Summary: People are looking to the spiritual to find ‘friends in high places’. Elisha had ‘friends in high places’. I would like us to consider those that Elisha had as his ‘friends in high places’ – those known as angels.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
Just a week or two ago I was talking to some friends, who would not by any stretch of the imagination be considered people of high influence, and yet during that conversation I was told of a possible job prospect. They said, ‘Just mention that so and so, friends of Shane, suggested that you try out for a position there.’
Well, I met the boss and told him the story. He said, ‘So David tell me the names of these people again who know Shane?’ I told him, and he just smiled and said quietly, ‘It’s just amazing how contacts can be made and through whom!’ He desperately needed someone to employ part time and I got the job! Start Monday!
Now, to me, that whole incident put flesh on two common sayings – ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ and, as far as that job was concerned, I had ‘Friends in high places.’
I believe most of us want ‘friends in high places’. And that is what I have called this message – ‘Friends in High Places’.
Why is it that we want and perhaps need friends in high places?
And people are looking to the spiritual to find their ‘friends in high places’. In the year 2000, 60,000 people paid to go through the ‘mind, body & soul’ festival in Sydney. People are searching for spiritual meaning like never before.
They are searching for ‘friends in high places’!
Elisha had ‘friends in high places’. We heard about them earlier this morning in our Scripture reading. Listen again to verses 15-17.
2KI 6:15 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, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16 "Don’t be afraid," the prophet answered. (I’ve got ‘friends in high places’, he goes on to say) "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so 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. (NIV)
I would like us to consider those that Elisha had as his ‘friends in high places’ – those known as angels.
Firstly, we need to recognise:
1. INTEREST IN ANGELS IS WIDESPREAD
According to a recent (1994) US Gallup Poll, 72 percent of the respondents believed in angels and another 13 percent did not discount their existence. 85 percent of people surveyed expressed some degree of belief in angels.
Books, magazines, films, stories, talk shows and angel paraphernalia abound. The film ‘City of Angels’ exemplifies this – (HOLD UP CITY OF ANGELS). We are told that this film, starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan is about (quote), ‘an angel who gives up heaven to be with the woman he loves’. The little script that goes on the advertising says this, ‘Maggie Rice didn’t believe in angels…until she fell in love with one’.
The extent to which the angel craze is captivating the West is aptly summarised by Newsweek (Dec 27, 1993): ‘Angels are appearing everywhere… those who see angels, talk to them, and put others in touch with them are prized guests on television and radio talk shows. Need inspiration? There are workshops that assist you in identifying early angel experiences or in unleashing your ‘inner angel’. Tired of your old spirit guide? New Age channellers will connect with Michael the Archangel. Have trouble recognising the angels among us? Join an angel focus group.’
We are wise in recognising the popularity of angels for 3 reasons –
1. It should inspire us to learn the truth from God’s word about them so we are not misled. For eg. Would the love of a human tempt an angel to leave the glory of heaven, like ‘City of Angels’ seems to portray? And are they merely lovable? Or do they inspire awe, worship and fear? Why in fact do we have angels? And what are they like? Can they of themselves provide our needs? Is there some criteria for receiving blessing and help from angels? And are some angels dangerous? Is discernment required in dealing even with angels? And so on…
2. Secondly, we are wise in recognising the popularity of angels because it emphasises the need to maximise this interest, in order to point people to Christ - who is the head of all angelic beings. What an opportunity! People are talking about angels. What better opening to point them to the One who made angels. And to describe to them why He made angels.
3. Thirdly, we are wise in recognising the popularity of angels because it should highlight an area in which emphasis has been lacking - we need to make angels popular in our lives and recognise the part they play. It seems as though people can find teaching on angels everywhere except in the church! In one Australian city alone we have 60,000 people paying to go to a ‘mind body and soul’ festival to learn about angels, amongst other things – whereas most of those would not set foot in a Christian church if you paid them! I can hear them saying, ‘I can find 10,000 sites on the internet about angel movies alone, yet Christians don’t even seem to acknowledge they exist!