K is for Kings

k

Kings as in the books of. There are two books titled Kings and they are a detailed recounting of the rulers of the Kingdom of Israel (and eventually Judah as well, once the kingdom splits in two).in the lead up to Hess two books, the nation of Israel has had few kings, but things start to get juicy once the kings grow in power and in corruption. They are sad books in many ways. The people who God called aside for Himself had become corrupt and dissatisfied with Him and sought to emulate the ways of the world yet He is still engaged with them through the prophets He sends. You’d think the books would be better named ‘The Prophets’ since most of the stories from these two books are of the prophets interaction with the kings and the real protagonists tend to be the prophets as opposed to the rulers themselves.

One of my favorite stories of the prophets in the book of 2 Kings, which highlights some of the crazy adventures and strange happenings amongst the people of God at this peculiar time, is of an invading army seeking the death of the prophet Elisha (that’s right, remember the Bears?!?) who they knew was stirring up trouble for them.

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, ‘Strike this army with blindness.’ So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, ‘This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.’ And he led them to Samaria. After they entered the city, Elisha said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.’ Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?’ ‘Do not kill them,’ he answered. ‘Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.’ So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.” (2 Kings 6:15-23 NIV)

There are many other stories like this one, but the cool thing I gather from these type of stories is the power of an individual and the small implementations of power. Striking someone with fire is usually the image we have of God’s power, but the simple subtlety of the way that God moves to strike back and protect His people is pretty cool. A bloodless defense of the city and from this point forward, the enemy let them be. So often in games, the most flashy and usually violent method of eliminating a threat is our best option. It’s rare that something simple and out of the box is our first idea, but it does lend itself to something substantially more interesting as a resolution. Leaving space open for creativity in problem solving is challenging because it means leaving the door open to almost endless possibility, but it does enable some really cool opportunities and some engaging stories. How far out of the box would you be willing to allow your players to go to create some quirky and peculiar answers to some challenging problems?

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