By Luke Johnson | January 1, 2013
Read 2 Kings 6:8-17
What's the problem in this story? Who are the bad guys?
Who are they looking for?
Have you ever been in a situation that scared you?
Think about the characters in the story:
Elisha, his servant, the Aramean army, the king of Israel
Who shows fear in the story? What are they afraid of?
Why is Elisha's servant so afraid? (He thought they were all alone against this army.)
Why wasn't Elisha afraid? (What could Elisha see that no one else could?)
So, Elisha and his servant were surrounded by a huge army of angry angels.
What do think will happen next? How might you expect this story to end?
Read 2 Kings 6:18-23
How does God stop the Aramean army? (v. 18)
Why didn't Elisha just let the angels kill the army? Why did he ask God to make them blind?
The stories in 2 Kings 6 are all about proving that Israel can trust God, and that he is way more powerful than any person, king, or false god.
If Elisha let the angels kill the army, would that have solved Israel’s problem? Would the king of Aram have stopped attacking them? (Probably not; he would’ve been really mad, and probably would’ve sent another army.)
What does Elisha do with the army after they’re stricken blind? Why does he take them to Samaria? (That’s where Israel’s king is.)
Have you ever been really embarrassed? Like, so embarrassed that you wish you could hide in a hole? (This is how the Aramean army felt.)
Elisha tricked them and led them to the worst place he could have ever led them: to the enemy king. They would’ve felt like big idiots. Led by the hand to the enemy by the very guy they were sent to kill.
Then another weird thing happens: What does the king of Israel ask Elisha when he brings in the blind army of Aram? (“Can I kill them, please? Can I?”)
The king even asks 2 times. It’s like he’s asking, “Pretty, pretty please?!”
Have you ever had an opportunity to get revenge on someone who has made you really mad? Did you do it? Why or why not?
Who’s the other person in this story who is blind?
Elisha’s servant -- he’s “blind” in a way, because he can’t see what God is up to. All he sees is the scary army marching toward them, but he can’t see God’s army -- the angels -- all around him.
When you’ve been really afraid, what got you through it?
John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But fear not! I have overcome the world.”
What do you see in this story that reminds you of this verse?
Think about your life right now. What kinds of 'trouble' are you facing this week or this month or this year?
What do you think this story of Elisha has to teach us about fearing things in our lives?
Who are other people in the Bible who were afraid when God asked them to do something important?
- Moses - I stutter too much!
- Gideon - I’m the smallest man in my tribe!
- Amos - I’m not smart enough!
- Jeremiah - I’m too young!
- Isaiah - I’m not good enough!
We have stories like these to remind us that, while the world might be a scary place sometimes, Jesus has overcome the world. He’s trustworthy.
Reflection after the Study
This story of Elisha is all about what the world is really like and who is really in charge.
The Aramean army felt pretty proud of themselves for how powerful they were, but they felt pretty foolish for being led around by the guy they were sent to capture.
Elisha’s servant was terrified by the army.
The world can be a scary place. Sometimes we have to face things that seem too much for us, too difficult, too hard.
But in those moments, make sure you pause to think about what you don’t see.
Like Elisha’s servant, if we’re willing to trust God when we have to deal with difficult things, we’ll realize that he was there the whole time.
This is why it’s important to read stories like these. They remind us who’s really in charge.
And this is what prayer is all about. Instead of us just kicking something around our own heads all the time, we can invite God into our thoughts, and he can help us come to new ideas, to see things in a new way, and to realize that the problem we’re facing isn’t so scary afterall.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby says, "When we just talk about things with people, we’re limited to our own thoughts. We circle the drain of human thinking. But when we pray, God can give us new thoughts, new insights. He can burst into our thoughts and show us new ways."