Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters twenty through twenty-two of this Old Testament book. WHEN YOU GO OUT TO BATTLE! WHEN YOU GO OUT TO BATTLE AGAINST! WHEN YOU GO OUT TO BATTLE AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES! When you begin reading with and from the opening verse of the twentieth chapter you will quickly encounter an absolutely tremendous truth that surrounds the congregation of the children of Israel—namely, that it was inevitable that they would go forth and would go out to battle. As you begin reading with and from the opening verse of this chapter you will discover that it was absolutely unavoidable that the congregation and people of Israel would not go forth and would not go out to battle against their enemies. If you read the Old Testament books of Judges, as well as the Old Testament books of First and Second Samuel, and even the books of the Kings and Chronicles you will find that there were countless times when the children of Israel would go forth unto battle against the enemies which were round about them in the earth. There were times when they would go forth into battle against their enemies and adversaries because they had risen up against them to provoke them, and there were times when the congregation of the children of Israel went forth into battle against the enemies and adversaries round about that the Lord their God might give them peace on all sides. If and as you study the history of the congregation of the children of Israel you will quickly notice—particularly during the days of Joshua and David—that the people of Israel had indeed engaged themselves in continual and constant battle. IT would be during the days of Joshua the congregation of the children of Israel would conquer and subdue the entire land of Canaan, and would drive out and dispossess the inhabitants of the land. It would be during the days of Joshua when the entire army of the children of Israel which had crossed over the Jordan River under the leadership of Joshua would march within and throughout the land as they took up the sword and conquered territory in the midst thereof. The only city which the children of Israel did not have to take up the sword in order that it might overtake and overthrow it was the city of Jericho. It was upon the city of Jericho the LORD the God of the Hebrews fought for them in this introductory battle, as He had them march around the city in silence once each day for six days, while on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, and on the seventh time they were to shout with all their might before the walls of the city.
As you read and consider the history of the congregation of the children of Israel you will encounter the reality that upon their entering into the land of Canaan it was the Lord who had supernaturally delivered the city of Jericho into their hands, as the Lord caused the walls to collapse before them, thus allowing them to march straight up into the midst of the city. Once in the city the children of Israel were to put everyone to the sword, and were to consecrate all the spoil and plunder within the city as holy unto the Lord. Once the battle of Jericho was over you will find the congregation of the children of Israel marching within and throughout the land of Canaan as they conquered and subdued cities, and towns and villages in the midst thereof. The entire book of Joshua is a book that is centered around conquest and subduing, possession and inheritance, and even the dividing of the inheritance among the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. It would be during the days of Joshua when the congregation of the children of Israel would be in continual and constant warfare and conflict with the inhabitants of the land as they would drive out and dispossess the inhabitants within the land. It’s quite astounding and remarkable to think about and consider the fact that while the children of Israel were in the land which the Lord their God had promised unto them, they would be required to engage themselves in conflict and conquest. What’s more, is that they were to march within and throughout the land without fear and without trembling, for although the land was filled with walled cities, and although there were giants which lived in the land, they were not to fear or be afraid, but were to rise up in courage and boldness before the LORD, as they took up the sword against the inhabitants of the land. Throughout and during the days of Joshua you will find the congregation of the children of Israel marching throughout the land and taking the sword with them wherever they went as they conquered and subdued the inhabitants of the land. The mission and assignment of the people of Israel within the land was to conquer and subdue it, and to leave absolutely none alive in the midst thereof.
