9. JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.
II Kings 6:17,21 - "And Elisha prayed, and said, 'LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.' Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha...Now when the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, 'My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?'"
Merely because you have the power to do something doesn't mean that it is the best course to pursue. There are two examples of this principle in this context. First, just because those on Israel's side were more numerous than their enemy did not mean that they should destroy them on the field of battle. Second, once their enemy was at their mercy inside Samaria, they could have easily killed them all. But, they did not do so. Instead they treated them well, which leads us to our next practical lesson.
10. THE BEST WAY TO DESTROY AN ENEMY IS TO TREAT HIM KINDLY.
II Kings 6:23 - "Then he prepared a great feast for them; and after they ate and drank, he sent them away and they went to their master. So the bands of Syrian raiders came no more into the land of Israel."
This act of kindness certainly made an impact upon these Syrian raiders, for they didn't come back. Although trying to overpower our enemies is one way to destroy them, a much more effective way is to kill them with kindness, so to speak (cf. Rom. 12:17-21). He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
11. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT A REAL FAMINE IS UNTIL YOU'VE BOUGHT BIRD DROPPINGS OR THOUGHT ABOUT EATING YOUR CHILD.
II Kings 6:25,28,29 - "And there was a great famine in Samaria; and indeed they besieged it until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a kab of dove droppings for five shekels of silver...Then the king said to her, 'What is troubling you?' And she answered, 'This woman said to me, "Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.' So we boiled my son, and ate him. And I said to her on the next day, "Give your son, that we may eat him"; but she has hidden her son.'"
Admittedly, I have no idea what a real famine is like. I cannot imagine purchasing dove droppings or becoming so hungry that I would eat a child. Yet, such was the reality Samaria faced due to their wickedness (cf. Deut. 28:53ff). Let us all thank the Lord for the blessings He provides, and walk in righteousness.
12. PERSECUTION IS OFTEN GETTING BLAMED FOR SOMETHING YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR.
II Kings 6:31 - "Then he said, 'God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on him today!'"
The king was upset at the suffering of his people, but he blamed the wrong person. This reminds me of Ahab's treatment of Elijah (cf. I Kings 18:17,18). Today, let us graciously accept punishment for that which is right (e.g., Acts 5:40-42; cf. John 15:18-20).
13. GOD CAN MAKE EVEN THE MOST SEEMINGLY RIDICULOUS PROPOSITION COME TO PASS.
II Kings 7:2,16 - "So an officer on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, 'Look, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, could this thing be?' And he said, 'In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it'...Then the people went out and plundered the tents of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD."
The skeptics could not imagine how things could change this radically in 24 hours. How could they go from extreme poverty to excessive wealth overnight? But, God had a plan and He executed it! The tents of the Syrians would be plundered and suddenly there would be more than plenty for everyone. Friends, there are always doubters of God's power--don't be one of them!