and notes a falling sparrow, sympathizes with His humblest creatures, and is both able and willing to help if they seek Him in their troubles, however trifling they may seem to others. II. FOREWARNED, FOREARMED. 1. Syria and Israel were waging a guerilla warfare. Benhadad made his plans and set his ambushes to capture King Jehoram. But He who knows men's "thoughts a f ar off," Psa. 139:2, who seeth in secret, Dan. 2:22, • told E'lisha; he in turn told Jehoram, who eluded the trap "not once nor twice." Why God still shielded this wicked king? Because He is longsuffering and forebear- ing and would by His merciful deliverance turn him to repentance. So He ever deals with godless men until, no hope of their sal- 4. We are daily moving among the snares set by the world, the flesh and the devil and the prophets and apostles inspired of God have forewarned us that we may not be "ignorant of their ' devices," 2 Cor. 2:11. The whole campaign of the "spiritualities and powers" against which we fight, Eph. 6:12, is mapped out In the Book of Proverbs. Let every youth study t h at chart t h at he may save himself "not once nor twice." "Enter not Into the path of the wicked ; avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away," Prov. 4:14, 15; "Look not thou upon the wine- when it is red, . . . at the last it stingeth like an adder," Prov. 23:31, 30; "Your adversary the devil like a roaring lion goeth about," 1 Pet. 5:8; "The snare of the devil,'? 2 Tim. 2:26; "Wherefore, put on the whole armor of God . . . stand against the wiles of the devil," Eph. 6:11. (See Prov. 1:17:) III. THE BELIEVER'S BODY GUARD. 1. Benhadad's Blunder. There are no fools like those who "fight against God." They are always "hoist with their own petard. They fall into their own traps, Psa. 7:15; vation remains. should believe a lle,' T 2 Thess. 2:11. Wh at a. delusion to suppose the prophet himself, who told Jehoram wh at Benhadad said in secret could be "ignorant of his devices' against himself! Or t h at He who "seeth In secret" could not deliver His servant, Dan 2:22. B ut this incident shows how Anti- Christ and his host can actually w ar against the manifest Christ oome down from heaven; "strong delusion" will make him mad, Bev. ' 9 1 9 2. Deliverance at Dothan. "When the enemy comes in like a flood the Lord shall lift up a standard against him, Isa. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him," Psa. 34:7. "He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee," Luke 4:10. "Are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister to then that shall be heirs of salvation," Heb. 1-14 That these angels are real, and this safeguarding a reality, our text and m a ny incidents go' to nrove. See Gen. 19:1b; 28:1.!, 32?'; f'«n 6:22; Ma r* 1:13; Matt. 18:20; Acts 5:19; 12:7, etc., etc. "How oft do they their silver bowers leave And come to succor us who succor.went; How oft do they on golden pinions cleave The flitting skies; like flying pursuivant Against foul fiends to aid us militant; They • fight for us; they watch and duly And W round about us their bright squadrons plant; 59.19 Ecc. 10:8. Their Almighty delusion Antagonist that they "sends them strong
And all for love and nothing for reward; Oh, why should heavenly God to us have such regard?" 3. Let us not forget these blessed facts when the Syrians of sin and sorrow shut us in. Then we shall not say, "Alas!" with Elisha's terrified servant. The Lord opened nis eyes and recorded his spectacle in order t h at faith's eyes might see forever more t h at "they be with us are more t h an they t h at be with them." "Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." IV. THE TRAPPERS TRAPPED. 1. The Prophet went boldly out in the face of thè enemy. And why should n ot a m an be bold around whom camp the "bright squad- rons" of the F a t h e r 's legions? Matt. 26:53. 2. E'lisha, who prayed t h at the young 'man might see, now asked t h at . the Syrians might not see. They were struck blind. !Not with physical blindness but mental; a confusion of the understanding fell 'upon liiem. And this is the most apt symbol of sinful blindness. Sinners, like the gods they worship, "have eyes, but they see not," Psa. 115 :o; Jno. 12:40; Rom. 1:21, 11:10; Eph. 4:18. Such darkness is far more dismal and dangerous t h an physical darkness. The Syrians did 'not mean it so, but su.ch blind men could nòt do better t h an submit to be led by the prophet of the Lord. 3. Elisha did not lie to t h em; he led t h em to his city and where they could find him, "and" (He- brew, not "but") he led them to Samaria." They would have trapped Elisha in Dothan; he trapped t h em in Samaria. 4. Heaping Coals of Fire, Rom. 12:12. (1) Elisha now prayed t h at they might see. All divine judgments but the final one are designed to lead the wicked to see error and confess Gòd's righteousness and mercy. (2) But the wicked again, like Jehoram, ha.ve no mercy on. their fellow sinners and would use their misfortunes to gratify their own lusts. Or if enemies, they know no way to subdue them b ut returning evil for evil, "óhall I smite them?" (3) Elisha reproved the revengeful and bloody proposal, and commanded t h at the Syrian foe should be killed, conquered, by kindness and en- tertained as guests. "Forgive your enemies; do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despltefully use you and perse- cute you," Matt. 5:44. Syria set siege to Sa- maria. So soon do men forget a kindness, and so slow are they to learn the fear ór the Lord. There was great distress in the city. Abominable foods were sold a t great prices. Mothers quarreled over eating their own babes (such horrors belong to war) as Moses predicted, Deut. 28:52-54. The de- spairing king charged all to Elisha and or- dered his execution. Whereas he himself Was the wicked cause, and Elisha his best friend. In a saner mome nt he repented his passion and happily overtook the executioner and stayed the process. Beware of an evil temper and of sudden passion; one cannot always stay its consequences. 2. 'The Feast. (1) Elisha promised plenty within t w e n t y- four hours. So improbable an event t h at a courtier said, "If God should open windows in heaven might this thing be. By which he meant t h at he did not believe thè m an V. FROM FAMINE TO FEAST. 1. The Famine.
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