Seeing more changes everything. 2 Kings 6.8-23 employs language for sight fifteen times. This is a story about seeing more. But what happens when we do not see enough?
Our story begins with a Syrian king secretly inserting special forces teams into Israel to eliminate some high value targets. Mysteriously, however, Elisha is able to inform Israel’s king of the exact location of these terror cells. Doom is avoided. When the Syrian king learns of Elisha’s magic, he rages. The text says, “And the mind of the king was greatly troubled because of this thing…” (verse 11). The phrase “greatly troubled” is the same Hebrew word used in Jonah for the catastrophic storm sent to sink Jonah’s ship. In other words, the king of Syria is experiencing a mental storm. His mind is storming for control. What happens when we do not see enough? We storm for control.
Elisha is a marked man. There is a price on his head. Eventually, he is spotted at Dothan. The Syrian king quickly employs thousands of his best troops to capture Elisha. They surround Dothan all night. The next morning, Elisha’s servant awakens to do his morning business. He walks outside and, “Behold (See! Look! Open your eyes!), an army with horses and chariots was all around the city.” So, he freaks out. Scrambles for Elisha screaming, “The sky is falling!” When we do not see enough, we fill up with fear. Fear swallows us, consumes us, and ends us.
It is crucial to see that the Syrians were not the only ones surrounding Elisha and his servant all night. God dispatched an army of angels. Therefore, the doom of the Syrian soldiers was not the whole picture of reality. Real, just not exhaustive reality. In other words, seeing more changes everything.
I was running one morning, when I caught movement on my left side. The huge creature waited until he had me before he attacked. I quickly looked for a tree to climb. None. Then a car, too far away. Only one choice left: turn and face it. The creature was fifteen yards away, closing in quickly. Then ten. I braced impact. That was when there was a loud, “Snap!” The creature was yanked backwards off his feet and onto his back. He had run out of chain. What a difference it would have made if I had seen the chain! Seeing more changes everything.
What happens when we do not see enough? We our blindness increases. “And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD and said, ‘Please strike this people with blindness…” (verse 15). This is not a physical blindness. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for Elisha to lead this massive army on horseback and chariot for twelve miles to Samaria, all by himself. This is a bedazzling blindness, a fool’s blindness. They simply do not recognize Elisha. This is what spiritual blindness does. It carries more blindness with it.
So, how do we see? Notice how, no one opens their own eyes in this story. There are no self-healings. No self-sight. No one even asks for it! In other words, no one is seeking sight in this story. No one. Sight comes only by God’s grace. And that grace is God’s prophet. All sight depends upon him. When Elisha prays, “Oh LORD, open their eyes!” God does. How much more does God listen to the Better Prophet’s life, death, and resurrection?