Though these chapters have many characters and many incidents take place, they largely focus on the character of Elisha and on one principle lesson. The lesson is that we can look at life either in the natural or the supernatural dimension. We can walk either by physical sight or by faith. Elisha is, of course, a man of faith. He is, as we know, a prophet. More accurately, he is in the sense that Samuel was, a seer. Elisha sees the spiritual dimension of life in every situation. Sometimes it is troubling to see so much, as in the case of Elisha and Hazael (2 Kings 8). Other times it is comforting to see the supernatural dimension, as in the case where the King of Aram sent horses and chariots to seize Elisha.
On this occasion, the servant of Elisha was frightened by the army that had come to carry off his master. However, Elisha said, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” (2 Kings 6:16) Then Elisha prayed for the Lord to open the eyes of his servant. “So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17)
One of my favorite stories of something similar to this, in modern times, comes from Billy Graham’s book entitled Angels: God’s Secret Agents. Graham writes:
The Reverend John G. Paton, a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands, tells a thrilling story involving the protective care of angels. Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see the attackers unaccountably leave. They thanked God for delivering them.
A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Jesus Christ, and Mr. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, “Who were all those men you had with you there?” The missionary answered, “There were no men there; just my wife and I.” The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard—hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent His angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation. Could it be that God had sent a legion of angels to protect His servants, whose lives were being endangered?
I believe the answer is “yes”. Psalm 91 says,
If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
The question is: are we going to look at life in the natural or the supernatural? Are we going to walk by sight, or by faith? If we walk by faith and make the Lord our refuge, then we will know, even when we do not see them, that the Lord sends a legion of angels to guard us in the most perilous times of our lives.