If you study the history of the children of Israel—from the time they entered into the land of Canaan until and during the time of David king of Israel—you will find that there were constant battles and constant struggles which they faced against various enemies and adversaries. During the days of Joshua the enemies and adversaries which they would face were within, as those whom they were instructed to engage in battle were within the land of Canaan. It would be during the days of David when the enemies and adversaries would begin to be without, as David would begin to bring peace and rest into the midst of the congregation of the children of Israel. There is a strong and stark contrast between the days of David and the days of Joshua, for if you study the days of Joshua you will find that none of the battles they fought were outside the land of Canaan, for before they could ever engage that which was outside the land of Canaan they would have to first conquer and subdue that which was present within. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a tremendous and powerful prophetic truth that is found within this passage of Scripture, for when we think about our own lives it is absolutely necessary to consider the fact that before we ever begin to engage enemies and adversaries without, we must first engage and conquer those enemies and adversaries within. I would dare say that those who are willing and able to conquer and subdue that which lies within themselves are much better positioned and much better able to begin to face and engage that which lies beyond themselves and in the world around them. I would dare say that one of the greatest struggles men and women face is when they attempt to engage the conflicts and battles before and around them, and yet they have not conquered, they have not subdued, and they have not mastered that which was present within themselves. There is not a doubt in my mind that one of the greatest struggles we can and will ever face is that struggle with those enemies and adversaries which are found to be present within ourselves—within our hearts, within our souls and within our minds. There are those who think—and perhaps even feel as though they are ready and able to begin conquering and subduing that which is present round about them, and yet the truth of the matter is that until and unless we are willing to confront that which lies present within ourselves, we might find ourselves hard pressed to conquer and subdue that which is round about.
I sit here this morning and can’t help but be absolutely captivated and drawn into this wonderful world of Joshua and David, for both were men who were wonderfully and powerfully used by God in their generation. Joshua was appointed and chosen by the living God to succeed Moses and to lead the children of Israel into the land of Canaan and against the enemies and adversaries which were in the land. David was anointed and appointed by the living God to rule after and instead of Saul as king over the nation of Israel, and David would be that one who would bring peace and rest to the nation and kingdom. If you read and study the narrative and accounts that are written in the books of First and Second Samuel, as well as the book of First Chronicles, you will find that during the days and reign of David he was a man of much bloodshed, as he was in constant war and battle against the enemies and adversaries which were round about the nation and kingdom of Israel. From Moab to Edom, from Ammon to Syria, and even against the Philistines, David would lead the armies of the congregation of Israel in battle against their enemies and adversaries round in order to secure the kingdom and nation of Israel, and to bring a peace and rest for the people of God. This was a vast difference from the assignment that was given unto Joshua, for Joshua was tasked with and given the assignment to lead the army of Israel within and throughout the land of Canaan in order that they might truly take possession of the land. Joshua was tasked with the assignment of leading the people of God in battles which would conquer and subdue that which was present within, while David was tasked with the assignment of leading the people of God in battles which would bring peace and rest to the nation and kingdom of Israel. It’s worth noting that the nation and kingdom of Israel would never take possession of that land which belonged to the children of Moab, the children of Ammon, and the children of Edom, for these were descendants of those who were directly linked to Abraham. The children of Moab and Ammon were the descendants of Lot who was Abraham’s nephew, and the descendants of the children of Edom were the descendants of Esau which was the grandson of Abraham. The children of Israel would never conquer or subdue these nations and kingdoms as they could Tyre and Sidon, or the land of the Philistines, or even the land of Syria, but they would engage them in conflict and battle in order that peace might be present round about them.
THE STRUGGLE FOR REST WITHIN, THE STRUGGLE FOR PEACE WITHOUT! The more I think about this direct distinction which exists between the days of Joshua and the days of David the more I can’t help but come face to face with the reality that within the life of each and every one of us there are two distinct struggles which we face on a continual and constant basis. The days and generation of Joshua proves, demonstrates and reveals the struggle for rest within ourselves, as Joshua would lead the congregation of the children of Israel in battle against the inhabitants within the land. Despite the fact that the congregation of the children of Israel would enter into the land which was given unto them according to an oath and promise that was made unto Abraham, unto Isaac and unto Jacob, there would and there could be no rest in the midst of the land until and unless they moved within and throughout the land with the sword and drove out and dispossessed the inhabitants of the land. It’s interesting and worth noting that when the Lord the God of Hebrews led the children of Israel into the land He did not first and immediately lead them in conflict and battle against the nations, the enemies and adversaries round about them. When and as the living God brought the congregation of the children of Israel into the land which He swore on oath and promise unto their ancestors, He did not bring them into the land to immediately confront the enemies and adversaries that were without and outside the land first. In all reality, I would dare say that the congregation of the children of Israel would have been hard pressed to even think about—much less attempt to conquer the nations, the enemies and adversaries round about the land which was given unto them as an inheritance. In all reality, I am convinced there is a vast and underlying principle that is found within these two generations, for before the congregation of the children of Israel could experience and find rest round about themselves and in the midst of the nations of the earth they would first need to find and experience rest within themselves. What’s more, is that I would dare say that it was the victories and triumphs within the land of Canaan that would help serve as the foundation for the victories which would later be secured against the nations and peoples round about the land into which the Lord their God had brought them. The Lord the God of the Hebrews would lead the congregation of the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, and would task them with the awesome assignment of putting to death, driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants of the land which were present in the midst of the land. Before the children of Israel were to ever engage any of the nations and peoples round about them in the earth they were to first conquer and secure the land which was to be theirs in the midst of the earth.
