There are many lessons we can learn from the
stories of Elisha. This is the 21st in a series focused on the life of
this great prophet.
"When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, 'Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?' 'Do not kill them,' he answered. 'Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.'" (2 Ki 6:18-22)
Just imagine. You and your men have been looking this for man, this Elisha, who is said to know the secrets spoken in your king's bedchambers (2 Kings 6:12). You have surrounded Dothan, the city where he resides, and all you are waiting for to make your attack is the light of day. But just as the sun is coming up onto the horizon, you suddenly can't see anything! Not even the hand in front of your face! It takes only a moment to learn that you are not alone. Everyone in your army is completely blind!
How? Why? What are you supposed to do now??? All of your state-of-the-art equipment is useless without eyes to guide them! How can you fight a war if you can't even see? Fear is rampaging in your heart when you hear a cheerful voice: "This is not the road, and this is not the city. Follow me and I will lead you to the man you are looking for!"
What choices do you have? There is no way to know if this is a trap, and if you stay here, as soon as the city gates open for the day, you and your blind army will all be massacred! With great hesitation, you join hands with your men and blindly follow-literally!
After miles of endless walking, the strange march ends and you hear the voice again: "Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see!" Instantly, the blackness falls away from your eyes, and as you stand and blink, you recognize where you are! You and all of your troops are in the enemy's capital city, surrounded by enemy soldiers! And all of your fancy weaponry is still back at Dothan, miles away!
Your fear heightens as you hear the voice of the enemy king: "Shall I kill them father? Shall I kill them???" You close your eyes, waiting for the inevitable . . . But to your surprise, the kind voice of the man who led you here is speaking: "Do not kill them . . . Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master." (2 Ki 6:22).
What? You are to be fed and then released??? In THEIR shoes, YOU certainly would have killed each and every one of them! But the king seems to be listening to the kind voice, the one who you have just learned belongs to the same man, this Elisha, who you have been sent to capture and kill. And now a feast is being prepared-in YOUR honor! Instead of being treated with the aggression you deserve, you have been treated with kindness.
The road home is long, and you have ample time to think. What do you do now? How can you fight against a country who has such power? Why would you want to fight against someone who has treated you so kindly? As you cross the border into your own country, you know what you must do: You must stop the raids on this land!
And the Bible says, that the bands of Aram STOPPED raiding Israel's territory.
Problem resolved with kindness!
Jesus says in Mt 5:39-42: "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
Hey! It worked for Elisha! Wouldn't it be nice to also be able to report: "Problem resolved with kindness"?
Please see next Thursday's edition of The Nugget for Lessons From Elisha, Part 22.
Love in Christ,