“If I ever get my hands on him…”
“You won’t know when. You won’t know where. But someday…”
Have you ever said these things? When we’ve been hurt, these are common thoughts to have. But they’re not the way God would have us live.
In this story, with the Aramean army surrounding the city Elisha was in, God struck them with blindness. I’m not sure whether it was complete blindness, or if it was a situation where God simply caused them to be unable to recognize what they were seeing, very much like how Mary Magdalene and the two men on the road to Emmaus could look right at Jesus and not recognize him. I kind of guess it was the latter, considering an entire army had to be escorted to Samaria, and that would’ve been tough if they were completely blind.
Then again, maybe the men of the city did escort the army down. Whatever the situation, King Joram had the Arameans in his hands. And with the Aramean army surrounded by his own, Joram asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them?” Perhaps he was thinking, “This is my chance to strike a huge blow against the Arameans, taking out a large part of the army.” Or “It would only serve them right. They attacked us; we didn’t attack them.”
But Elisha instead had them treat the Aramean army to a giant feast, and then sent them on their way.
Apparently, this so shamed the Arameans, that they would actually stop their attacks for a time.
When people ill-treat you, how do you respond? God doesn’t call us to act as the world does. Rather, he calls us to respond as his Son did. When Jesus was mocked, beaten, and put on a cross, he forgave his enemies. Not only that, he returned good for evil by paying the price for their sins by dying on the cross.
Remember the words of Paul who wrote,
Do not repay anyone evil for evil…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)