2018-09-20 - We're Surrounded
Originally Published 2010-08-05
2 Kings 6:15-17 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" 16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see " And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (NASB)
Have you ever felt this way, like an army surrounds you and there is just no visible way of escape? The Bible speaks nothing about believers having an easy life because they are children of God. In fact we are told that the world will hate us even when we do good to them. It doesn't sound like a path covered in rose pedals to me.
This attendant, or servant, comes to Elisha in despair. The city is surrounded by an enemy army. The chariot was the technical strength of an army in this day. This was not just a large number of men. They were well armed and well trained. It was an overwhelming force sent to take Elisha back to their King. It is easy to see why the servant of Elisha was fearful.
Elisha saw what his attendant could not see.
Imagine the breathtaking sight when the attendant's eyes were opened. His mouth must have dropped open and his eyes must have been wide with wonder. The mountains surrounding the city were covered with angels and their horses pulling chariots of fire. The army that had come with every reason to believe they were superior and easily up to the task of capturing this one Prophet were in fact hopelessly surrounded themselves. The Prophet would lead the enemy army away blinded to the King of Israel.
Were the problems real? From the view of the servant there was no way to escape. The problems were insurmountable from that perspective, and yet they were overcome. In this case the problems were overcome quickly. In the case of Job the problems took much longer to be resolved. In both cases God was glorified and the problems were solved in His time. Job suffered terrible personal loss - his family was destroyed, his personal wealth was consumed and Job's health was devastated.
Job was restored twice everything he had lost, with the exception of a wife. He was given only one again. Elisha spared the enemy army, had them fed and sent them back to their King. The name of God was glorified in both cases. It was not for Elisha or Job that the victory was won.
Peter won his greatest victory surrounded by his enemies who thought they had beaten him. He was crucified upside down at his own request to honor Jesus. Peter said he was not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord. A stunned Coliseum saw Nero humiliated with a single stroke. Peter's mortal life was ended here and he walked into the waiting arms of his Savior victorious for the glory of Jesus Christ. Peter's display of faith in the face of death had to have made a profound impact on the attendees who had come to see Peter beg for his life.
Are we surrounded? In some areas of the world Christians are martyred daily. In other areas of the world speaking or teaching of Jesus will draw lashes if not execution. In other "more civilized" areas the attack is more subtle where laws are passed that regulate what is acceptable and free speech is carefully restricted. A world that is becoming more and more intolerant of our message of salvation wants it ears tickled (2 Tim 4:3). I can imagine an army of angels waiting for the Father to release them to rescue Jesus from the cross of Calvary. That call never came - for the glory of God and the benefit of the entire human race Jesus bleed and died in our places - and won.
Do we suffer from our own errors. That is one thing. Do our problems ultimately glorify God in the end? Then are we really surrounded?
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.