The king of Syria learns that prophecies of the man of God – Elisha – are key to Israel’s victories over the raiding Syrians because “Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you [Syria’s king] speak in your bedroom.” (2 Kings 6: 12) Elisha tells the king of Israel what Syria plans.
The king of Syria then sends his army to kill Elisha:
When the servant of the man of God [Elisha] 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?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6: 15-17
When I read that, I fully expected that God’s army would attack Syria’s army. But that’s NOT how God’s army worked. Instead,
…Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. vs. 18
Elisha then leads the blind army to Samaria, where he instructs the king of Israel to actually FEED the army and send them home – and for a time, the Syrians stop raiding Israel.
However, eventually the king of Syria decides to do more than raid, but to invade Israel. The siege by Syria led to a famine in Samaria and despite the dire situation, Elisha prophecies a victory for Israel and an overnight reversal of the famine. The king of Israel’s right hand man says this is impossible.
But then, God’s army intervenes again!
Four lepers decide to risk their lives and enter Syria in search of food, only to discover no one was home, because:
…the Lord had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. 2 Kings 17: 6-7
God’s army doesn’t attack Syria, but fools Syria. It takes a while for the king of Israel to believe that the Syrians actually ran away, but once word got out, all the people of Israel plundered the camp of the Syrians and took so much food that the famine was reversed overnight.
God’s army is probably more available than we think! It’s there to rescue us in time of need.
But if these two examples are representative about how God works, then He is reliably surprising in the way He delivers. I think He’ll do one thing to save me, to give victory over my problems – I ask Him to do that one thing – but He does something completely different.
In the end, the He assures victory and receives victory’s credit.
Dear Lord: What an amazing thought that your spiritual armies (some call them angel armies) can surround and help me in time of need – but they never deliver the help the way I think. You know my problems and that I need extraordinary help. Please, Lord, surround me with your army to deliver me. Amen.