a. Elisha warned the king (v.9). God gave Elisha this revelation to protect Israel.
b. The king wisely heeded Elisha (v.10). This protected his life more than twice.
c. The Syrian king, frustrated by his failure, assumed there was a traitor in his camp (v.11-12). How did a pagan Syrian soldier know that Elisha was telling Israel’s King Syrian secrets? God does not tell us.
d. Once again, God reminds us that we cannot hide anything from Him. If he knew what the king of Syria said in his bedchamber, He certainly knows all that we say.
e. Spies reported that Elisha was in Dothan. Seeking to capture and probably kill Elisha shows us that the Syrians thought Elisha was their adversary when it was really the God of Israel. Therefore, the Syrian king sent chariots and a great host of soldiers to capture Elisha (v.13-14).
2. God Opened Elisha’s Servant’s Eyes (v.15-17)
a. Elisha’s servant panicked (v.15). He responded as we often do to fearful situations.
b. Elisha calmed his servant’s fears.
1) He showed personal concern and encouraged him saying, “Fear not”. (2 Timothy 1:7) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.“
2) He gave him biblical instruction “Those with us…” (v.16). We know this to be true, but in time of fear, we often fail to believe it. (Psalms 91:11) “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Romans 8:31) “… If God be for us, who can be against us?“
3) He prayed for his servant’s illumination “Open his eyes…” (v.17). The servant saw an amazing sight that morning. Though we cannot see God’s angels around us, Scripture says they are present (Psa 34:7; Mat 18:10; Heb 1:13-14; Heb 13:2).
c. Keathley states, “How can we minister to the fears of people? Just like this! We need to show personal concern and involvement, provide biblical instruction, and go to the Lord in personal dependence on Him to illuminate them to His resources and sufficiency, for unless the Lord prospers our ministry, our work is futile.” My emphasis.
d. Whether the fearful person is your spouse, your child, your friend or your neighbour, these three steps are God’s way for you to help calm the person’s fears.
3. God Closed the Syrian Army’s Eyes (v.18-19)
a. The army came down to Elisha (v.18). Elisha remained calm and simply prayed that the Lord would blind their eyes. Elisha did not try to deal with the enemy in his own power. He called on the Lord for help. When Satan oppresses us or temptation surrounds us like that Syrian army did to Elisha, we must run to the Lord in prayer. (Psalms 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.“
b. God does not give men such supernatural powers today, but God is still able to protect us from danger and temptation.
c. One of the reasons that God blinded the entire Syrian army was to show His might and power. He would receive the glory for his unusual miracle. Blinded, the entire army was helpless and harmless. Elisha led the army like a puppy from Dothan to Samaria, more than 15 kms. (See map)
d. Elisha did not lie to the Syrians (v.19). He led them the way God wanted them to go and to the city of God’s choosing. In Samaria, they did find Elisha, the man they wanted. God had a lesson for them to learn through this fearful and helpless experience.
4. God Reopened the Syrian Army’s Eyes (v.20-23)
a. Once the army was inside the walls of Samaria and probably surrounded by Israel’s soldiers, Elisha prayed again and asked the Lord to open the blinded eyes of the Syrian army (v.20).
b. Imagine the thoughts that rushed through the minds of those surrounded soldiers that morning! They must have been terrified. Israel could have killed them or made them all slaves.
c. The king of Israel asked Elisha what he was to do with these captives. Strangely, Elisha told him not to kill them but to feed them and let them go. God’s glory was at stake here. Because Elisha brought them into captivity by the power of God, he must let them go free by the mercy of God. The entire army would return to Syria and testify of God’s miracle and His mercy.
d. These acts of grace in feeding them and mercy in letting them go free made it so the raiding bands of Syrians came no more into the land of Israel.