Monday, May 9, 2011

THE LORD IS THY KEEPER

A thrilling Old Testament story in 2 King 6 best illustrates what it means to be kept by the power of God.

Ben-hadad, King of Syria, declared war on Israel and marched against them with a great army. As his forces advanced, he often called his war counsel into his private chambers to plan the next day's strategy. But the prophet Elisha kept sending word to the King of Israel, detailing every move of the enemy troops. In fact, on several occasions, the Israelites escaped defeat because of Elisha's warnings.

Ben-hadad was furious and called his servants together. "Tell me who is revealing our plans to the King of Israel! Who is this traitor?” The servants told him, "It's not what you think, my lord. There is no traitor in thy camp or in thy court; we are all true [loyal] men. The man of God [Elisha) is telling the King of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchambers" (2 Kings 6:12).

Ben-hadad immediately dispatched a host of horses, chariots, and soldiers to capture Elisha. "Go to Dothan and bring him to me," he demanded. They went by night and surrounded the city, intending to take the old prophet by surprise, but Elisha's servant awakened early. When he saw that "an host encompassed the city both with horses and chariots" (vs. 15), he ran to Elisha in terror and cried, "Alas, my master, we are surrounded. What shall we do?"

Smiling confidently, Elisha replied, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha" (2 Kings 6:16-17).

Like the psalmist, Elisha could stand in the midst of crisis and say with absolute assurance:

• "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about" (Psalm 3:6).
• "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident" (Psalm 27:3).
• "He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me" (Psalm 55:18).

My prayer is that of Elisha: "Lord, open our eyes that we may see and behold the mountains filled with the horses and chariots of fire—of the Lord of hosts!"