Elisha, the Arameans and the Chariots of Fire (2 Kings 6:8 – 23)

Scripture Text:

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2 Kings 6:8 – 23

1. What might qualify or disqualify you from being a spy?

2. Did you ever receive directions that were totally wrong? Did you find your way, after all?

3. What about this story do you find most amazing?

  • the way the prophet Elisha knew the Arameans’ every move
  • the presence of the heavenly hosts around Elisha
  • that Elisha and his servant were able to see the heavenly hosts
  • that the Arameans were blinded
  • that Elisha was able to lead the enemy into Samaria – Israel’s capital
  • that the Israelites had a feast for their enemies and then sent them home

4. Why is the king of Israel so well prepared for war (verses 8 – 10)? Why does this enrage Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram?

5. Why does Ben-Hadad suspect it’s the work of a double agent (verse 11)? Why should be believe the claim that Elisha was the culprit?

6. What made the king of Aram the most upset?

  • he couldn’t defeat Israel
  • he suspected a snitch in his army
  • he discovered his bedroom had been bugged

7. What is Ben-Hadad’s solution (verses 13 and 14)? Why does he think he can sneak up on Elisha? Does he (verse 15)?

8. How would you feel when Elisha said, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them”?

  • Elisha is dreaming
  • Our troops must be on the way
  • Elisha knows something I don’t
  • I wish I had Elisha’s faith

9. What two miracles does Elisha perform and for whose benefit (verses 17, 18)? What do you make of this “vision” and “blindness”?

10. Was Elisha’s deception in verse 19 okay? Why should the soldiers believe him”?

11. What would you call Elisha’s leading the Arameans to Samaria?

  • brilliant
  • sneaky
  • funny
  • mean
  • inspired
  • incredible

12. In what situation do you need some heavenly “horses and chariots of fire” to help you? If they were at your command, how would you deploy them?

13. Why weren’t the Arameans killed?

  • they were captured by the Lord, not through a human battle
  • Israel “turned the other cheek”
  • better to “kill them with kindness”
  • it caused the Arameans to stop raiding Israel’s territory

14. What makes it easier to be kind to your adversaries?

  • when I have the upper hand
  • when I realize the spiritual dimension of the conflict
  • when I take time to pray for them
  • when I think about my blessings

15. Does being one of God’s people mean always having the upper hand? Explain.

16. Is a little deception okay, when it achieves a worthwhile goal?

17. What military strategy is Elisha modeling which applies to the evangelism efforts of you and your church?

18.  Is love always stronger than violence? Why doe we resort to violence more readily than love?

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The Vision of Obadiah: Part 2 (Obadiah 15 – 21)

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Obadiah 15 – 21

1. Where is your ‘spiritual’ home? How long have you been away from there? What was your reunion like the last time you went there?

2. What experience, if any, have you or your church had in helping to relocate ‘exiles’?

3. What new parameters do you see in ‘the day of the Lord’, as used in verse 15? By what logic will it come upon Edom?

4. To whom is this word addressed? How are the house of Esau and the house of Jacob contrasted here?

5. What would Edom have drunk on Mount Zion (verse 16)? Is this drinking language meant literally or figuratively? Why do you think so (see Jeremiah 25:15, 16)? What is the message intended by this language?

6. If Edom’s allies will defeat her (verse 7), who will finish the job (verses 19 – 21)? How total will be their ultimate defeat?

7. In what ways would the return of the exiles (verses 19ff) be a social event? A political event? A theological event?

8. Just as Judah waited for the “Day of the Lord” in this passage, what “Day of the Lord” do you await?

9. In your opinion, is that day too far away to be concerned about? Or is it “right around the corner”? In either event, what are you doing and “drinking” (verse 16) in preparation for that day?

10. Who are some displaced persons today? What hope might Obadiah say to those who encouraged their displacement?

11. How would you respond if God called you to share a message like Obadiah’s with some people today? What audience might be ripe for that message? How do you think they would respond?

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The Vision of Obadiah: Part 1 (Obadiah 1 – 14)

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Obadiah 1 – 14

“Obadiah” is the shortest book in the Old Testament. And while there are 11 other Old Testament characters with the name “Obadiah”, none of them can be identified with this prophet. Obadiah has two main concerns:

  • the haughty pride of the Edomites (who resided in the mountain strongholds in Mount Seir) have given them a false sense of security
  • their quickness to aid those who would destroy Judah

An interesting piece of trivia: In Obadiah’s time, the city of Sela was the capital of Edom. It was later called Petra or the Rose City. One of the most famous cities of the ancient world, the Smithsonian Magazine chose it as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die.”

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1. Where was your safe place of retreat as a child? Why there? Where is such a place for you now?

2. Is there one day that stands out as a day of disaster for your family? For your nation? What happened that day: Flood? Fire? Stock market crash? Serious accident? A notorious crime or terrorist attack? What good came of it?

3. Who are the Edomites named after (see Genesis 36:1, 8, 9)? What was the relationship like between Jacob and Esau (see Genesis 27:41 – 44; Genesis 33:4, 16, 17a)?

4. In reference to Question #3, what does Hebrews 12:15 – 17 say about this brotherly relationship? About the bitterness and godlessness of Esau?

5. What natural fortifications give Edom an illusion of security (verse 3)? To whom are they still vulnerable (verses 4 and 7)?

6. What is the point of Obadiah’s eagle imagery (verse 4; compare with Isaiah 40:30, 31)? What message is intended by the poetic imagery in verses 5 and 6?

7. What happens “in that day” of the Lord’s judgment (verses 8ff)? Why is this judgment coming upon Edom? Do you find Edom’s bad attitude toward Judah surprising? Why or why not? What does this tell you about the history of relations between these two nations?

8. How do you think Israel responded to this message of doom for Edom?

9. Upon what rock-like structures might you be basing your security: insurance policy? church? family inheritance? How might this “pride of your heart” be deceiving you?

10. Has that security been shaken by God? How so?

11. Edom was judged for not serving brother Jacob when Jacob as down and out. What down-and-out persons should you be serving? How might you begin to serve them this week?

12. How do you respond when disaster befalls someone you know?

  • avoid the disaster, lest you also get hit
  • rescue the perishing
  • comfort the bereaved
  • do what you can to prevent the disaster from happening again

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