Monday, July 10, 2017

Elisha and the Syrian army


Elisha and the Syrian army 1
Once there was a great prophet named Elisha, who lived long ago in the land of Israel. He taught the people to worship God and to obey God’s laws.
Elisha and the Syrian army 2
In his house at Dothan, Elisha often knelt to talk to the Lord and listen to His word. There he prayed that the Israelites might be protected from their fierce enemies, the Syrians.
Elisha and the Syrian army 3
or a long time Ben-Hadad, the cruel king of Syria, had been at war with the people of Israel.


Elisha and the Syrian army 4
Now he planned a surprise attack which he hoped would crush them once and for all.
Elisha and the Syrian army 5
With his mighty, well equipped army ready to fight he was sure that this time they could wipe out Israel’s army.
Elisha and the Syrian army 6
He called the captains of his army together and they carefully planned where they would camp and how they would trap the unsuspecting Israelite army.


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King Ben-Hadad warned his men that not a word must leak out. The whole success of their plan depended on secrecy, and a surprise attack.
Elisha and the Syrian army 8
While the Syrians secretly plotted, Elisha stood quietly by the window of his house. Then he called his servant, and said to him:
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‘Go at once to our king and warn him that the king of Syria is planning a surprise attack on our army.’ Elisha was able to explain just where the Syrians would be lying in wait, for God had told his prophet Elisha of the Syrian plans.


Elisha and the Syrian army 10
The young servant raced down the long, dusty road from Dothan to Samaria with the message for the king of Israel.
Elisha and the Syrian army 11
He was allowed to see the king as soon as he arrived, because the king knew Elisha was a true prophet of God. And when the servant told him about the Syrian plot, the king sent orders to the captains of his army.
Elisha and the Syrian army 12
In the meantime the Syrian army reached the place where they planned to hide. They moved cautiously as they hid among the shrubs and trees. They thought that soon the king and the army of Israel would pass close by. But they waited, and waited, and nothing happened.


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At last the captain of the Syrian army sent a messenger back to Ben-Hadad to tell him they had waited for hours without seeing a sign of the Israelite army. ‘Strange!’ Ben-Hadad muttered. So he made new plans, making doubly sure to keep them secret.
Elisha and the Syrian army 14
Again the Syrian armies hid and waited, while their scouts kept a watch on the road, but there was no cloud of dust raised by approaching horses and chariots.
Elisha and the Syrian army 15
The king was furious when their plans failed again and again. ‘There is a traitor in the camp! Which of you is giving our secrets to Israel?’ The captains cowered in fear, but then one of the soldiers remembered about Elisha and his power to work miracles.


Elisha and the Syrian army 16
‘There is a prophet in Israel named Elisha. Nothing is hid from him. Why, he knows everything that’s going on, even before it happens!’
Elisha and the Syrian army 17
Now Ben-Hadad had heard of Elisha and the God he served. He thought that if only he could take Elisha prisoner the prophet would be powerless, and they could carry out their plans. So he sent spies to the land of Samaria.
Elisha and the Syrian army 18
Finally, one of them found Elisha’s house in Dothan, and stood outside the window. Was that the old man who knew all their secrets and told them to the king of Israel? Ben-Hadad wouldn’t need an army to take him prisoner.


Elisha and the Syrian army 19
But Ben-Hadad ordered his soldiers with chariots and horses to move under the cover of darkness and capture Elisha.
Elisha and the Syrian army 20
Very early the next morning Elisha’s young servant went to the window to open the shutters and he stared in wonder at the sight that greeted his eyes.
Elisha and the Syrian army 21
A great army surrounded the city. The morning sun shone on an array of shields and spears. There were chariots and horses as far as he could see!


Elisha and the Syrian army 22
It was the enemy, the Syrian army! Could it be that this time Elisha hadn’t known they were coming?’
Elisha and the Syrian army 23
‘Help, master, what can we do?’ the young man cried. There wasn’t a chance of escape. The Syrians surrounded them, every road and gate was blocked.
Elisha and the Syrian army 24
But Elisha didn’t even look worried. He said, ‘Fear not. They that are with us are more than they have with them.’


Elisha and the Syrian army 25
The servant stared at him. What was Elisha talking about? They were just two defenceless men against a whole army!
Elisha and the Syrian army 26
Then Elisha said, ‘They have just human power, but we have the Lord our God.’ Then Elisha prayed that God would open his servant’s eyes. ‘Go and look out of the window again.’ The young man looked ...
Elisha and the Syrian army 27
The enemy was still there, but now he saw horses and chariots of fire standing ready to defend Elisha.


Elisha and the Syrian army 28
Then, fearlessly, Elisha walked into the midst of the whole Syrian army. ‘Smite them with blindness!’ he prayed. Suddenly a terrifying darkness fell upon the soldiers. They didn’t know where they were and could not see.
Elisha and the Syrian army 29
Men shouted in fear and bewilderment, their ranks breaking in panic. ‘You are going the wrong way. Follow me,’ Elisha told them quietly.
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He led them right into the city of Samaria and then he prayed that their sight might be restored. The Syrians looked around in fear and terror. They were surrounded by the menacing spears of the Israelite army!


Elisha and the Syrian army 31
Excitedly, King Joram sent for Elisha. What an opportunity! The whole Syrian army his prisoners! But he didn’t dare act without Elisha’s consent.
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‘Shall we kill them?’ he asked. But Elisha would not permit the Syrian prisoners to be killed.
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Instead, he told King Joram to feed the enemy soldiers, and a great feast was set before them. And when they were refreshed ...


Elisha and the Syrian army
When Elisha is surrounded by the Syrian army, God's army comes to his rescue.
2 Kings 6:8-23

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