Imagine waking up one morning to find yourself surrounded by a swat team of thousands about to storm your house. It happened to Elisha and his servant. One morning the servant wakes up and figures he’ll get some coffee going then read the morning papyrus. But as he looks out the kitchen window, he sees the glint of sun on spearhead. They’re surrounded by the great Syrian army, whose assignment is to take out Elisha. A stab of fear pierces the servant’s heart.
“How’s that coffee coming?” asks Elisha as he stumbles into the kitchen in his bathrobe. “I hope it’s good and strong. Why are you just standing there with your mouth open? What’s wrong, did you spill the coffee? Or did you accidentally serve me Maxwell House? Come on, why the terrified look?”
The servant stammers, ““Alas, my master! What shall we do?” (They said “Alas” a lot back then. It basically means “Yikes” or “Aaaaaargh”).
“Do about what?”, says Elisha as he slowly pours his coffee, squinting out the kitchen window. “Ahhh, it’s those pesky Syrians again. Hey, where’d you put the Sweet ‘n Low?”
The servant whines, “How can you think about Sweet ‘n Low at a time like this? Master, Alas, alas, alas! We’re cooked – dead meat – Syrian fodder.”
Elisha puts a scoop of sweetener into his steaming mug, blows across the top, then takes a careful sip. Then he says, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
The servant runs again to the back window, looking left and right. He doesn’t see anything except Syrian banners, spears, chariots, and campfires. “Pardon me master, and I might add one more ‘alas,’ but, where might be ‘those who are with us?’”
Elisha says, “How is a man supposed to enjoy his morning coffee with all these questions, boy?” Then Elijah prays, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”
“So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17).
“Now, boy,” says Elisha, “can I please drink my coffee?”