Faithlife Sermons

(2 Kings 6:8-23) The Fear of Elisha's Servant

I like to begin this weekend by asking a series of questions.
Where do you get your strength from?
What do you look to when you struggle?
What do you look to when you fail?
And look deeper then just the superficial answer.
I know that if not all of us, nearly all of us trust in Christ
and to extent will give that answer.
But do we live out that answer?
Does my heart reveal that reality?
Does my emotions and choices and fear and anxiety's reveal that answer?
Since we are all men here.
And many of us are Husbands, fathers, church leaders (at various leaders), business leaders
we have to ask another question.
A Leadership question.
As a leader (home, work, church, community), what wisdom do you impart to those who are struggling around you?
Perhaps your wife, kids, extended family, coworkers, the lost, fellow Christians.
The answer to those questions - is very instructive for our faith.
The answer to those questions either -
Reveal a dependent, supernatural, spirit-filled, Christ-enabled strength.
A joy, stability, peace, and joy that surpasses all understanding.
It reveals a weakness and instability as finite men.
One who either is
Will be exhausted, in despair, depressed, suicidal … and in it’s most extreme form cause us to be angry at God and the world.
In other words,
You either are resting in the incomparable character and strength of our God
you are depending on your finite, fallen strength of yourself.
And this isn’t decided in a moment either.
This is the Spiritual battle everyone of us face.
And every experience and stage of life we have to make a choice.
Are we really fighting a battle of depending upon God?
Let’s consider a couple of Scriptures -
2 Corinthians 10:3–6 ESV
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Ephesians 6:11–13 ESV
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Scripture teaches us about a Spiritual battle… in which what we believe about God is being tested.
**** Think about a good illustration
But let me personalize it with my own life.
I remember the .... miscarriage
Romans 8:18–23 ESV
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
What I would like to accomplish this weekend … is to remind us -
That our God is incomparable to anything else in this world.
And his greatness should be a source of strength in our lives.
I would like to start our sessions by looking -2 Kings 6:3-24
Focusing not so much on Elisha
But Elisha’s Servant.
I want to start on this passage because it will help us understand both
how are God is incomparable
and why it matters.
I realize the main thrust of this passage is
not about the Syrians
nor the servant.
But God using Elisha to deliver his people.
But for our purposes today, we are going to focus on his Servant.
Fear is a powerful discourager.
A Japanese soldier by the name of Shoichi Yokoi lived in a cave on the island of Guam to which he fled in 1944 when the tides of war began to change.
Fearing for his life, this man stayed hidden for twenty-eight years in the jungle cave, coming out only at night. (1972)
During this long period of time, this self-imposed hermit lived on frogs, rats, snails, shrimp, nuts, and mangoes.
He had carried a pair of trousers and a jacket from a burlap like cloth made from tree bark.
They asked him - did you know the war was over?
Yokoi said that he knew the war was over because of leaflets that were scattered throughout the jungles of Guam.
So why did he hide in his hut, during the prime of his life?
Because he was afraid that if he came out of hiding, he would be executed.
Not rational fear, but a very real fear for him.
Fear is a powerful discourager.
It robs of joy and life.
Our text before us is a text -

that gives us an understandable example of fear.

But also Elisha also gives us a powerful example of how to overcome our fears!

As we jump into 2 Kings 6,
Let’s recall what is going on.
First we see,

1) Elisha Makes Himself a Target by Divinely Protecting the King. (2 Kings 6:8-14)

2 Kings 6:8–10 ESV
8 Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.
I spent some time in the past working as an intelligence analyst,
And so I can relate to value of what Elisha shared with the N. Kingdoms king, Jehoram, son to Ahab.
Here I think we should call it -

a) The Prophetic Intelligence. (2 Kings 6:8-10)

Knowing where the enemy is, especially when they are setting up a surprise ambush,
is essential to battle.
And in this case, more then once, it protected King Jehoram from the Syrians.
So effective was Elisha’s prophecy -

b) The Syrians Fear a Spy is in their Camp. (2 Kings 6:11-13)

This almost a humorous description -
2 Kings 6:11 ESV
11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?”
So effective, and accurate was Elisha’s prophetic voice to the King of Israel,
the Syrian king thought he had a spy in his camp.
And so the King of Syria lines them all up, and says - Who is the spy?
And I love the answer.
2 Kings 6:12–13 ESV
12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.”
It is not a spy,
it is one prophet sold out for God.
Who with God’s help,
actually hears the plans of the Syrian king - even in his private chamber.
And thus, Elisha makes himself a target.
c) The Targeting of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:14)
2 Kings 6:14 ESV
14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
But I even love more what happens next -
2) The Servant’s Understandable Fear. (2 Kings 6:15)
2 Kings 6:15 ESV
15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
3) Elisha’s Instruction: Do not Fear, God’s Side is Bigger. (2 Kings 6:16-17)
4) Elisha’s Blinding of the Enemy. (2 Kings 6:18-23)
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