LOOK UP

Sometimes it seems that everywhere you look there are problems that seemingly have no solutions in sight. I think we must feel like the servant of Elisha the prophet who went outside early one morning to see an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. He cried out to Elisha, “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” Too often we have the feeling “If I don’t know what to do in a situation then no one knows what to do.” Elisha responded to the servant, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” All the servant could see was the enemy’s army. There were no horses with chariots and armed men that he could see to fight on his side. So what in the world did Elisha mean when he told him that the ones with them were more than the ones with the enemy?

Listen to what the Bible says in 2 Kings 6:17. “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 around Elisha.” No there wasn’t some physical army around them to protect them from this army coming against them. The enemy couldn’t see anyone or anything that would hinder them from taking Elisha captive or even taking his life. All the help would come from an army of a whole different realm. It is amazing with us that even though we have Bibles and may have read of God’s power and work in the lives of people all down through the ages that when troubles come, we still think that it all depends on us. Surely there is no spiritual power today that could come down to fight on our side as followers of Christ.

How large are our enemies today? There are those physical enemies, especially in the muslim regions who hate the Christians and all that they stand for. At this moment it seems that all the momentum is with those muslim extremist that wish to take every Christian and the nations associated with them down to destruction. As we watch, the news shows showing followers of Christ being driven from their homes to run to any place that might accept them. They usually don’t stand to fight the enemies off. But with every defeat or humiliation the enemy seems to grow more arrogant and more brutal. With every delay in fighting off the enemy there are more radicals trained to fight until death for their cause. David cried, “I will lift up mine eyes to these hills where my help comes from. My help comes from the Lord.”

When the President and others say that there is no military solution to the problem I suspect the enemy is rejoicing saying that means there is no defeat for our efforts. But I would note for us all that there truly is no military solution to the problem. Think of all the work that has been done by the military in the last decade, only to leave those places and see the same enemies rise back to power and continue the same evil ways they had before we arrived. For all the problems in the world that seem to overwhelm us, there may not be any earthly solution. Problems, especially problems that have a religious motive aren’t solved by a strong military. Even when they are defeated they go down still believing with all their being that what they stand for is right and that they are fighting for their convictions. I’m certainly not saying that our country or others don’t need to fight against such enemies. The point is that religious battles must ultimately find their solution in a change of mind or heart for that enemy.

“As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, ‘Strike this army with blindness. So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. 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. After they entered the city, Elisha said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.’ Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?’ 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. 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.” (2 Kings 6:18-23)

Didn’t Jesus say to us, “Pray for your enemies?” I don’t know what may have caused the radical muslims to become so angry and so filled with hate toward those who don’t agree with their form of faith. I suspect there may have been many steps along the way from their childhood until reaching adulthood and thinking for your life to have meaning you must kill those who disagree with your religion. Somehow I doubt that more attacks, more bombs and more propaganda will make any difference in how they feel or think.

Two things would help in the long run as we look at today’s situation. One is that we need to see the size of the army that is on our side as followers of Christ. The army of the Lord doesn’t need a military budget nor massive campaign to be powerful. It needs followers of Christ to open our eyes and see the power of the Lord’s army that is on our side. Then we need to pray to God to strike with blindness those who are radical in their muslim religion and to open their minds and hearts to the simple message of Jesus as Savior and Lord. Remember the story of a man named Saul in the Book of Acts. He was a radical terrorist in his efforts to destroy Christianity. It is amazing that God didn’t try to arm the Christians or get Titus’ army to come and fight with Saul and the religious leaders among the Jews. Instead he showed him the risen Lord and Savior. Saul turned it all around and became a radical Christian doing everything he could to advance the kingdom of God. I keep wondering what would happen with these radical muslims if they got to know some real Christians who treated them with love and respect. Many who had once persecuted the church became followers of Christ themselves.

The route to change always goes through the heart. That route usually starts with a Christian on their knees in prayer.

About leoninlittlerock

Preaching minister for Central church of Christ in Little Rock. Author of over 20 books including: When a Loved one Dies, Spiritual Development, Skid Marks on the Family Drive, Challenges in the church, To Know Christ and A Drink of Living Water.
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