Stay faithful to the Lord for any amount of time and you may find that the enemies of the Lord can be rather persistent about their aspirations to tear down God’s plans. If we stand firm on our Christian convictions, however, we may more often than not find our enemies’ plans thwarted. This is something that the prophet Elisha came face to face with in his dealings with kings from two nations–Israel and Syria.
In 2 Kings 5, a highly-respected captain of Syria’s army, Naaman, was sent to Israel with king Benhadad’s blessings to seek healing of his leprosy from Elisha. Naaman was miraculously healed and returned to Syria. In spite of the miracle, however, we find that Benhadad decided to declare war against Israel shortly afterwards in 2 Kings 6. Elisha was so close to the Lord that whenever Benhadad set up an ambush against king Jehoram of Israel, the Lord revealed the ambush to Elisha so he could warn Jehoram how to avoid them.
This happened so often that Benhadad got upset and wanted to know who Syria’s traitor was (2 Ki. 6:11). When his servant, obviously using their spy network, told him Elisha was the culprit, Benhadad sent a large unit to destroy Elisha and the town where he was. While Elisha’s young servant panicked, Elisha kept his cool because he had great faith in Ps. 34:7 and asked the Lord to show the young man what he knew–God’s army was surrounding them in greater numbers than the Syrians. Long story short, Elisha was victorious over the Syrian army unit without any violence and showed them great mercy by ordering Jehoram to feed them and send them home in accordance with Prov. 25:21-22.
Neither Naaman’s miracle, nor Elisha’s knowledge of Syria’s ambushments, nor that miraculous defeat was enough to suffice Israel’s enemy, Benhadad. He returned a short time later to set up a siege against Israel’s capital city of Samaria and cut off their supplies to the point where food was scarce, prices were high, and people resorted to cannibalism. This time it was Jehoram who wanted Elisha dead even though God had miraculously delivered them before in spite of the fact Jehoram was like his father Ahab. Yet Elisha had enough persistent faith, prayer, and prophecy for the whole nation of Israel that he assured Jehoram and his crew that Syria would lose and food prices would hit rock bottom the very next day. And it happened.
Standing for the Lord is often a thankless endeavor when we represent him daily among worldly-minded people. Even miracles from God and showing mercy may not turn our enemies from constantly placing us in their cross-hairs. But if we persist in our righteousness against their persistent evil, we may experience God’s miraculous deliverance from their wicked schemes, just like Elisha did.
13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.14 But I trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God.15 My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Ps. 31