Deliverance and Judgement

2 Kings 6-7

 

I.      God is in Control of Everything, 6:1-7

A.     The sons of the prophets ask permission to build a larger place to dwell, vv. 1-2a

1.      The sons of the prophets were a school of prophets, see 2:3; 4:38; 5:22; 9:1

2.      Where did they want to build?  Construct a new dwelling at the Jordan.

B.     Elisha allows them to build a larger dwelling, then agrees to go with them, vv. 2b-3.

C.     In the process of cutting down trees, a borrowed axe head falls into the water.

1.      Iron was expensive and the prophet was very poor.

2.      The prophet would have almost certainly faced the problem of debt by losing the axe head.

D.     Elisha threw a stick in the water to draw the iron up, vv. 4-6.

E.      The one who lost the axe head received it back, v. 7.

1.      In contrast to Gehazi who received the result of his unfaithfulness (5:27), here is a demonstration of reward for faithful labor.

2.      "God's grace can thus raise the stony iron heart which has sunk into the mud of this world, and raise up affections naturally earthy, to things above." (Matthew Henry)

II.      Having Eyes of Faith, 6:8-23

  1. Plans of the king of Syria defeated by Elisha, vv. 8-10.

1.      Elisha knows of the king of Syria's plans, no matter how secretive.  This truth demonstrates God's omniscience.  God knows all things, including private thoughts.  Nothing takes Him by surprise.  His perfect knowledge means that we can always trust Him.  He knows the schemes of our enemies and will do what is best for us.

  1. The king of Syria finds out that Elisha knows of his plans, goes to Dothan to seize him, vv. 11-14.
  2. Servant of Elisha becomes afraid of approaching army, but Elisha has his eyes open to see the LORD's army protecting them, vv. 15-17.

1.      God will take care of His people, Psalm 34:7; 68:17

2.      No one and nothing can overpower God.  We need to trust in His provision, Romans 8:31-39

3.      When we run into difficulties or trials in our life, do we see them from God's perspective, or do we just see the difficulty (James 1:1-8)?  Do we lack "spiritual vision"?  This lack of vision shows the need for and the power of prayer.  Regular communion with God will help us to gain more of God's perspective.  Reading God's Word will also help us to have a biblical perspective, and to see the challenges in our lives properly.

4.      Those whose faith is strong ought to help those who are weak or need strength and assurance.

  1. Elisha has Syrian army struck with blindness, routes them to Samaria, vv. 18-20.

1.      Contrast opening of the servant of Elisha's eyes (v. 17) with the opening of the army of Syria's eyes (v. 20).  The servant of Elisha found comfort and assurance in what he saw, but the army of Syria faced judgement and defeat.  This contrast is much like the gospel message.  It is the power of God for those who are being saved, but it is folly to those that are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18).  It is precious to one, but leads to God's just wrath on the other.  Also see John 9:39.

  1. King of Israel sees opportunity, but treats them kindly after consulting Elisha, vv. 21-23.

III.      The Enemy's Retaliation, 6:24-33

  1. After their lack of success, the king of Syria besieges Samaria, which leads to a great famine, vv. 24-25.

1.      Severity is seen through the exorbitant expense of two things:

a.      A donkey's head for eighty shekels (about 2 pounds) of silver.  A donkey's head has very little flesh on it, and is unsavory, unwholesome, and ceremonially unclean.

b.      A kab of dove's dung for five shekels (about 2 ounces) of silver.  Some believe "dove's dung" to be a name for seed pods (NIV), while others see it as the remains of a dove.  If the latter is the case, elsewhere we find that dove's dung was used as fuel for fire or as a substitute for salt.  It could also point to the desperation of the people actually paying to eat it.

2.      Seriousness of famine seen through cannibalism, vv. 26-29.

a.      Cannibalism in the time of siege was a prophetic threat for Israel's disobedience, Leviticus 26:27-29, Deuteronomy 28:52-57

  1. When realizing the severity of their situation, the King of Israel blames Elisha and seeks to murder him, vv. 30-31.

1.  We need to beware of blaming God or others for our bad situations.  We should first look at ourselves.

  1. Messenger sent to murder Elisha, Elisha knows of the king's plan beforehand, vv. 32-33.
  2. Elisha promises inexpensive and abundant food, king's captain does not believe it, 7:1-2.

1.      Unbelief is a tragic sin.  Not believing in God and His message leads to punishment.    A similar biblical account is the Israelites complaining about the Promised Land.  They saw Canaan, but could not enter it because of unbelief (Numbers 13-14).  In the same way, those who do not believe in the promise of eternal life shall see it at a distance but will never taste it.  They have forsaken the benefit of the promise if they cannot truly accept and trust God's word.

