2 Kings 6:14-17 Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. (15) And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? (16) And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. (17) And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
A few years ago, I went outside and saw a battle raging in our backyard. My son was dressed up in full battle gear, including a Nerf bazooka, camo clothes, plastic grenades, dog tags, a plastic handgun and machine gun, helmet and goggles. (Yes, despite the best efforts of various mother hens over the years, we still let our son play ‘soldier.’) As I watched, he emptied magazine after magazine, ran forward, dove into an irrigation ditch, launched plastic grenades, and even got shot three or four times with dramatic effect. Of course, all to his own various and impressive sound effects.
It was quite a battle.
My youngest daughter was standing by watching as well. I asked her, “What is Joe doing?” She answered, “He’s fighting an invisible army.” I laughed and asked, “All by himself?” She answered, “No, he has an invisible army on his side too.”
The Syrian king was tired of Elisha interfering with his war against Israel, so he sent an army down by night to capture the man of God. When Elisha’s servant went outside that morning, he saw that they were surrounded by a great host of soldiers, horsemen, and chariots. The servant responded with fear; Elisha responded with faith. The servant saw, but did not see; Elisha saw – by faith – what his servant could NOT see. By faith, the invisible army became visible.
Some helpful thoughts come to mind:
I. THE CHILD OF GOD IN THE WILL OF GOD IS NEVER OUTNUMBERED.
Invisible armies surround the Christian who is in the will of God. The apostle Paul reminds us,
Romans 8:31-37 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?… (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
This truth caused the unstoppable missionary/explorer David Livingstone to declare, “I am invincible in the will of God.” One night in 1856, Livingstone was surrounded by hostile and infuriated tribes in the wilds of Africa. Tempted to sneak away in the middle of the night, he instead wrote in his journal:
‘January 14, 1856. Evening. Felt much turmoil of spirit in prospect of having all my plans for the welfare of this great region and this teeming population knocked on the head by savages to-morrow. But I read that Jesus said: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honour, so there’s an end of it! I will not cross furtively to-night as I intended. Should such a man as I flee? Nay, verily, I shall take observations for latitude and longitude to-night, though they may be the last. I feel quite calm now, thank God!’
Facing the danger the next day, God protected Livingstone and he was able to continue his journey. Do we doubt that God intervened on his behalf? Do we doubt that God’s providence can help and protect us in the midst of our trials and difficulties, though all we can see are the hosts of problems before our eyes?
II. FAITH HAS EYES TO SEE WHAT THE NATURAL EYES CANNOT SEE.
Elisha’s servant could only see the host of Syria. Elisha saw more: “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kings 6:16). The servant was walking by sight alone; Elisha was walking by faith.
How do you look at your problems? Do you look at your faith through your problems, or your problems through your faith? When we look at our faith through our problems, our vision becomes distorted and our faith becomes shaky. However, when we look at our problems through our faith, they come into clear focus. The promises of God become the lens through which I see the problem. I can look at my problems without faith, or I can look at them through my faith in the Word of God and the God of the Word.
III. WHEN WE CAN’T SEE THE INVISIBLE, WE NEED THE HELP OF THOSE WHO CAN.
The servant went to Elisha; Elisha prayed for him and helped him to see clearly. When our vision gets distorted, we need the help of those who can still see clearly. Sometimes, in the midst of problems, heartaches, setbacks, frustrations, we can lose perspective. I am thankful for pastors who have helped me see when I could not see clearly; I am also thankful today for friends whose faith helps me when I struggle to see things as they really are at times.
God will probably never allow us to see, in this life, His angelic armies like chariots of fire around our lives, but He has given us a Book of promises such as, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalms 34:7). When you can’t see, TRUST.
Thank you for reading. God bless.