My 2 Bits
Elisha’s Triple Play
I gave a devotional this morning to our student body about Elisha from 2 Kings 6. What an amazing servant of the Lord!
We find in this short passage 3 prayers of the prophet: “Open his eyes”, “Close their eyes,” and “Open their eyes.” This defenseless prophet and his servant were in the little town of Dothan, suddenly surrounded by a whole army of their enemies from Syria. The servant goes out of the house on some small chore to find –Soldiers! Troops! Tanks! (That’s what chariots were like in those days.) He cries out to his master in a panic: What are we going to do?! Elisha then says something dumb: “Fear not.” (v.16) One can just sense the servant’s voice hit fever pitch: “WHAT?! Fear not?! What kind of response is that to an army?!”
Can’t you just identify with this guy? Don’t we sometimes feel this way in our relationship with God, when we face insurmountable problems? “Lord, it’s all well and good about my emotional state, but those are REAL spears out there! Those are real chariots and horses! Those are our enemies, and they are trained killers! “Fear not”?!”
This was a favorite phrase of Jesus to the disciples: “Fear not!” Why should they NOT fear? Here’s why: Jesus said, “Fear not, for I am with you.” It sounds stupid… unless you really know Jesus and you know what that means. If you really know just WHO Jesus is… just how much power Jesus has… just how wise and Good He is… that he is Present with us even now… then you will know there is nothing to fear. Even Death may kill us, but it cannot overcome us. But it is not death that awaits Elisha and his servant here.
First, Elisha says something even “dumber”: “Greater are those with us than those that are with them” (v.16).
“Now let me see…” [you can hear the servant counting]… “You, that’s ONE, and me, that’s ONE. I’m not real good at math, but I think that makes only TWO!!! Two, compared to a thousand or so troops in chariots? Maybe I’m missing something, but I think the two of us will be killed about 250 times apiece!”
Then, Elisha prays the first prayer: “Open his eyes, that he may see” (v.17). Were his eyes closed? Was the servant blind? No. He saw very well that those were REAL chariots and horses and spears. But there was something else he did NOT see! What? He did not see something that was even MORE REAL! He did not see the spiritual Reality.
We are so accustomed to seeing only with our physical eyes, aren’t we? We are so used to thinking the only “real” things are those we can measure and taste and touch and smell with physical senses. According to Elisha, however, his servant was “blind” to these things. Did he need glasses? No. Did he need to look harder with his physical eyes, or a telescope, or to get closer? No. The prophet’s prayer was, “LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes.” It is the work of God to open our eyes to see what others can’t. Even we cannot MAKE ourselves see! It is the work of God’s own Holy Spirit. We CAN pray for it, however, and God is more than happy to give it when we ask. Do we WANT to see things as they really are? We may need to get that sight from God, and not from our own squinting.
Here is what the servant finally saw when God opened his eyes: “Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (v.17) Nobody was going to touch HIM! God’s own army was there! Many MORE were with them than were with their enemies! There was nothing to fear, really!
When the enemy troops approached, then, Elisha prayed his second prayer: “Lord, make them blind!” And the whole army went blind! He then led them away to Samaria, and Elisha prayed the third prayer, “Lord, let them see.” When they open their eyes, there they are in Samaria, the capital city, where they are captured by Israel’s army (v.20). They are so humbled and humiliated (and awed by God’s power) that their lives are spared, they report to their king, and Syria stops attacking Israel. God is glorified, and his people are spared.
But here’s the point: when we face trouble, we are not alone. But it is only God who can show us the REAL situation. It is not we who must tell God what the situation is all about. He already knows all that. He just needs us to call out, “Lord, help me to see YOU in the middle of this situation! Show me what is Really Real!”
We need to pray as the Psalmist did, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” (Ps 121:1f)
May God help you today, in your situation, to know this: God hasn’t changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. May your eyes be opened to see it and enjoy it today.
- ClayQ, Kyiv, Ukraine, May 26, 2008
- Category: My 2 Bits
An Atypical “Day on the Road” – ALL across Europe!
After Midnight in Costa del Sol, Spain
by Clay Quarterman, April 8th, 2008
As I flew over Paris tonight, I looked straight down on the Eiffel Tower, shining and sparkling in the center of “the City of Lights”. All around the city were clouds, but Paris had clear skies, as an oasis in the darkness. I could only think, though, of all those who live there in spiritual darkness, without knowing God personally—in spite of all the religion and beauty that surrounds them. Pray for France.
But it struck me how similar was the group with which I traveled – shining as lights in a dark world (Philippians 2:15). Let me explain.
I spent the day today waiting in airports—mostly in Paris—with Ukrainian leaders and missionaries. I left home at 7 a.m. from Odessa with Pastor George Kadyan and my teammate Bob Burnham. We flew to Kyiv and found the only “Mr. Donut” in Ukraine for breakfast and coffee. YUM! Eric Huber, Mel Pike, and Dutch missionary Cor Harryvan joined us, and we flew to Paris. After waiting 6 hours there, we flew on to Spain, but we had to wait there an extra hour for 2 Greek pastors flying in from Athens. So we had a snack and visited once again. What a LOOONG Day!
On the shuttle ride, we spoke with the Greek men of their work, the Greek commentaries they were writing, the pupils they are teaching, and we discovered we had a friend in common—my next-door neighbor from Jackson, MS, Van Rusling.
It was a day of interesting conversation, evaluating, reminiscing, dreaming together, planning. It was a work day, but pleasant and strange. At one point, we thought, Wow! In this place and at this moment, we are ALL foreigners! How refreshing to be on equal ground. That’s a lot like the Church of Jesus Christ – we are all Pilgrims!
But it was also a day of Light. How refreshing to serve with such men—even as pilgrims traveling around Europe in order to find new ways we can cooperate with others to spread this Light of the Gospel further. Our church has matured, but our job is not done. So SHINE!
- Category: My 2 Bits