All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
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. (2 Kings 6:15-17)
This is a powerful set of verses used, for the most part, to remind the church that 1) there is more going on around us than we are aware of; and, 2) that God is greater than our enemies. Both are true; however, being the forgetful people that we are, we need the reminders. So, my pastor used these verses last week to reminded us of these things in a sermon called “Surrounded”.
However, something struck me anew about these verses. What they have to say about Elisha and his relationship to God and, what they have to say about us.
The thing that I noticed about Elisha is that Elisha’s servant needed to have his eyes opened so he could see the mighty work of God, but … Elisha didn’t. Elisha could already see. He already knew.
Elisha’s relationship with God was such that God revealed to him all that was going on around him; physical and spiritual. God loved Elisha and Elisha loved God. Out of that relationship, built up over time, trial and experience … Elisha could see what his servant could not.
So, what does that say have to say about us? After all, this was THE Prophet Elisha! Well, yes and no. It is true that Elisha had a close relationship with God and, because of that relationship, was able to see.
I am also reminded of the story in 1 Kings about Elisha’s mentor Elijah:
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1)
After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. (1 Kings 18:1-2)
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” (1 Kings 8:41)
The interesting thing here is that, at this point, there was no physical indication of rain. At all.
So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.“ Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.“ There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel. (1 Kings 42-46)
As I was thinking about this, the Spirit reminded me (this all happened in a matter of seconds by the way – I love how God works!) of James 5:17:
Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
Elijah was just like us. And his experience of God was not unique as he passed it on to his protégé Elisha. God loved Elijah and Elijah loved God. God loves me and I love God. Out of that relationship, built up over time, trial and experience … can I see what others cannot – physical and spiritual? The answer is “Yes, I can.” Yes, WE can.
To be honest, that is not my current daily experience. There are many reasons for that; distraction, sin, wounds, brokenness, addictions (the things I choose to bring relief instead of going to God), busyness, etc.
But … going forward I am choosing to not focus on what I don’t have and the obstacles in my way. I am choosing to focus on life! On the “Yes, I can!” I am asking God anew to heal and restore our union and to help me love him deeper, fuller, wider. So that, like Elisha and Elijah, I may have eyes to see.
May your union with God, in all its many facets, become deeper, fuller, and wider than you ever thought possible! Godspeed! Amen! Amen!! Amen!!!