Posted by: karanoel | October 3, 2018

And they saw.

There is a fantastic story in 2 Kings 6. The king of Aram’s war plans against Israel kept getting thwarted because the strategies he laid out privately in his chamber were told by the prophet Elisha to Israel’s king, giving Israel a continual upper hand. After learning the identity and location of this prophetic informant, the king of Aram “sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.” When Elisha’s servant got up early and went out the next morning, he saw the army surrounding the city and exclaimed, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” Elisha responded with the seemingly absurd and out-of-touch statement, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder what the servant thought about that statement. Maybe he had been with Elisha for a while and knew to expect some crazy, miraculous God thing to unfold. Or maybe he felt the intense pressure of the situation and looked at the undeniable fact that there were only two men against an entire army, and simply couldn’t reconcile Elisha’s statement with reality… which is a place I think we often find ourselves. It’s that tension between what the Lord says is true and what we see with our own eyes. He tells us not to fear and declares our victory, which is fairly easy to believe when all is well and under control. But what about when trials come like an army full of horses and chariots, surrounding us in the night; when we feel their strength pressing in on our weakness? At that point, “do not fear” probably sounds unreasonable and any victory seems out of reach.

But after Elisha made that kind of crazy statement, he followed up with a prayer that the Lord would open up the eyes of the servant.  “And he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” Before that moment, the servant could only see what was going on in the natural, which was undoubtedly a desperate situation. It put him in a place of defense; of reaction. Seeing the provision of a heavenly army – one that far exceeded the power and number of the one they faced – transformed his understanding so he could join Elisha in a position of bold offense. They had always had the upper hand; the servant just hadn’t been able to see it before.

fiery chariot

This is incredibly relevant to us. In our desperate situations, the odds against us can seem so overwhelming that the only logical response is to take a defensive position against the onslaught. Our prayers might sound like the servant who, in one translation, says “We are doomed, sir! What shall we do?” We often plead for a change in the circumstance, but what if what we need most is a change in our vision – to see the abundant heavenly resources already at our disposal? When our eyes are opened, we suddenly recognize our identity and our position. We are no longer feeble victims trying to stand our ground against a fierce foe, but warriors working with strength and strategy to gain new ground. Not that we have any of it in ourselves. We are actually best positioned for this revolution from a place of utter weakness, where we have no natural ability to tackle the problem at hand; where we need Jesus. Because HE is our strength; HE is our provision; HE is – and has always been – our upper hand. We just weren’t able to recognize it before. It is through our trials that we come to see.

Okay, back to the story. As the enemy army began to advance, Elisha prayed to the Lord that they would be blinded, which they were, and told them that they came to the wrong place; that he would lead them to the man they were seeking. He then led the blinded lot of them to Samaria and hand delivered them to the king of Israel, where their eyes were opened (there seemed to be a lot of eye-opening and eye-closing going on that day!) and they realized that once again Israel had the upper hand. Instead of killing them, the king followed Elisha’s directive to feed them and send them back to their master. The passage ends with these words, “And the marauding band of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel. “

Breathe that in a moment. And then step back to the morning when the servant was looking out with a sinking heart over the army surrounding him. He couldn’t have known how dramatically his understanding – and his situation – would be transformed. But God did. He just had to help the servant see as He had seen all along. The unique kind of victory alway born of the Spirit naturally followed. Now fast forward to whatever army surrounds you. It may look hopeless in your estimation. But it doesn’t to God. He is able, just as He was for Elisha and his servant, to help you see the mighty resources at your disposal that are more than a match for whatever it is you face. This is not wishful thinking or an empty hope, but a heavenly reality, visible only through eyes of faith, that reveals our position in Christ and completely transforms the way we battle. So we ask, Lord, that you would open our eyes. And they saw….


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