SEEING THE WRONG THING

Have you ever watched a good magician in action?  Often the whole trick depends on the people looking at one thing while the thing that is going to be produced is somewhere else. It seems to me that Satan is a master magician that gets us looking in one direction while he is frantically at work doing something far more devastating than what we are looking at and all upset about.

Over in 2 Kings 6 there is a tremendous story that I think helps on this point.  The king of Syria was planning attacks against the Nation of Israel.  Every time he would lay out his strategy to his generals, the word of what was said to them and their plans would be repeated to the king of Israel by Elisha the prophet and the whole plan would fall apart.  The Syrian king was frustrated, angry and was certain that he had a leak among his generals.  Which one of them was taking the message of what was said in secret, to the king of Israel?  One of them explained to the king that the problem wasn’t that one of them was the mole but that Elisha the prophet was taking the words he said in his chamber and repeating them to the king of Israel.  The Syrian king sent spies to find out where Elisha was and they returned to say he was in Dothan.  So the king and his army went through the night to surround the home of Elisha.  When Elisha’s servant went out the next morning as the Sun was rising, he saw this mighty army surrounding their home.  The servant ran to Elisha saying, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

Elisha responded, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  The poor servant couldn’t see anyone that was on their side.  All he could see was the mighty army of the Syrians and imagine what as going to happen to them.  “Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Please strike this people with blindness’ and the lord struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.”  Then Elisha told them they were in the wrong place and led them into the city of Samaria, into the hands of the king of Israel and his men.  Israel’s king asked Elisha if he should strike them down and Elisha told him not to that,  but to put food before them and let them eat.  After eating together the Syrian army went home and didn’t return to fight for years to come.

I like that whole story.  But what is it about that story that should mean something to us?  It is the fact that most of the time all we can see is the size of the enemy that Satan and his demons have sent against the people of God.  They fight dirty for sure.  There are lots of them and they use everything from government to culture to pull down the cause of Christ.  Their greatest weapon, though isn’t the laws they pass or the decisions handed down.  It is that they get us looking in the wrong direction.  We get our eyes so focused on what is happening in our world we can’t see the army that is on our side.  “Those who are for us are much greater than the ones against us.”  Paul would later write, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  Jesus promised to be with us always and the writer of Hebrews pictures him saying, “I will never leave you or forsake you, so that you may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, what can man do to me?”  Beyond that in Hebrews chapter one he concluded the chapter by saying that God had sent forth his angels to serve as ministering spirits to those who believe.  Every person who becomes a Christian is promised that God will give him the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him (Acts 2:38; 5:32).

So, by all means, let us get our eyes off the size of the enemy and crying about what all is being used today against the cause of Christ and look at the size of who is on our side.  We aren’t alone in this world.  God is on our side when we stand for him.  Our challenge isn’t the supreme court or the congress or the president.  Our challenge is to stay strong in our soul and put on the whole armor of God that we might be able to stand in the evil day.  “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”  Our job isn’t to go on the attack.  Our job is to put on the whole armor of God and to stand with Him. He told us our enemy isn’t flesh and blood, but “rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmos powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in he heavenly realms.” So often we seem intent on attacking ones that God said wasn’t our enemy to begin with.  We want to attack people that disagree with us on some insignificant matter and waste all our God given energy having skirmishes when the real battle is being fought in a whole different realm.

Notice God’s armor for us to put on is a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, a shield of faith, a helmet of salvation, shoes of readiness to share the gospel of peace and for a sword, the word of God.  He challenged us then to pray always with all prayer and supplication to God.  It is vital that we notice the armor is made up of aspects of godly living and the longing to share God’s good news with everyone we are around.  We must place the word of God deep in our hearts and spend lots of time praying to God for his blessings and guidance.  Paul went ahead to ask them to pray that he might preach the word with boldness.  Today we certainly need to be asking people everywhere to pray for that same thing for every teacher and preacher of God’s word.

We aren’t alone.  The enemy doesn’t have anything like the power that is on our side.  But too many are like the man who only goes outside when it is dark and is convinced the sun never shines.  O God, open our eyes to see the army ready at our disposal when we are serving you.

 

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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