Meanderings of a Minister


Feeling Surrounded?
November 1, 2010, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Articles

This last Sunday, one of our children, Kaden Classen, preached his second sermon.  He had come to me telling me that he wanted to preach a sermon on not being afraid and could not find a passage that matched what he wanted to say.  I spent some time correcting his thinking and helping him to see that we don’t figure out what we want to say and then find something from God to back it up.  We need to let God speak to us from His Word and then say what He has told us.  When he understood this, he went to the very next passage in 2 Kings 6 (from which he had preached the previous sermon).  What he found was a story about not being afraid.

In 2 Kings 6:8-23, the king of Aram is battling against Israel as part of God’s judgment.  After God supernaturally thwarts the king’s ambush plans numerous times through Elisha, the king leads the Aramean army to surround Elisha at the town of Dothan.  One morning, as the Elisha’s servant went out to get the day started, he looked and found the army surrounding them on all sides.  There were chariots and horses and soldiers everywhere!  Panicked, the servant returns to Elisha and asked what they are to do.  Elisha prays for God to open his servant’s eyes to enable him to see the great army of God surrounding them.  God opens the servant’s eyes and then supernaturally delivers the Arameans into the hand of the Israelites.

As you look at this story, you find some interesting parallels to you and I in the day in which we live.  First, there are those times when we feel surrounded by a circumstance or situation for which we feel there is no way out and no help available.  Facing this situation, we cannot see God at work and that leads us to fear and turning to our own devices to attempt to solve the problem.  Like the servant, we need to turn to God and ask for Him to help us to see Him at work.  The problem with some of the situations we face is that we fear the judgmentalism of others and this causes us to assume God will react the same way, so we think we must avoid Him.  When this happens, we need to turn to someone that can pray for and with us.  This is similar to what James said when he told us to confess our sins to each other, that we might be healed.  We need someone that can stand with us and can pray for us, so that God can minister to us.

In the story, after the servant’s eyes are opened, and he becomes convinced that the war is won, we do not read of the servant anymore.  He went back to serving and; thus, was not noteworthy for the rest of the story.  The principle here is that we need to be ready to go back to serving God when He works out our fear.  God is not going to work something out when it leads us to rely more on ourselves.  He is more interested in our holiness than our happiness.  Many of us just want our problems over so we can go back to doing our own thing.  This is not the pattern of scripture, nor is it in our best spiritual interest, but when we use the experience, like Paul’s thorn in the flesh, to stay close to God and to teach others about Him, then we are ready to go back to serving Him.

Probably the most interesting thing about this whole story is not that opening of the servant’s eyes, or the closing of the army’s eyes.  The most amazing thing is that God had been there all along, but the servant had to have his eyes opened to see that reality.  We are the same way.  When faced with situations and circumstances that feel like there is no way out, we need to remember that God is already at work to either bring us out, through or home from that situation.  Our prayer needs to be that He would do whichever of those that would bring Him glory and keep me closest to Him.  Is that your prayer?

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