Here’s a really cool story out of 2 Kings which I had never heard until about two years ago, but once again, I’m going to have to give you the Cliff Notes version because of how long it is.
OK, key people in this story. There’s the King of Israel; his’s name’s Joram. He’s at war with the country of Aram, a part of Syria. The king of Aram realizes at some point during the war that Israel keeps figuring out his battle tactics, and wants to know just how that’s happening. His servant tells him that it’s not the king, but a prophet named Elisha, who knows his every move. King of Aram doesn’t like this, so he prepares to go and capture Elisha at Dothan, where Elisha is staying.
Let’s look at Elisha for a minute. Elisha was a prophet who spoke the will of God to the King of Israel; one of many prophets, I should mention. I think I explained this before, but most kings kept a whole host of prophets with them when trying to make decisions, but, as it turned out, most of those prophets would rather please the King’s will instead of God’s, so they just told the King what he wanted to hear. Guys like Elisha, however, didn’t do that. They told the King what an idiot he was being, and this could land prophets like him in trouble sometimes. Elisha was a successor to Elijah, who was probably the most famous prophet in all of Israel (even if he didn’t get his own book), so Elisha was coming from a good, good education.
What’s so ironic about the Arameans coming after Elisha was they he had just healed their army’s commander, Namaan, of leprosy, by the way. Anyway, Elisha and his servant are at Dothan, and the servant wakes up one morning and sees the entire city surrounded by the Syrian army. Not the best wake up call for anyone, so he goes and wakes up Elisha. Elisha, being relaxed and trusting in God, just tells him not to worry, that “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” The servant at this point must be buggin’ out, thinking “Is this guy nuts? There’s TWO of us!” Instead of explaining himself, Elisha just prays, “Lord, open his eyes that he may see.”
The servant then looks around and sees hundreds and hundreds of angels and chariots, a supernatural army to defend them. It makes me wonder if Elisha didn’t have this sort of thing following him everywhere, and this was the first time the servant could even notice it. When the Arameans attacked, all Elisha does is pray, “God, blind my enemies,” and God does so. He goes out of the city with his servant and says to the army, “This is not the city. Come with me, and I will lead you to the man you seek.”
I’m trying to picture this from the servant’s perspective, who is probably dragging his jaw along the ground in amazement as he follows the man who just blinded the entire army of Aram and is now leading them to Samaria, where the king lives. They get to Samaria, and Elisha asks God to open their eyes. Now the SOLDIERS are freaking out to find themselves in their enemy’s capital city! The king of Israel is just plain overjoyed, and asks Elisha, “Should I kill them? Huh? Huh? Should I?” (You can just see him bouncing up and down with glee). Elisha, probably giving him that “you really don’t get this, do you?” look, tells him no. Instead, he instructs the king to feed the soldiers so they can go home. The king does this, sends them off, and Aram never goes raiding in Israel again.
In a time where Israel had the advantage and could have wiped out an entire enemy, they opted instead to have a big feast for them…and wiped out an enemy by turning them into a friend. The whole “kill them with kindness” theme is prevalent in Scripture, as it is true that many enemies can become friends quickly, especially when we have the opportunity to eliminate them. We might live in a “kick ’em while their down” society, but enemies will always make better friends when we treat them with the love, kindness, and forgiveness that we’ve been shown.
Where can you show love to an enemy that’s down?