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.2 Kings 6:15-17 NIV
“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.
Israel and Aram, their neighbor to the north, were engaged in border skirmishes. Repeatedly the king of Aram plotted ambushes against Israel’s king. But each time Elisha, a prophet of God to Israel, warned the king of Israel about the ambush. When the king of Aram determined that Elisha was the one providing the warnings he determined to capture him. So he sent out a force of men to the small town where Elisha was living. In the morning Elisha’s servant saw the surrounding force and was understandably alarmed.
Encouraged by the Horses and Chariots of Fire
But Elisha was not worried. He knew something that his servant did not. The servant saw an army against just the two of them. Elisha saw them as well. But he also saw another army. He saw a heavenly army that was surrounding him. An army that was full of horses and chariots of fire. Elisha has no reason to fear the puny army that Aram had sent to capture him. And he prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant as well. So that he could have confidence in God’s protection.
I love this story and the encouragement that it provides. Even when things are at their bleakest, we are not alone. The one we serve is greater than those who rule in this world. But all too often I am like Elisha’s servant and fail to see the real battle that is going on; seeing only with my physical eyes. And that can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair.