp. While returning, he carefully reviewed what had happened and examined his generals one by one in his heart, who were involved in this secret plan.
Following day, he called for meeting for a new super-secret war plan. For this time, he really reduced down the number of generals. He secretly completed his super-secret plan with very few hand-selected generals. Then he mobilized his armies to destroy the Israel armies. He was wrong again. He could not find even one single Israel soldier. He had to return to his base camp empty-handed. The king of Aram became very upset over this. He called the generals and demanded,
“Which of you is the traitor? Who has been informing the king of Israel of my plans?” (2 Kings 6:11b)
The king of Aram even threatened his generals. The general offers could not be silent anymore.
“It’s not us, my lord the king,” one of the officers replied. “Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!” (2 Kings 6:12)
Then the king became silent. He reviewed what had happened recently. It made sense what was told. He kept all things as super-secrets, and he only worked with his truly trusted officers. But his plan was somehow known to the king of Israel. He also remembered the supernatural power of Elisha who healed Naaman. He continued pondering what to do. His officers were standing and watching him. It took while before lifting up his eyes. He looked at the most capable general among them.
“Go and find out where he is,” the king commanded, “so I can send armies to seize him.” (2 Kings 6:13)
The general immediately moved out of the king’s quarter, and he sent spies to find out where Elisha was. It didn’t take even one day because Elisha was a well-known prophet among the Israel people. One spy came back, and reported, Elisha is at Dothan.” He reported to back to the king of Aram.
Upon hearing the report, the king of Aram gave an order to the general to capture Elisha. He also gave great armies of warriors, many chariots and horses. They were numerous enough to surround the entire city of Dothan. The Aramean general with the great armies of soldiers, many chariots and horses marched to the city of Dothan. Then he completely surrounded the whole city of Dothan. After making his formation, he ordered completely block the city so that nobody can escape. Then he checked out whether Elisha was still in the city. To his surprise, Elisha still remained in the city. The Aramean general informed to the king of Aram, and the king of Aram felt good. Finally he could get to a closure of the mystery. It was a matter of time to capture Elisha. Without Elisha, the king of Israel would be nothing. Then he could easily subdue the entire Israel armies, and he could capture the king of Israel and the land of Israel also. He was so happy. The general and the armies camped outside the city of Dothan, which gave a gleaning smile on the king’s face.
When the servant of the man of God got up early the next morning and went outside, there were Aramean armies, horses, and chariots everywhere.
“Oh, sir, what will we do now?” (2 Kings 6:15b)
The young man ran into and cried out to Elisha.
“Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” (2 Kings 6:16)
The Elisha’s servant could not understand what was told by Elisha. He was trembling in fear of the Aram armies surrounding the whole city, but Elisha was calm and confident. Elisha calmly answered, but the servant could not understand. The servant looked at Elisha in fear and confusion. Elisha looked so confident. The Elisha’s eyes did not focus on the countlessly many Aramean armies surrounding the city. Instead Elisha lifted up and fixed eyes on Heaven. What a difference between the Elisha’s servant and Elisha! The servant looked at things on earth, and he was in fear due to the enemy armies surrounding the city, but Elisha calmly and confidently looked up Heaven instead. Yes, the mighty Aramean armies was reality, which was not undeniable. It was the crushing fact to the servant putting him in fear, but it was only half of the fact. There was an even bigger reality than what the servant saw.
Then Elisha prayed,
“O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” (2 Kings 6:17b)
The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with God’s angels, horses and chariots of fire. In fat, the heavenly armies outnumbered the Aramean armies. The servant dropped his jaw while seeing the mighty heavenly armies. There were much more powerful heavenly armies than the Aramean armies, who looked mightiest on earth. The servant finally saw and understood, and believed.
As the Aramean army advanced toward him, Elisha prayed,
“O LORD, please make them blind.” (2 Kings 6:18b)
So, God, the LORD, struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked. God heard Elisha’s prayer, and the Elisha’s servant saw what God did before his own eyes. Then Elisha went out and told them, “You have come the wrong way! This isn’t the right city! Follow me, and I will take you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to the city of Samaria.
