… you remember. There were two of those guys. Elijah and then Elisha. They came onto the scene in the Northern Kingdom about a century after the reigns of David and Solomon.
Wicked kings Ahab (1 Kings 16-22), Ahaziah (1 Kings 22), Joram (2 Kings 9), and Jehu (2 Kings 9) ruled in the Northern Kingdom, and Elijah and Elisha were Jehovah’s prophets of righteousness during those spiritually dark days. Their miraculous adventures are recorded in the last few chapters of First Kings and the first chapters of Second Kings… you really should read them again!
Elisha, the later of the two great men, provided a widow with an abundance of valuable oil to save her children from slavery (2 Kings 4:1–7). Elisha made a poisonous stew edible (2 Kings 4:38–41), fed a hundred men by multiplying limited resources (2 Kings 4:42–44), and miraculously provided water for thirsting armies (2 Kings 3:13–22). Once he made an iron ax head float (2 Kings 6:5–7). Through Elisha, God provided healing to the leprous Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-27), and he raised a dead boy back to life (2 Kings 4:8-27).
It appears to me that the rebellious Israelites should have seen God’s miraculous provisions and been drawn to repentance, but they were not! About a hundred years after Elisha, the Northern Kingdom fell to Assyria and their people were carried into captivity and slavery. Maybe their story is a warning, a cautionary tale for America! Repent and turn to God or God’s wrath is inevitable.
In my estimation, the most memorable and meaningful moment in Elisha’s story came at the little village of Dothan (2 Kings 6) during a time when Syria (Aram) was warring against Israel. Syria’s king, Ben-Hadad, became convinced that there was a spy within his inner-circle when, in fact, God was miraculously using the prophet, Elisha, to inform Israel’s king concerning Syria’s military strategies and troop movements. When Ben-Hadad learned of Elisha’s insights, “he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city” (2 Kings 6:14).
Early in the morning, Elisha’s servant looked out the window and saw Syria’s great army amassed outside the city walls. In every direction, well-trained, well-armed Syrian soldiers stood ready to attack. Quickly, the servant called for Elisha. “Oh, my master, what are we to do?” (2 Kings 6:15). The fearless and faithful prophet could see what the servant could not, so he prayed. “ ‘Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.’ So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17). Multitudes of mighty angelic warriors in blazing chariots!
With Spirit-enabled vision, Elisha confidently declared, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). Surrounded by an evil enemy, Elisha saw the Syrians like David saw Goliath. “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies… it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s’ ” (1 Samuel 17:45–47).
Today, by God’s grace, we can see that the “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12) and we can proclaim, “those who are with us outnumber those who are with them” … “for the battle is the Lord’s.”