I recently challenged my a group of RESOLUTE men to discover the tension between fear and faith. They came to understand that fear and faith must coexist and that reverent fear (Proverbs 1:7) is very different from human fear which produces anxiety. We were studying how this works in a man’s life through a story found in Matthew 14:22-33, which is the familiar occurrence of Jesus walking on water to meet the disciples in the storm.
The challenge following study was to read 2 Kings 6:11-23, a story with a little different angle. Here is the text and one participants response as he interacted with this text.
11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, ‘Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?’ 12 ‘None of us, my lord the king,’ said one of his officers, ‘but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.’ 13 ‘Go, find out where he is,’ the king ordered, ‘so that I can send men and capture him.’ The report came back: ‘He is in Dothan.’14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 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. 16 ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ 17 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 round Elisha. 18 As the enemy came down towards him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, ‘Strike this army with blindness.’ So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. 19 Elisha told them, ‘This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.’ And he led them to Samaria. 20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of these men so that they can see.’ Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?’ 22 ‘Do not kill them,’ he answered. ‘Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.’ 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.”
The short story of Elisha in 2 kings is an amazing read. I have read it before, but especially in the context of our study with Jesus walking on water last week, I found it even more powerful and poignant. We see a very different picture painted of what our life with God can look like. Elisha was faced with a life and death situation and his reaction was much different than Peter’s. There was nothing timid about Elisha’s response. There was no doubt or fear in Elisha’s response. The servant saw the forces of the enemy and was afraid. Elisha only saw the army of God and he never wavered. This is bringing home the point that in EVERY single circumstance in my life, the ONLY thing I ever need look at or think about is the power of God.
Those chariots of fire are not gone. They were not carried up into heaven with Elisha. They are here with us, all around us each and every day. I focus so much on the temporal, the things that will be gone in the blink of an eye. We are surrounded by the Eternal! It is more real than this world though we cannot see it. I pray for eyes to see as Elisha saw — to see the Eternal.
Men, how do we approach all the circumstances of our life if we know there is a supernatural Army of God, with us and around us, always? Whom then shall we fear? What a wild and awesome God we serve!
A few years ago, my wife’s father was dying, Takatoshi Terahira. He had had a stroke 5 years before and it was a hard 5 years to watch his mind and his body wither. We stood next to his bed in the hospital and he restlessly slept coming in and out of consciousness. I was praying to God for Takatoshi, a powerful and very successful business man in his temporal life. God granted me eyes of Elisha for a brief minute and there we two very powerful, very imposing Angels standing on either side of Takatoshi. He was never alone, and though his temporal body faded, his true body was growing stronger.
I believe this is true throughout our lives. There are supernatural forces in us and around us constantly and the majesty and the mystery of our God. How cannot we live a life other than boldness and fearlessness? Why do I have to continually remind myself of this?