Upon reading and studying the history of the children and people of Israel you will quickly encounter the undeniable truth that their history began with the struggle for peace within their borders and peace within their land, as they would and could not truly take possession of and inherit the land while the inhabitants which had dwelt there previously were still in the midst of it. The congregation of the children of Israel would enter into the land which was to be theirs as an inheritance, and yet there would be this struggle that would be present within and in the midst of the land that would need to be addressed. For the congregation of the children of Israel to truly enjoy the inheritance the way it was intended on being enjoyed and experienced was to conquer and subdue the land itself by driving out and dispossessing the inhabitants which were present in the midst of it. When you come to the days and generation of David you will find that David wasn’t so much focused on securing battles within the land as much as he was interested in securing the nation and kingdom of Israel from the threats which were round about the land. With the exception of the city of Jerusalem which would be conquered during the days of David by Joab his commander, there would be virtually no battles that would be fought within the land of Israel itself, for by the time David began sitting upon the throne of Israel a great part of the work within the borders of the land would already be accomplished. It is worth noting and considering the truth that it would be Joshua who would lead the children of Israel in securing the peace and rest needed within the land, and it would be David who would lead the children of Israel in securing peace and rest round about the nation and kingdom of Israel. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand this absolutely tremendous reality, for there are many times when perhaps the greatest struggles and conflicts we face are not outside ourselves and round about our lives, but rather within ourselves. More often than not the greatest conflicts and struggles we face within and throughout the course of our lives is internal and within, as there are these constant struggles for rest and peace within our hearts and souls that need to be addressed. Please note and understand that this isn’t to say that there won’t be very real conflicts and struggles that can and will be present round about us and outside our lives, but rather that more often than not the greatest conflicts and struggles we face is within ourselves. There are times when the storms rage all around us and we feel as though the wind, the waves, and the rain threaten to drown us, and in the midst of those storms there is a great need to address the rest that is needed within our hearts and souls.
As you read the words which are found within the twentieth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy you will find Moses commanding and instructing the congregation of the children of Israel concerning those times when they go out to battle against their enemies, and look upon their horses, and chariots, and that they are a people which are more and mightier than they are, they are not to be fearful, nor are they to be afraid of them. This is actually quite a remarkable and astonishing declaration given unto Moses, for there were certain and specific times when the people of Israel were surrounded by enemies which threatened their existence and threatened to destroy and overthrow them, and there was a great need for courage within their hearts and souls. I am reminded of at least two specific instances within the history of the congregation of the children of Israel when the enemy before them seemed more and mightier than they, and came against them with a great force and might. The first was seen and found during the days of Elisha the prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel, while the second was during the days of Hezekiah king of the southern kingdom of Judah. It would be during the days of Elisha when Syria would make war against the northern kingdom of Israel, and there was even an envoy and host that would come down in an attempt to overthrow and destroy Elisha because of the revelation the Lord his God had given unto him. During the days of Hezekiah it would be the army of the Assyrians that would encamp before and round about the city of Jerusalem and would threaten to overthrow the city and destroy the people of God. Consider if you will each of these narratives and accounts as they are written and recorded within the Old Testament book of Second Kings, and the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah:
“…Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may send and fetch him. And it was told him, saying, Behold, he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. 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? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw;: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the Lord, and said, Smite this people, I pray the, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha” (2 Kings 6:8-18).
“Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood before the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller’s field…And it came to pass, when Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the sribe, and the elders of the priests covered with sackcloth unto Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz. And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and or rebuke, and of blaspheme: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth. It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God. And will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prater for the remnant that is left. So the servants of king Hezekiah came to Isaiah. And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the LORD, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land…Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead” (Isaiah 36-37).
What is so absolutely captivating about each of these examples is that they both represent the people of God being surrounded by enemies and adversaries, and the tremendous need for courage in the face of what would appear to be insurmountable odds. In the case of Elisha the prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel the king of Syria sent horses and chariots unto Dothan where the prophet was in order that they might not only surround him, but also intimidate him as well. It’s interesting to note that the enemy came by night and surrounded the place where Elisha the prophet was, and it was his servant who awoke in the morning to discover the place where they were was surrounded by horses and chariots. What’s so absolutely astounding about this particular narrative is that when Elisha woke from the previous night’s sleep he was seemingly unmoved at the sight of an enemy surrounding them. What’s more, is that not only did the prophet Elisha instruct his servant to fear, but he then proceeded to pray unto the Lord his God that He would open the eyes of his servant that he might see that those who were for them were greater than those who were against them. The Lord would hearken unto the words of the prophet Elisha, and as a direct result of His response, the eyes of this servant were opened and he saw the mountains and hills filled with horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha and the place where they were. In the narrative of Hezekiah king of Judah we find another enemy surrounding the people of God—this time it was the city of Jerusalem itself—and how the enemy surrounded the people of God with a great force. What’s more, is that as if the force which was before and about the city wasn’t enough, Rabshekah of Assyria would seek to use words of intimidation and fear before the people of God. If and as you read the words which are found within the prophetic book of Isaiah you will find the king sending word to the prophet Isaiah concerning the words which were spoken, to which the prophet Isaiah instructed him not to fear, for the Lord would send a blast and a rumor into Assyria that would cause them to direct their attention elsewhere. Ultimately the LORD would also send an angel during the night to slaughter one hundred and eighty five thousand men within the Assyrian Empire. This would be in addition to two of the sons of Sennacherib coming by night and assassinating him while he was worshipping in the house of his god. How incredibly powerful it is to think about and consider the tremendous reality that both of these examples not only provide a clear picture of the people of God coming face to face with the horses and chariots of the enemy, but also the clear instruction not to fear, and the supernatural deliverance of the living God among them in their midst.
There is perhaps another narrative and account found within Scripture—one that would have undoubtedly been at the forefront of the hearts and minds of the congregation of the children of Israel which stood before Moses in the plains of Moab. If you turn and direct your attention to the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus you will find the account of the children of Israel having just emerged from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt, and coming unto the Red Sea. Upon coming to the Red Sea, however, the congregation of the children of Israel would be confronted with what seemed unto them a devastating and destructive force that would come upon them there at the Red Sea. The narrative that is found in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Exodus not only provides us with an account of horses and chariots coming against the children of Israel, but also of the powerful commands not to fear, and to stand still and see the salvation of the living God. Consider if you will the following words which are found within this chapter beginning to read with the first verse:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp efore Pi-Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahirtoh, before Baal-zephon. And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no grave in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea that the waters may come again upon the the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses” (Exodus 14:1-31).
