Wednesday September 25
friends & enemies
A made-for-TV miniseries chronicled the experiences of the US 1st Marine Division in the Pacific Theater during World War II. The episode of the Marines storming the beaches of Iwo Jima was emotionally difficult to watch. Of the young Marines who survived the barrage of bullets and mortar fire, many froze on the beach in utter terror, not knowing what to do next.
Their understandable fear reminds me of an episode from Elisha’s life (2 Kings 6:8-23). The King of Aram (who was at war with Israel) was out to get Elisha for warning the King of Israel of the Arameans’ military plans (vv.8- 13). After learning of Elisha’s whereabouts, the frustrated king sent a great army to capture him (v.14).
Like the terrified Marines, Elisha’s servant cried out when he saw that the enemy had them surrounded, “Oh, sir, what will we do now?” (v.15). Elisha asked God to reassure his young servant by opening his eyes and letting him see God’s vast army that outnumbered the enemy troops (vv.16-17).
But hold on, the story gets even better. Elisha asked God to blind the enemy army. He then went out and told the enemy that they had surrounded the wrong city, and that he would lead them to the right place. Not knowing it was Elisha, the enemy soldiers followed him to Israel’s capital city, where he turned them over to Israel’s king. Once there, Elisha asked God to restore their sight (2 Kings 6:18-20).
It looked like Elisha set them up, but when Israel’s king wanted to kill them, the prophet said, in essence: “No. Feed them well and send them home.” Elisha’s kindness so moved the Arameans that they stopped raiding Israel’s land (vv.21-23).
Want to make a friend out of an enemy? Try kindness. It sure beats hostility. —Jeff Olson
2 Kings 6:8-23
If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink (Proverbs 25:21).
Read Romans 12:20 and note Paul’s instruction on how to treat an enemy.
What opportunity do you have to show kindness to an enemy in your life? How will you proceed for Jesus’ sake?