IV.      Undeserved Deliverance, 7:3-20

A.     Lepers decide that their desperate situation calls for them to go to the Syrians, vv. 3-5a.

B.     The LORD so thoroughly brings fear to the Syrian army that they abandon their camp, vv. 5b-7.

C.     After beginning to plunder the empty Syrian camp, the lepers decide to inform the city of the good news, v. 8-11.

1.      How should those of us who have received the benefit of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ react to our wonderful gift?  We should share it with others; proclaiming the good news of Christ to all!

D.     The King of Israel thinks the empty camp is a trap, but allows some servants to go out to check on its legitimacy, vv. 12-16.

E.      The rest of the people of Samaria plundered the camp, vv. 16-20.

1.      There was inexpensive and abundant food, just as Elisha had promised, v. 16.

2.      The king of Syria's captain witnessed this change but was killed, also as Elisha had predicted, v. 17-20.

3.      God's promise may be safely relied on, for no word of His shall fail to come to pass.  This truth is once again demonstrated through the fulfillment of God's judgement on the king's captain.



Deliverance and Judgement

2 Kings 6-7

[Class Outline]

 

I.      God is in Control of Everything, 6:1-7

A.     The sons of the prophets ask permission to build a larger place to dwell, vv. 1-2a

1.      The sons of the prophets were a school of prophets, see 2:3; 4:38; 5:22; 9:1

2.      Where did they want to build?  Construct a new dwelling at the Jordan.

B.     Elisha allows them to build a larger dwelling, then agrees to go with them, vv. 2b-3.

C.     In the process of cutting down trees, a borrowed axe head falls into the water.

1.      Iron was expensive and the prophet was very poor.

2.      The prophet would have almost certainly faced the problem of debt by losing the axe head.

D.     Elisha threw a stick in the water to draw the iron up, vv. 4-6.

E.      The one who lost the axe head received it back, v. 7.

II.      Having Eyes of Faith, 6:8-23

  1. Plans of the king of Syria defeated by Elisha, vv. 8-10.
  2. The king of Syria finds out that Elisha knows of his plans, goes to Dothan to seize him, vv. 11-14.
  3. Servant of Elisha becomes afraid of approaching army, but Elisha has his eyes open to see the LORD's army protecting them, vv. 15-17.

1.      God will take care of His people, Psalm 34:7; 68:17

2.      No one and nothing can overpower God.  We need to trust in His provision, Romans 8:31-39

  1. Elisha has Syrian army struck with blindness, routes them to Samaria, vv. 18-20.
  2. King of Israel sees opportunity, but treats them kindly after consulting Elisha, vv. 21-23.

III.      The Enemy's Retaliation, 6:24-33

  1. After their lack of success, the king of Syria besieges Samaria, which leads to a great famine, vv. 24-25.

1.      Severity is seen through the exorbitant expense of a donkey’s head and dove’s dung.

2.      Seriousness of famine seen through cannibalism, vv. 26-29.

  1. When realizing the severity of their situation, the King of Israel blames Elisha and seeks to murder him, vv. 30-31.
  2. Messenger sent to murder Elisha, Elisha knows of the king's plan beforehand, vv. 32-33.
  3. Elisha promises inexpensive and abundant food, king's captain does not believe it, 7:1-2.

IV.      Undeserved Deliverance, 7:3-20

A.     Lepers decide that their desperate situation calls for them to go to the Syrians, vv. 3-5a.

B.     The LORD so thoroughly brings fear to the Syrian army that they abandon their camp, vv. 5b-7.

C.     After beginning to plunder the empty Syrian camp, the lepers decide to inform the city of the good news, v. 8-11.

D.     The King of Israel thinks the empty camp is a trap, but allows some servants to go out to check on its legitimacy, vv. 12-16.

E.      The rest of the people of Samaria plundered the camp, vv. 16-20.

1.      There was inexpensive and abundant food, just as Elisha had promised, v. 16.

2.      The king of Syria's captain witnessed this change but was killed, also as Elisha had predicted, v. 17-20.


Lessons:

  1. Elisha knows of the king of Syria's plans.  As a prophet of God, this shows God's omniscience.  He knows all things.
  2. When we run into difficulties or trials in our life, we need to see them from God's perspective (James 1:1-8).
  3. The disbelief of the king’s captain demonstrates the tragic sin of unbelief.  Not believing in God and His message leads to punishment.
  4. Just like the lepers who found the empty Syrian camp, we should share the gospel with others; proclaiming the good news of Christ to all!