The Enigma machine was an encryption device used by the Germans in World War II to transmit coded messages. It allowed billions of ways to encode a message, making it incredibly difficult for the Allies to crack German codes. Allied researchers were able to exploit some weaknesses in the system and gained access to some German codebooks. From these, they were able to design their own device called the "Bombe machine" which helped to crack even the most challenging versions of the Enigma. Some historians say this was the single most important victory by the Allies. By using this breakthrough, they were able to prepare for and counter many attacks, and find weaknesses in the German defenses. They would, however, allow some German attacks to be carried out so the enemy would not be suspicious that their system had been compromised. It is very useful to know the enemy's plans!
Ben-hadad was king of Syria and an enemy of Israel. His army was powerful as he led his warriors into Israel to raid and conquer. The account is found in 2 Kings 6:8-18. The time would come when, because of their unfaithfulness, God would permit Assyria to conquer Israel. Yet, the Lord was not finished sending prophets to Israel urging them to repent. God is patient.
Ben-hadad planned his strategies with his generals in top secret. They would encamp in a certain place and do battle. Unfortunately for the Syrians, these plans always failed. Israel's armies were always someplace else. Enraged because ambush after ambush had failed, Ben-hadad questioned his servants, "Will you tell me which one of us is for the king of Israel?" (v. 11). He was certain that there was a spy in their midst. The enemy just had too much knowledge of the Syrians' secret plans!
However, there was no spy among them, and of course, there was no code-breaking device either. One of the servants responded, "No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words you speak in your bedroom" (v. 12). Espionage can be tricky business, but there is no better spy than a prophet of God. Even Ben-hadad's bedroom is "bugged" as the Holy Spirit revealed to Elisha every detail of every plan.
Ben-Hadad decided that in order to win the victory, he must get rid of Israel's eyes and ears. He must capture Elisha. "So he said, 'Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.' And it was told him, saying, 'Behold, he is in Dothan'" (2 Kings 6:13).
Easier Said Than Done!
Ben-hadad sent an army of horses and chariots to surround the city of Dothan in the night. There would be no escape for Elisha! Elisha's servant rose early in the morning and went out of the house. He beheld the warriors of Syria completely surrounding the city. The servant returned to Elisha and said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" Elisha did not seem too worried. I suppose it is always important to keep a cool head in such situations. Elisha assured his servant, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (2 Kings 6:16). Who was Elisah talking about? Who was with them?
Then Elisha prayed and said, "O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17). All around them, but beyond the capabilities of the five human physical senses, was all the protection necessary. Elisha would be no prisoner that day. The would-be captors became the captives!
Do You Sometimes Feel as If You are Surrounded by the Enemy?
We live in a fallen world. There is evil on every side. There is sickness and temptation and sorrow. Tragedy and loss sometimes strike. We experience problems with personal relationships, economic difficulties, and personal failure. Finally, death comes to all. In the words of Elisha's servant, "What shall we do?" The right answer is found in faith.
Today, the enemy commander is Satan. The spears and darts come in the form of temptations and trials. He means to take us captive. Paul mentions some who had already been captured, and their need to be taught and encouraged to repent; "and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do His will" (2 Tim. 2:26).
When the child of God, aware of God's presence in his life, faces down the adversary, his light shines the brightest (1 Pet. 4:14-16; 2:12). God is glorified and the disciple is strengthened. There is assurance even in the midst of evil. We need to dedicate ourselves to making the most of every situation, knowing that our Lord will give the victory (Eph. 5:15-17; Phil. 1:12-13). It's time to don your armor (Eph. 6:10-12)!
God Is Greater Than Any Enemy You Will Ever Face
Notice the response of Elisha to the "threat." The servant saw the odds as two versus a thousand, but he forgot God in his equation. We must not do the same. We are body and spirit. There is a physical realm, and there is a spiritual realm. There is more to a person than the sum of his physical parts (Matt. 10:28). There is more to our universe than just the things we can see with our eyes (2 Cor. 10:3-5, 7; 4:16-18).
In Elisha's day, unseen by the physical senses was the providence of God. God is present in every situation where His children encounter the enemy. Not everyone can see it, but God is there to support, protect and encourage. He will handle the situation if we will handle our faith. This does not mean an absence of suffering or even death, but it does mean absolute victory. God's people might die, but they will live again. Every tear shall be wiped away. "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
By the way, man's final enemy is death. Then there will be no more battles to fight and no more enemies to face. By faith, the war is won forever.
God Will Deliver You
The invaders sent from Ben-hadad were struck blind and led into the midst of Israel, where their sight was restored. Elisha instructed the king of Israel to feed them and send them home. This was done, and Ben-hadad became so terrified by the experience that he stopped sending his marauding bands into Israel.
The Importance of Prayer
Prayer was a key to Elisha's success (2 Kings 6:17). There is more going on than just the things we see. There are chariots of fire doing battle in the spiritual realm. Communication with God is always appropriate (Rev. 6:9-11; Phil. 4:6-7)!
The Importance of Faith
Faith was also key. We have not seen the throne of God, but we believe that He reigns and is in control. Having taken our situation to God in prayer, we must maintain confidence in Him. Recall how Stephen, just before his death, was permitted to view the realm where Christ reigns (Acts 7:56). We, too, shall join the Lord there one day (cf. Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1). Take courage, brethren! "For those who are with us are more than those who are with them."