When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them?…Do not kill them,” he answered… “Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their masteR.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.” From 2 Kings 6
The Arameans had come to kill Elisha. God had used Elisha to thwart their attacks on Israel several times and finally the king of Aram had had enough. He sent a massive army to hunt Elisha down. When Elisha wakes up and sees the army surrounding the city he is staying in, he asks God to blind the entire army, and God does. Then Elisha goes out to the army and tells them, “You are in the wrong place…follow me…I will lead you” And he leads his enemies straight into the capitol of Israel. He then asks God to open their eyes.
The king of Israel, wants to slaughter the army. After all, they are at war and now their enemy is inside the walls of the city. The kings response seems pretty normal. But Elisha has a different plan. He throws them a feast. And then he sends them home, safe, unharmed, and well fed.
I don’t know who your enemies are…Maybe you have a neighbor you can’t stand or a coworker who is always getting under your skin. Or maybe you just have “momentary” enemies, like a terrible waiter, or a cashier who was beyond rude to you, or a guy who cuts you off on the way to work. We all have those moments where rage swells up inside of us and we can sympathize with the king of Israel. Moments where revenge seems like the best option.
But as I read this passage, I keep being struck by that feast Elisha throws. A feast! He doesn’t just give them stale bread and water he throws them a feast. He goes above and beyond to show love and grace to his enemies. Men who mere hours before were hunting Elisha down to kill him. But I think in this moment Elisha is listening to God’s heart. God’s heart is always one of grace and forgiveness.
The Bible says that when we are stuck in our sin we are His enemies. He are estranged, cut off from relationship with Him. And God has every right to punish us, but instead He sent His Son to be punished for us. He went above and beyond to get you and I back.
So I have two questions for us this week. First how are you responding to God’s selfless act of reconciliation? Have you wrestled with that yet? Can you name a defining moment in your life where you received His free gift of Salvation and forgiveness? This is different from just being a “good person” or just going to church sporadically. I am talking about a moment where you know you went from being God’s enemy to His friend, His son or daughter. If you have never made that decision I want to encourage you to take a few minutes, tell God you are sorry for the ways you have sinned, thank Him for his sacrifice, and receive Him as your Lord and Savior.
Second of all, I want you to carry that image with you this week. A feast for your enemies. I know my first gut reaction with some people is far from a feast. But I love that metaphor. That’s how I want to treat people who hurt me, throw them a feast! That could look different for all of us, but even something as simple as just being loving to someone when they are not I think has power. Will you join me in throwing a feast for our enemies?
Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice, your sweet gift of your life when I was your enemy. Would you be reminding me of this image this week. Would you continually change me more into a woman who stops throwing stones at her enemies and starts throwing feasts!
Our blog is written by pastor Jonathan’s wife, Erika. She runs our Family Ministries at Cornerstone and is also a busy stay at home mom. She is excited about seeing families experience God together in practical, life changing ways! Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Pinterest.