BE NOT AFRAID! LET NOT YOUR HEARTS FAINT! FEAR NOT! DO NOT TREMBLE! BE NOT TERRIFIED BECAUSE OF THEM! TBE LORD! THE LORD GOES WITH YOU! THE LORD GOES WITH YOU TO FIGHT FOR YOU AGAINST YOUR ENEMIES! TO SAVE YOU! If there is one thing I can’t help but be absolutely confounded and captivated by when reading the words of this chapter it’s when I consider them in light of the words which the ancient psalmist wrote. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book of the psalms you will find the author speaking of how some trust in hordes and some trust in chariots, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God. These words are absolutely remarkable and astonishing when you truly take the time to consider it, for you will recall that when David stood before Goliath in the valley of Elah, he emphatically declares unto the giant that he came against him with sword and spear, but how David came against and came to him in the name of the Lord his God. How absolutely astonishing this truly is when you take the time to consider what is being said, for within these passages we clearly see that there are those who trust in horses and those who trust in chariots, but how there are those who trust in the name of the Lord. In the narrative and account of Elisha the prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as in the case of the children of Israel when they came forth from the land of Egypt we find mention of horses and chariots. We dare not and ought not miss and lose sight of this astounding reality, for in the case of Elisha we find his servant arising from his sleep only to discover that the place they were lodging being completely surrounded by forces of the army of Syria. During the night forces of Syria had marched out against the prophet of God with horses and chariots, and had surrounded the city with those horses and chariots. Upon beholding they sight of being surrounded by horses and chariots the servant of the prophet Elisha cried out in fear because of the sight that was before him. Almost as if on cue and certainly unmoved by the sight which was before them the prophet Elisha declared unto this servant that those who be fore them were more than those who were against them. The prophet instructed this servant to fear not, and then prayed unto the Lord his God that he open his eyes that he might see. At first glance it seems uncertain why the prophet would pray such a prayer—why the prophet would pray that this servant would see. This is especially peculiar when you think about and consider that the servant had indeed seen and beheld when he awoke and arose that morning. It was precisely because this servant had seen with his eyes and beheld the forces of Syria’s before and round about them that he became fearful and cried out in the hearing of Elisha.
I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that Elisha prayed that the eyes of this servant might be opened, which is a clear indicator that even though he saw he did not truly see. Pause for a moment and think about that reality—the reality that even though this servant saw he did not truly see. I realize this might sound and it might seem like a contradiction, however, if you consider it in context you will find that while it was true the servant of the prophet saw, he saw only in the natural and only saw what was before and around him. The eyes of the servant were opened to the danger and threat that was before him, and he certainly wasn’t blind, for he did in fact see the horses and chariots of the army of Syria. What makes this matter all the more intriguing and interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that even though this prophet was not blind and could in fact clearly see the danger and threat which was before him he only saw in the natural and physical realm. This servant woke up and arose from his sleep in the morning and beheld all the horses and chariots which surrounded them, and all he could see was what was before him in the natural and physical realm. This servant was able to see in BB the natural and was able to see in the physical, however, we find from this passage that his sight was limited and was very much short sighted. As you read the words which are found within this passage of scripture you will find and discover that the problem was not that this servant could not see in the natural and in the physical but that he could not see in the supernatural and unseen realm. I find it absolutely and utterly fascinating when reading the words in this chapter for it is a theme flus reminder of the fact that although the servant of this prophet did in fact see in the natural and did in fact see what was before and all around him, he could not truly see what was found about him. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that although this prophet saw that they were and had been surrounded he could not see that they were surrounded. It is absolutely necessary that we take the time to consider this, for although the servant of the prophet Elisha could clearly see that they were and had been surrounded by horses and chariots in the natural he could not see that they were surrounded by an even greater force which was unseen. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely astonishing reality, for there wasn’t an issue with the physical sight of this servant, for he could see just fine in the natural. More often than not it is not our natural sight that is the problem and the trouble for us, but rather our inability to see past the natural and into the supernatural. More often then not the trouble we have within our lives is not that our eyes can’t and don’t see in the physical and natural realm, but rather that they perhaps only see in the natural and physical realm and cannot see into the supernatural and spiritual realm of the unseen.
Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that what is true of the servant of the prophet Elisha here in the natural in terms of what we see we with our eyes is also true of what we see with our hearts and what we see experience with our souls and minds? Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that more often than not we are able to clearly see and clearly feel those things which are before and around us in the natural realm, and are able to experience them within the depths of our heart and soul, however, there is this nagging and underlying trouble that we have when we are only able to allow ourselves to experience such realities in the natural with our hearts and our minds? We tend to think that sight is simply limited and relegated to that which we see with our eyes, and yet the truth of the matter is that we can indeed and can in fact see with our heart and see with our mind. Have you ever stopped to think about and consider the fact that it is possible to see in the natural and physical realm with your eyes, however, it is also possible to see in the natural with your mind and with your heart? In fact, there are countless times when what you see with your eyes in the natural and physical realm directly impacts how and what you see in the natural with your heart and mind. What’s more, is that there might be times within your life when you might not see anything with your natural eyes, but there is something that is seen with your heart and something that is seen with your mind which has you feeling very much like this servant of Elisha—fearful, terrified and frightened because of the danger and threat which might be before you. It is very much possible to not have anything before you in the natural which you see with your eyes, however, the truth of the matter is that there is in fact something which you can clearly see with your heart and with your mind—perhaps even feel with your heart and soul, which is manifested in the natural and physical realm. We would be incredibly naïve to think about and consider the fact that what is written and found within this narrative and account of the servant of Elisha the prophet of Israel directly applies only to him, and even only applies to that which we see in the natural realm with our eyes—perhaps even with our hearts and minds. We must recognize and realize that as certainly and as much as we can indeed and can in fact see with our eyes in the natural and physical realm, so also can we see in the natural with our hearts and with our minds. In fact, more often than not our hearts and minds can see something and perhaps make it feel and appear as though it is more than what it actually and truly is. There are times when our hearts and our minds can completely and utterly deceive us and can make and allow something to appear and feel more real than it actually is.
THE DECEPTIVE TRICKS OF THE HEART! THE CUNNING DEVICES OF THE MIND! It is worth thinking about and consider as you read the words within this narrative that you recognize and understand the tremendous reality that more often than not your heart can indeed make something appear larger and greater than it actually is in the natural and physical realm. Please note that I do recognize and realize that there are indeed times within our lives when our hearts are not exaggerating and are not blowing things out of proportion, and that what we are facing and experiencing is truly something extraordinary, and something that is very much real and very much tangible. Please note that I fully realize that there are times within our lives when our hearts do in fact confirm what we find to be a present reality within our lives, and make us very much aware of that which is before us. There are times within our lives when our heart does in fact confirm what we see within the natural and physical realm, and there are times when our mind also confirms that which is found in the natural and physical realm. We dare not be naïve to think and consider the fact that such realities aren’t true at certain points and certain times within our lives. What I am speaking about and what I am suggesting within this writing is that there are times when our heart can in fact be dangerously deceptive and can in fact exaggerate the matters which are before us. There are times within our lives—perhaps more often than we care to admit—when our hearts play tricks on us and cause those things which perhaps aren’t really there to appear as though they are there, or if those things are there, they make them appear to be far greater and far bigger than they actually are. When the twelve spies entered into the land of Canaan they did in fact see the descendant of Anak within the land—the descendants of a race of giants which were present within the earth. The twelve spies all beheld and all saw the giants which were present in the land, and yet there is a vast difference between seeing the giants in the natural and allowing them to be giants within our hearts and minds, and seeing the giants in the natural and allowing them to be mere men in our hearts and minds. Would it surprise you to think about and consider the fact that it is possible to look upon and behold giants in the your life and that your heart and mind can either make those giants appear to be as great and as large as they might actually be, or your heart and your mind can cause the size of those giants to pale in comparison to the God whom your serve and follow? We dare not miss and dare not lose sight of the fact that all twelve spies which entered into the land of Canaan saw and beheld the giants which were present within the land, however, only two of the twelve spies allowed their hearts and their minds to see the giants in perspective and relation to how great the Lord their God was.
