Your God upholds the righteous but brings to nothing the ways of the wicked. So hold fast to that which is true. Reject every wicked way and behold the salvation of your God.
Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?”
II Kings 6:11
As we enter the final month of the year and the Christmas holiday, the minds of many turn back to the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke and the accounts of Christ’s incarnation and birth. One of the most violent episodes in Judaea’s history came at that time when the wise men ignored King Herod’s command to return to him with word on the whereabouts of the King of the Jews. In his rage King Herod initiated one of the greatest massacres in ancient times, killing all the male children in his realm two years old and younger.
Any king or ruler who has studied any amount of history knows their own days are numbered and their power is quickly taken away. Wicked rulers know that as they have used subversion against their enemies so their enemies will likely do the same to them. They are constantly concerned with intrigue and conspiracy from those closest to them for that is likely the way they will meet their end.
On the one hand then our text today does not immediately present something altogether new to ancient Kings. Spies and conspiracy were a common factor in the daily military maneuvers of great armies. When the enemy appears once at the location of the surprise attack it could be seen as a wise strategic decision of the enemy. But when it happens many times, it means only one thing, a traitor must be in the camp.
Elisha warned the king of Israel many times of Syria’s next move and Ben-Hadad was greatly troubled. He demanded a confession from the spy. Who was feigning allegiance to Syria and working as an agent of Israel?
The mind of the wicked must always resort to such conclusions. They cannot imagine the Living and True God working against them and bringing their days, deeds, and desires to nothing so they assume men are secretly trying to harm them. In our day, people will blame “bad luck” for problems. They might blame the current political party in power, family members, or a whole host of conspiracies and conspirators for they cannot imagine that the Lord has set Himself against them. After all, they have denied the Lord, in many cases even denying His existence. So their hearts are troubled as they demand answers to their problems.