Elisha and the Blind Soldiers
- Be amazed at the way God protected and saved Israel.
- Trust God's power to protect us.
- Thank God for protecting us.
Again Elisha (here consistently called "the man of God") is mixed up in international politics. At this time in the history of Israel's northern kingdom, Aram was the enemy making forays into Israelite territory. For some reason (the text really doesn't tell us) Elisha got mixed up in the battle by telling the king of Israel everything the king of Aram was planning to do, or as one of the Aramean servants put it, "the very words you speak in your bedroom."
When the king of Aram found out what was going on, he, of course, wanted to get rid of Elisha. So he sent a cohort of soldiers with their horses and chariots to Dothan to take Elisha out. When Elisha's servant discovered that the city was surrounded by enemy soldiers, he ran to Elisha in terror and asked, "What shall we do?"
Elisha responded with a statement that has served as a word of comfort to believers for thousands of years: "Don't be afraid. Those with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed for the eyes of his servant to be opened, and he saw what cannot normally be seen by human eyes: surrounding them in the hills were horses and chariots of fire.
Of course, the vision makes us recall the story of the death of Elijah, Elisha's master and mentor, who was taken to heaven by a chariot and horses of fire. The text means to tell us that the servant's eyes were opened to supernatural reality, the spiritual and unseen world that surrounds us.
In the biblical view, the heavenly host and all the angelic beings do not dwell in some far-off heaven. They occupy another dimension of reality. The beings of heaven may, in fact, be much closer than we think.
I like the word dimension to describe this. We live in the dimensions of space and time, and while there may be other dimensions of reality, we cannot perceive them. When Elisha prayed for the eyes of his servant to be opened, he was given a glimpse of that other dimension or dimensions.
It's a good reminder for us that we do not see things as they truly are. We do not regularly see that spiritual dimension in which God is in control. It's possible to think too much about spiritual beings, I suppose, but I think we tend to think too little of the angels and heavenly hosts deployed by God.
Once the servant's eyes were opened, Elisha calls upon the God of that other dimension to act by striking the Aramean army blind. What follows is a laughable adventure, as Elisha kindly led the blind soldiers not to himself, but into the center of the capital of the northern kingdom, Samaria. There they stood, blind as bats, in the square before the king's palace.
Of course, the king of Israel wanted to kill them all, but Elisha, the man of peace, had another plan. He sat them all down for a "great feast," and afterward sent them all back home. So, it says, "the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel's territory."
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