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(Today's message is a bit longer and perhaps "deeper" than usual, but I encourage you to read it and further study this subject.)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"Lord, Open Our Eyes!"

"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. 'Don't be afraid,' the prophet answered. 'Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.'  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" (2 Kings 6:15-17).

The Lord placed this verse on my heart upon awakening early this morning. I write it particularly in regard to international events that many of us are following. The truth from memory that especially gripped me was the sense of our eyes being opened and I sat down to refresh myself on this concept.

A vital spiritual principle is this: It's so easy to see the earthly reality but far more difficult to see the equally valid spiritual reality.  This is true in our individual lives as well as international affairs. I desire to have the spiritual discernment of the men of Issachar, "who understood the times and knew what Israel should do."  A powerful apocalyptic verse at the end of Daniel states, "Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand" (Daniel 12:10).  I want to be wise and see and understand the spiritual!

Today's Scripture portion is set in an historical period about 2,800 years ago.  Elisha was a faith-filled prophet who had enraged the king of Aram with his accurate prophetical pronouncements, that were essentially divinely given intelligence.  In anger this king sent an army to the city where Elisha was and during the night surrounded it to capture Elisha. 

Elisha's servant woke up early and saw the vast army surrounding the city.  He went to Elisha in panic and despair and asked, 'Oh, my lord, what shall we do?'  With his physical eyes he could easily see the army and the situation looked altogether hopeless.

"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Elisha, as a man of great faith, saw a reality his servant was unable to see. As I consider this passage I wonder if Elisha lived in a state of faith where he always saw the unseen.

I realize I sure am a lot more like the servant than Elisha. I have no trouble seeing the armies of the enemy and sometimes they do seem so massive and poised for attack. I can feel moments of despair as I struggle to see the spiritual reality.

Elisha didn't rebuke his servant but rather prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." That's my prayer for myself and for each reader today.

Elisha's prayer was answered immediately in a remarkable way. "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."  The servant's eyes were opened to see the spiritual realm, the protecting might of the heavenly hosts.

The record goes on to report that the Aramean army in contrast was temporarily blinded as Elisha prayed, "Strike these people with blindness."

I firmly believe that this isn't just an historical record of God's help in ages past, but a powerful encouragement for all ages and all believers concerning the unseen reality of the spiritual forces which surround us. For God does not change. A wonderful New Testament promise that we need to hide deep in our hearts is from I John 4:4,  "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

Today, fellow believer, may your eyes of faith be open today.  May Christ fill you with hope and assurance as you realize the protecting might of the heavenly hosts who are truly gathered around all of us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's Prayer:  Dear God, I consider the ponderings of the Psalmist who inquired of his own emotions, "Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?"  I want to surrender my emotions to You knowing that my faith is grounded in You.  This brings me hope even when the physical evidence would seem to the contrary.  Help my faith to be resolute and unchanged by the ever-changing circumstances of the world and in my personal life.  May the eyes of my heart bring spiritual vision that springs up hope and an overcoming spirit as I trust in You for everything.  Amen.

The musical supplement to today's message is a popular song that many of you have heard and sung titled "Open The Eyes Of My Heart"    Audio     Video
Note: For the last several weeks video from this site has not streamed as well as usual. I don't know whether it's my system or theirs.)

Entire context of today's Scripture passage.
A great article on the eternal perspective in regard to today's message is titled Safely Home. This is an excerpt from the book "In Light of Eternity" by Randy Alcorn.

Many times hours of study go into the preparation of these messages, but then I try to keep the encouragement message brief! I want to share some supplemental material from one of my favorite study Bibles:

An unseen spiritual realm exists, consisting of a host of ministering angels who are active in the lives of God's people (Genesis 32:2; Isaiah 63:9).  Several principles may be derived from this event. 

1. Not only is God for His people (Romans 8:31), but also armies of His angels stand by, ready to defend the believer and God's Kingdom (Psalm 34:7).        
2. All Bible believing Christians should continually pray that God would deliver them from spiritual blindness and open the eyes of their hearts to see more clearly the spiritual reality of God's kingdom (Luke 24:31; Ephesians 1:18-21) and its heavenly hosts (Hebrews 1:14).
3. God's ministering spirits are not far away, but are very close (Genesis 32:1-2), observing the actions and faith of God's children and working on their behalf (Acts 7:55-60; I Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 3:30; I Timothy 5:21).
4. The real battle in God's kingdom is not against flesh and blood; it is a spiritual battle against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9).
5. There is a cause and effect relationship in spiritual battles; the outcome of spiritual battles is determined in part by the faith and prayers of the saints (vv. 16-20; Ephesians 6:18-19).

From "The Full Life Study Bible"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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