by Steven Chan
The Bible tells us in 2 Kings 6:24-7:20 of the occasion when the Syrian army besieged Samaria, the capital of the Israel (also known as the Northern Kingdom) such that the famine among the people was very bad:-
24 And it happened after this that Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 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.
The prophet Elisha then prophesied that the Lord would deliver Israel but an officer expressed his doubt that God would deliver them:-
“Then Elisha said, “Hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord: ‘Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.’”
2 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?”
Why did the officer doubt the words of the prophet Elisha? It is probably not difficult to understand why he doubted. The siege had been going on for some time – and there had been no deliverance. The situation had worsened to the extent that the famine was then really bad. Now, in the mind of the officer, the situation was “beyond redemption”. Under such an apparently hopeless situation, the officer imagined that the only way the famine could be overcome was for God to “make windows in heaven” and poured down the food for the people – which he presumably thought unlikely to happen. That’s why Elisha told him: “In fact, you shall see it with your eyes, but you shall not eat of it.” The officer paid the price of his unbelief when he was trampled to death by the people who rushed to get to the food (2 Kings 7:17)
As it happened the Lord did deliver Israel from the Syrian army. But it did not require the Lord to “make windows in heaven”. The apostle Paul observed in Rom 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearch able are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” The Lord does not have to deliver in the way that man may think He should. His ways are not our ways (Isa 55:8-9). We should learn to trust God and lean not on our own understanding (Prov 3:5). The officer of Israel thought that the only way God could deliver His people was to “make windows in heaven”.
The Bible tells us how God did it:-
“ For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses—the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!” 7 Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact—their tents, their horses, and their donkeys—and they fled for their lives.” (2 Kings 7:6-7)
It did not require God to “make windows in heaven”. God’s wisdom is far superior to man’s. He has more options than man can possibly think of. So, it is important that we do not commit the same folly as the officer of Israel by limiting God’s workings to the only way we think possible. When we pray for deliverance, let us leave it to God to deliver us in the way that He in His infinite wisdom deems fit or appropriate in any particular situation.
Past precedent is not necessarily a definitive guide to how God would deliver in the future. In Exodus 17:6-7, at the beginning of their journey to the Promised Land the people had cried out for water and the Lord told Moses to strike the rock so that water may come out from it: “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
However, in Numbers 20:8-12, at the Meribah at Kadesh (which is different from the earlier Meribah), God told Moses to “speak to the rock” in order for water to come out but Moses disobeyed God when he “struck the rock” instead (just as he had done earlier) – and for that, God told Moses that he could not enter the Promised Land:
“Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” 9 So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.
10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
All these accounts are recorded so that we may learn to trust and obey our Lord and not lean onto our own understanding. So, let’s not think that God must “make windows in heaven” in order to provide for us or to deliver us. He has promised that He will not forsake us (Heb 13:5-6). He is able to do much more than we think: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21). Our God is truly Almighty! Let us trust Him implicitly.