‘Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them’. (2 Kings 6:6)
This story comes from the life of Elisha, when his servant was afraid because he saw the strength of the armies that were on the hillsides around them, ready to attack. But Elisha saw what the servant could not see - the heavenly armies that were present and were far mightier than the earthly armies. He asked that God would open the young man’s eyes that he might see them too.
This verse was in my daily reading and it struck a chord in me because of what I have been reading in the life of David for the past few days. The part I have been reading is the climax of the hunting down of David by Saul. Time after time, Saul seeks the whereabouts of David and sets out to kill him. And time after time God intervenes. At times it looks as if Saul has learned his lesson and repented, but not so - it starts all over again. Until it comes to a climax and Saul overreaches himself - he consults a medium and then word comes from God that he is about to be defeated in battle and killed.
What struck me as I read is the way in which we find that David does not give in to fear and discouragement in this long and weary conflict with Saul and neither does he take the battle into his own hands. Each time there is an escape, he must surely have hoped that the tide had turned and there was coming a change - and then Saul renews his attacks. But David kept following God, believing that his life was in God’s hands - not Saul’s hands. And ultimately the power of Saul was broken and David moves forward in his life and his calling.
At times, life can be wearisome and there seems to be no moving forward but if we look heavenward we will see that God is with us to strengthen us and carry us through and, like David, we do not need to give in to negative thinking. We will perhaps go further and see what Elisha saw - the armies of heaven are around us and there can be victory for the children of God if we keep looking into the spiritual world, and not the world around us. And I love the fact that God opened the eyes of the servant that he too saw the spiritual powers that were protecting them. So, even if you feel you are a very lowly person in the kingdom of God He can open your eyes that you, too, might see!
Lord, help us look into your world and find the strength, the encouragement and the hope that is there for every child of God!
I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. (Habakkuk 3:2)
The prophet Habakkuk was speaking at a time when life was hard for the nation and he encourages them to remember what God has done in the past - things such as the exodus from Egypt after years of slavery... the times of the judges when the people fell away and were rescued again and again and given victory over their enemies... the reign of David when Israel grew strong and established themselves as a powerful nation.
And we can add so much more when we look at the New Testament. It looked like total defeat when Jesus was crucified ..... but then there came the resurrection! It looked as if the church would never grow to anything after His ascension and only a small band of insignificant followers was left behind ..... but then there came the Day of Pentecost and the explosion of the power of God. And after that there came Paul, a vicious opponent of the gospel, ..... but after his conversion on the Damascus Road he took the gospel into the Gentile nations and to virtually every part of the Roman Empire.
Dark hours come again and again before the dawn.
Go to your Bible and remind yourself of what God has done in past. He is still the God of the universe and Christ is still the Saviour of the world.
After the victory on Mount Carmel, Elijah scanned the horizon. Then he prayed... and he went on praying... until his servant came back to say he saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand. And Elijah heard the sound of abundance of rain! Don’t be discouraged, read in your Bible of the wonderful works of God... and pray on... and on... for an intervention of God in your personal life (and many have been finding that already) - and in the life of the church and in the worldwide situation that faces us at this time.
My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. (Haggai 2:5)
These words were spoken to a people living in very hard times and it must have seemed to them that the time of the deliverance of their nation from Egypt was a far off memory and so removed from their own situation.
But that was not so. God’s Spirit remained among them. Think of the many times in scripture that God’s Spirit came to his people or to individuals and despair turned to hope, sadness turned to joy. Peter was released from prison... Paul and Silas found their chains broken in the darkness of a prison cell... the disciples found the Spirit outpoured on them on the Day of Pentecost and on many other occasions... John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day on the isle of Patmos and was lifted into a place where he saw into the spiritual world and forgot for a time the hardships of the world around him.
In some of these situations you have a person, alone, in very discouraging circumstances but they found that ‘His Spirit remained among them'... and God has promised that it will be so for those who turn to Him, even to the end of the age when Christ returns again.
Where are you today? Are you discouraged or feeling crushed by your circumstances? God would remind us that His Spirit remains amongst us - so do not be afraid.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
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