Royalty and Ruin


Elisha’s Closing Ministry

Elisha lived to see many changes in the kingdom of Israel. Hazael the Syrian had afflicted the apostate nation. Jehu had executed all the family of Ahab. Jehoahaz, Jehu’s successor, had lost some of the cities east of the Jordan to invaders. For a time it had seemed that the Syrians might gain control of the entire kingdom. But the reformation Elisha carried forward led many to turn to God. These forsook the altars of Baal, and slowly yet surely God’s purpose was being fulfilled in those who chose to serve Him with all their heart. RR 95.1

Out of His love for erring Israel, God permitted the Syrians to afflict them. Because of His compassion for those whose moral power was weak, He raised up Jehu to kill Jezebel and the whole line of Ahab. Once more, through God’s merciful workings, the priests of Baal and Ashtoreth were set aside and their heathen altars thrown down. God foresaw that if temptation were removed, some would turn away from heathenism. This is why He permitted disaster after disaster to come to them. And when His purpose was accomplished, He turned the tide in favor of those who had learned to seek Him. RR 95.2

While Satan was doing all in his power to complete the ruin he had accomplished during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, Elisha continued to bear his testimony. He met with opposition, yet none could refute his message. Many came to him for counsel. Joram, king of Israel, sought his advice; and once, in Damascus, messengers from Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, visited him. To all, the prophet bore faithful witness in a time when the great majority of the people were openly rebelling against Heaven. RR 95.3

And God never forsook His chosen messenger. On one occasion, the king of Syria tried to destroy Elisha because he told the king of Israel about the plans of the enemy. The Syrian king had counseled with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such and such a place.” The Lord revealed this plan to Elisha, who “sent to the king of Israel, saying, ‘Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.’ Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once nor twice. RR 95.4

“Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, ‘Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?’ 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.’” 2 Kings 6:8-12. RR 96.1

Determined to capture the prophet, the Syrian king commanded, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.” On learning that the prophet was in Dothan, the king sent “horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots.” Verses 13-15. RR 96.2

In terror Elisha’s servant came to him. “Alas, my master!” he said. “What shall we do?” RR 96.3

“Do not fear,” the prophet answered, “for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then, so that the servant might know this for himself, Elisha prayed, “Lord, ... 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.” An encircling band of heavenly angels had come in mighty power to protect the Lord’s helpless ones. Verses 15-17. RR 96.4

The Syrian soldiers advanced boldly, ignorant of the unseen armies of heaven. “Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.’ And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. Now Elisha said to them, ‘This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.’ But he led them to Samaria. RR 96.5

“So it was, when they had come to Samaria, that Elisha said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.’ And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw; and there they were, inside Samaria! Now ... the king of Israel ... said to Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them?’ But he answered, ‘You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.’” Verses 18-22. RR 96.6