Summary: Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the Syrian army. The servant was fearful, seeing only the enemy. Elisha was confident, seeing the host of God about them. We tend to see only the adversity, but fail to see God. He is able to meet our needs.
Eyes of Faith, not Sight
2 Kings 6: 15-20
During this time Israel faced numerous attacks from the Syrians. Each time Syria’s king planned an attack, the Lord gave Elisha insight to their plans and he was able to warn Israel. Knowing someone was sharing their plans with the Israelites, the king began to inquire about this perceived act of treason. One of the king’s servants affirmed that none of the Syrians had betrayed the king, but Elisha the prophet had been warning Israel.
Enraged by Elisha’s intelligence, the king sent his troops to find Elisha and bring him to Syria. It was reported that Elisha was in Dothan and the king sent a brigade of troops to bring Elisha in for questioning. Faithfulness to the Lord had angered the enemy, and now Elisha was surrounded. There appeared to be no escape, but God had another plan.
We are not engaged in secret, military missions, and yet we often find ourselves facing an attack from the enemy simply because of our faithfulness to the Lord. These attacks are unannounced and even unavoidable. Often we feel like Elisha, completely outnumbered and in need of supernatural help. While we can’t see it with our physical eye, the Lord provides more assistance than we can imagine. We are never alone in the journey or forced to face the enemy within our own means. As we examine the realities of this situation, I want to consider: Eyes of Faith, not Sight.
I. The Concern of the Servant (15) – And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? Elisha had a servant with him in Dothan, and he was not aware of the severity of the situation or the presence of the Lord. Notice:
A. His Discovery (15a) – And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. Rising early in the morning, likely to go about his duties for the day, the servant discovered the city had been compassed about by the enemy. This was not a few Syrians who had come for surveillance, a host of horses and chariots were there. The city was surrounded and the situation looked dire. He may not have been aware of the opposition to Elisha, but he quickly learned the enemy had come against them.
Is that not how trouble and adversity usually come to us? There are times when we may have some advance warning, but often trouble comes suddenly. Surely we have all experienced times when it seems as if we were met by the enemy first thing in the morning. We all deal with inconveniences at times, but eventually we will face a situation we never imagined.
B. His Dismay (15b) – And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? Following his discovery, the servant ran to Elisha in complete dismay. No doubt his heart was filled with fear and uncertainty. As far as we know, there was no one else in the house with the servant but Elisha. There is no mention of any Israelite troops in Dothan. In his fear and dismay, he proclaimed – Look master! What are we going to do? In this moment of great need, the servant saw no possible means of escape. Fear gripped his heart as he contemplated the future.
I can say with reasonable certainty that everyone in the sanctuary today has experienced these same emotions at one time or another. We have faced a situation that was desperate and we had no idea what we were going to do. The difficulty required more than we possessed. We lacked the wisdom, strength, and resources to bring about a suitable resolution. Our heart was gripped with fear as our mind began to run wild, playing out every possible scenario.
II. The Confidence of Elisha (16-17) – As the servant relayed his deep concern to Elisha, the man of God responded with unshakeable confidence. Notice:
A. His Assurance (16) – And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. We cannot get a sense of the emotion Elisha displayed, but it appears he responded with an attitude that revealed little, if any concern. Elisha assured the servant there was nothing to fear. Even though they appeared outnumbered, Elisha knew there were more with them than with the enemy. I can imagine how the servant may have felt. “More with us than with them! Have you looked out there? The entire city is surrounded, and I don’t see anyone but you and me in the house!” As we will discover, Elisha was looking through eyes of faith, seeing the impossible.