As soon as they had entered Samaria, Elisha prayed,
“O LORD, now open their eyes and let them see.” (2 King 6:20b)
So the LORD opened their eyes, and they discovered that they were in the middle of Samaria, which was not Dothan where Elisha was. It was a fortified city, and the Aramean commander and his armies realized that they were surrounded by the king of Israel and his armies surrounded. They initially came to capture Elisha and defeat the Israel armies, but they became captives of the king of Israel.
This was done by one person’s faith. Without any doubts, Elisha prayed before the mighty enemies. His servant saw the same enemies, and was in fear of the enemies. Elisha was different, and through the eyes of faith, he was able to see the heavenly forces. God heard Elisha prayers, who was faithful to God although he was the extreme situation being surrounded by much stronger enemy than the Israel’s armies.
When we meet our difficulties in our lives, it is really easy to be like the Elisha’s servant, who fixed his eyes on the earthly problems, not like the Elisha who fixed his eyes on heaven and saw God’s hand. We don’t say earthly problems are not real. Yes, they are real, but we should remember that the heaven’s armies outnumber our problems. Sure, it is true that by own might, we cannot overcome those earthly problems constantly coming at us. Of course, they are stronger than us as the Aramean armies were stronger than the Israel armies. However, when the Elisha servant’s eyes were opened, he could see the mighty heavenly armies surrounding the Aramean armies, which were mightier than the Aramean armies. How about us? Do we see the earthly enemies surrounding us or the heavenly armies outnumber the enemies? Elisha saw the heavenly armies, and he was calm and confident in faith.
Jesus told to his disciples when he was being arrested by the soldiers unfairly and unjustly. Jesus saw His disciples resisting against his arrest. Unfortunately, His disciples did not understand why Jesus had to be arrested. Of course, we know why. It had to be happened for us. Jesus came for this – being arrested and crucified on cross in order to forgive all our sins. He was the perfect sacrifice for all. He trusted all things to God, and He willingly became the Lamb of God to fulfill the glorious salvation plan. At that time, the disciples saw the earthly things – the soldiers arresting Jesus their teacher and master. Jesus was powerlessly arrested, and they knew persecutions would come to them. They acted upon what they saw without being able to see what was really happening. Jesus lovingly looked at His own disciples struggling with the earthly fears, and He asked:
Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)
Each legion consisted of about 4,500 men at that time. Then what Jesus literally meant was 54,000 angels to call. Please think about reasonably. How many soldiers were at the scene to arrest Jesus? At most tens perhaps. The disciples did not see this true reality. Only saw Jesus both tens of the soldiers arresting Him and the 54,000 angels being prepared in Heaven for Jesus. If we see both like Jesus, how would we respond at the scene of arresting of Jesus?
Elisha saw both the heavenly forces of angels completely outnumbered the Aramean armies. Then let’s ask ourselves today. What should we see when we are surrounded by our enemies? The enemies that are countlessly many and are about to shallow the entirely of us or the same twelve legions of angels prepared for Jesus by God, Our Ever-Loving Father?
Here is the rest of the story about the Aramean armies who became captives of the Israel king and his armies.
When the king of Israel saw them, he shouted to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?”
“Of course not!” Elisha replied. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.” (2 Kings 6:22)
So the king made a great feast for them and then sent them home to their master. After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel.
Elisha was generous to the enemy, although they were hostile to him, the king of Israel, and the people Israel. God loves our generosity to all around us including our enemies. When we get blessings from God, we should be generous to all and especially to our enemies so that we can heap burning coals on our enemy’s head.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you. (Proverbs 25:12-22)
After all, we are His people and nation, whom God dearly loves. He surely takes care of us and all our needs. He gave all protections that we need. Remember that God is always ready to send the twelve legions of angels. This is the promise of Our God, the Ever-Loving Father, and this promise will be never changed. Praise Him and His name will be forever praised! Thus, we can and will be courageous on each moment of our lives because we can win over all things with faith in Him. Yes, we are His beloved children, and His love will be with us both now and forevermore!
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8)