Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 28: Tuesday
“Now when the attendant of the man of God
had risen early and gone out, behold, an army
with horses and chariots was circling the city.
And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master!
What shall we do?”
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. ”
2 Kings 6:15–17
Tuesday’s Bible reading of 2 Kings 6–10, continues with the life of Elisha. Most of chapters 6 and 7 are about the king of Aram and his assaults on Israel. Chapter 8 opens with the restoration of land to the woman of Shunem (cf. 2 Kings 4:8–37) and the remainder of the chapter as well as chapter 9 are concerned with the reigns, power plays and evils of various kings of Israel and Judah. Chapter 9 ends with the killing of Jezebel, and in chapter 10 all of Ahab’s sons are killed. As chapter 10 closes it’s noted that God begins to cut off portions of Israel’s land. The history of Judah and Israel and their kings made me think of the actions and events in Judges—except exponentially increased in wickedness and destruction because now the element of power and authority of kings is present.
Within these events Elisha continues to prophesy and act. The assaults of the Arameans are a fascinating story. When the king of Aram sends an army to capture Elisha, Elisha’s servant panics when he see the horses and chariots surrounding the city. This is when Elisha answers, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” and asks God to open the man’s eyes so that he can see. Then he perceives their situation from the perspective of reality.
Panic and perspective is something we all struggle with in the midst of fear or suffering. It is difficult not to panic when our circumstances are like a hostile army surrounding us. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in the aftermath of great suffering. As Paul describes the intense suffering he and Timothy underwent in Asia and how difficult their affliction was he does not attempt to cover up the fact that their suffering was overwhelming, nor is he trying to puff himself up about his incredible faith. Instead, Paul points us to God over and over again, as he writes of the great comfort and deliverance given to them by God, and in doing this, he gives to us real encouragement to trust God. At the end of chapter 4, after describing some of the things he has undergone, Paul writes:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV)
How can we look at the things which are not seen and keep the right perspective? Well, as you might expect me to say, we must know God’s Word and understand His perspective. We need His Spirit to enable us to trust Him and believe Him.
One thing I’d like to add that may not be what you expect is that we need each other to encourage us and help us keep an eternal perspective when we are in our moments of panic. We need those who have the gift of teaching who teach God’s Word from their mind and heart to our mind and heart. We need love and compassion from each other to remind us of God’s love and to walk with us. God did not mean for us to struggle alone to retain His perspective; He has called us to be brothers and sisters in Christ and members of one another. We need to remember that, and be who we are so that together we help each other to trust God in the midst of affliction and keep our eyes on things that are eternal.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter