“How will God do it?” That was his question. Perhaps it was everyone’s question.
The city’s survivors had become discouraged.
They needed a miracle but couldn’t imagine how it would happen.
II Kings chapter 7 tells the story.
“Hear the word of the LORD,” the man of God said. The message, directed at those with ears to hear, rang with power. But who had ears to mix the words with faith?
“Tomorrow about this time food is going to sell for pennies,” he basically told them.
But the lord on whose hand the king leaned would not believe his ears.
“Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” he asked.
In other words, “How will God do it?”
He couldn’t see how God would do it, for the famine was too great. Even if He was to rain manna down from heaven, would it be enough?
The famine in Samaria had lasted a long time. The city was besieged. They had very little food. Only when cannibalism set in and the king heard of it did anyone seem to think of asking Elisha for help. He could have asked for his help when the siege hit. Instead, he waited until things were really bad. Then, instead of asking Elisha for help, he blamed him.
Why did he blame Elisha? Perhaps it’s because these were the same people who had attacked his land before, only this time there were more of them. It started when the king of Syria began sending small groups of troops into Israel in hopes of capturing the king. But God always told Elisha where they set up their camp. Elisha in turn warned the king, enabling him to avoid capture. Once the Syrian king got wind of what was happening, he sent his men to capture Elisha. But this man of God who had ears to hear and eyes to see into the spirit realm struck them with blindness. When they opened their eyes, they found themselves in Samaria, the capital of Israel.
When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I smite them?”
But Elisha told him to feed them and let them go, which is what he did.
Afterwards, “the bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.” (II Kings 6:23)
Sometimes after this, however, Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathered his entire army and besieged Samaria. That’s what caused the famine.
Was the king of Israel angry that Elisha had let the first group of Syrians go? Probably.
“We could have gotten them, taught the a lesson, and sent the Syrian king a message!” I can imagine him saying.
But of course, he didn’t bother to ask Elisha’s opinion until the situation became desperate, and now all he wanted to do was kill him.
Not surprisingly, Elisha knew what he was thinking before he even said it, and he had an answer ready in the form of the above-mentioned prophetic word.
When the lord on whom the king leaned asked “How will God do it?”, Elisha replied, “You’ll see it with your own eyes but will not eat of it.”
Sure enough, God did a miracle. He supplied the food, all right. But the man who didn’t believe got trampled at the gate. He saw the miracle but never got to enjoy the fruit of it.
By asking, “How will God do it?” in a way that implied it was impossible, because it was something his natural mind couldn’t wrap itself around, he robbed himself of faith and missed his miracle.
You and I don’t have to miss our miracle, however, because Jesus Christ has come – not to condemn us but to give us grace. If we ask Him, He will help us overcome our unbelief.
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” (I Corinthians 1:21)