Ever find yourself in a situation where you felt like there was no obvious way out? You’re not alone. Here’s how someone from scripture handled that same situation.
Actually, there could be any number of examples we could draw from in this situation. David, Moses, Hezekiah, and others. But let’s focus in on Elijah’s protege, Elisha.
Like Elijah before him, Elisha was NOT ‘too spiritual’ to meddle in the affairs of politics. He told kings to their face when they had wronged God, and demonstrated the LORD’s lovingkindness to those his own culture would consider the least deserving.
Not surprisingly, being bold in the name of the Lord has consequences. Like most other things in life, taking a strong stand on something is a good way to make enemies — taking a stong stand on Truth and God’s word is among the best of them. Countless believers through history have lost their heads over it, literally.
In his role of prophet, Elisha was frustrating the Syrian king by warning the King of Israel about every military trap he was planning to spring, even before he set it. The Syrian king got word that Elisha was the cause of his frustration, so he adjusted his strategy and turned his army against the prophet himself, seeking to silence him. (Logic was not his strong suit.)
He took his army and surrounded Dothan (See: 2 Kings 6:8-23)
He and his servant (who would be viewed today as ‘the rational one’) were at home when the army showed up and surrounded them.
When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
That’s the standard answer so many of us would give today, isn’t it? You look at the situation, see it through the rational lens of statistical analysis and throw up our hands at the impossible situation.
But he has forgotten who he is standing with: the only prophet in the Old Testament that has seen the Lord heal a leper; the only prophet in the Old Testament that has seen someone come back from death. Elisha is not seeing things merely through the context of what human effort can do… but he’s seeing it through the context of what GOD can do.
Elisha answered him: Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.”
What would those of us in modern, ‘respectible’ Christianity have thought in that situation? Would we have defaulted to functional athiesm and done the situational calculus without leaving roo for the arm of God? Or would we have boldly trusted to His promise? How many of us would have said, ‘Bro, have you been in the hot sun too long? What do you mean by more with us? Can’t you even COUNT?’ There are two of us, and a whole freaking ARMY out there waiting to kill us.
Here’s what happened next:
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.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.
He dealt with those who came looking for his head in a most amazing way. He prayed for them to be struck blind — they were. Suddenly they were helpless, so Elisha led them to the Jewish king they had been warring with. He showed kindness to them, spared their lives, and sent them on their way.
This act of trusting God not only helped the prophet personally, but it brought an end to the militarly harrassment the Syrians had been bringing upon their king.
When given the power of life and death over his enemies, the man of god offered them back their lives (that’s grace), and solved a political / cultural problem (that’s peace) in the process.
Moral of the story?
Be open to God’s solutions to your situations — even the supposedly ‘impossible’ ones. Because even though it might feel like you’re ‘surrounded’, you might come to realize that God had ‘the enemy’ surrounded all along, but you couldn’t quite see it.
When you ARE open to God’s solutions, and have the guts to follow them, their ultimate impact could be far greater than you could possibly have imagined. In fact, more often than not, that’s exactly what happens.
If you have trouble hearing it from this scribbler of words, hear it from the Lord of Glory himself: “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
For those of you that want to get better at shifting your paradigm to make room for a big-g God…
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Rules For Radical Christians is not a survival devotional designed to help the young Christian adult limp through life. Rather, it is a road-tested, dominion blueprint that will equip the young adult with leadership skills and sufficient motivation to rise to a place of influence in an overtly non-Christian culture. Rules For Radical Christians gives the reader the keys to become strategically equipped to move into an anti-theistic environment and effectively influence it for the glory of God.