The more I think about and the more I consider this absolutely astounding reality, the more I can’t help but think about the fact that our hearts and minds can be dangerously deceptive in that they can greatly exaggerate matters within our lives, and they can even make objects appear larger than they truly are. If we are being honest with ourselves and with the Lord our God we must admit the tremendous reality that our hearts and our minds can in fact, and do in fact play tricks in our lives, and cause us to see things in an entirely different light which is vastly different than what truly is and what is truly before us. Our hearts and our minds can be dangerously deceptive and crafty within our lives, for they can cause and allow things in our lives to become greater and larger than they actually are. Our hearts and our minds can be so crafty and so cunning that they actually cause things within our lives to appear far greater and far bigger than they actually are. More often than not it isn’t that we cannot and do not see with our hearts and our minds but that there are countless times when what we see with hearts and minds is greatly exaggerated and is made larger and greater than it truly and actually is. It is absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that Saul and all the army of Israel saw Goliath standing in the valley of Elah, and both Saul and the entire army trembled in fear before Goliath, and yet David was the only one who saw Goliath beyond the natural and beyond the physical realm. David was the only one who saw the giant which stood before them in the valley of Elah and saw him as but a mere man compare to the Lord his God whom he served and worshipped. I am convinced that the same spirit that was in Caleb and Joshua was the same spirit which was in David, for all three of these men saw giants, and all three of these men saw giants just as much and just as well as those in their generation did, and yet they saw the giants size in direct proportion to the size of the Lord their God, and the God who could and would give them great victory over the giants which were before them. Oh how absolutely fascinating and wonderful it is to think about and consider the tremendous reality that these three men did in fact look upon and behold giants which were before them, and yet they would and could not allow those giants to be as such within their hearts and minds. Did you know that it might be possible that you can face giants within your life, and yet your heart and your mind can reduce those giants down to what they actually are? Did you know that it might be possible that you can face giants within your life, and they might indeed and might in fact be actual giants which are before you in the valleys of your life, and yet while they might be giants in the natural and physical realm, they are dwarfs in your heart and mind. Would you be shocked to think about and consider the fact that it is possible to see giants in the natural and physical realm, and while they might be actual giants in the natural and physical realm—in our hearts and in our minds they are nothing more than dwarfs? Each and every time we encounter and face giants within our lives we are faced with the tremendous challenge of allowing those giants to remain as they are within our hearts and minds, or causing those giants to be reduced and cut down in size within our hearts and minds as they pale in comparison to the greatness, the majesty, the might, and the power of the living God within our lives.
This reality of seeing but not truly seeing, and being surrounded in the natural yet being surrounded in the supernatural and spiritual is utterly and completely fascinating the more you consider it within your heart and life. The servant of the prophet of Elisha could in fact see within the natural realm, and there was never an issue with whether or not he could indeed and could in fact see. The trouble was not that this servant could not see and needed his sight restored or given unto him, but rather that he could not and did not see the way he was intended to see. I can’t help but think about and consider the absolutely remarkable and astounding reality that there are countless times within our lives—more often than not—when although we might very well see in the natural and physical realm, what is needed in great measure within our hearts and lives is to see in the unseen and supernatural realm. For most of us the trouble and difficulty we face is not that we cannot and do not see what is before us, but that we only see part of the picture and don’t often see what is truly before us, and what we truly need to see. The prophet Elisha prayed that the eyes of his servant might be opened, and yet when he prayed unto the Lord his God, and when he prayed in the hearing of this servant, he did not mention what his eyes needed to see or even why his eyes needed to be opened. I would imagine the servant of the prophet Elisha might have been somewhat confused to hear the prophet pray unto the LORD his God and ask that his eyes might be opened, for clearly his eyes were opened, for he saw the horses and chariots of Syria which were before and all around them. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for the servant of the prophet Elisha to hear and listen to him pray and ask that his eyes might be opened knowing that it was he who had spoken unto Elisha concerning the horses and chariots which were before and all around them. It was true this servant did in fact and could in fact see, however, there was something else that was missing , for there was something that he was not seeing. I am thoroughly convinced that this reality is true of us within our lives, for there are countless times when we are indeed able to see what is before us, and yet the trouble and difficult lies not in what we can see with our natural eyes, but what we can’t see. The prophet Elisha prayed unto the LORD his God that the eyes of this servant might be opened, and it isn’t until we find the Lord answering and responding to the prayer of Elisha that we discover why his eyes did in fact need to be opened. It isn’t until we find and read that the LORD opened the eyes of this servant and allowed him to see the hills and mountains were filled with horses and chariots of fire round about and surrounding—not only Elisha and this servant, but also the horses and chariots of the army of Syria which was before and all around them.
Perhaps the single greatest question we must ask ourselves when and as we read the words found within these verses is not whether or not we can in fact and do in fact see in the natural and physical realm, but whether or not we can truly see the way we were created and intended to see. For most of us the trouble is not that we can’t and don’t see what is before us, but rather that we can’t see beyond the natural and physical realm and see into the unseen and supernatural realm. What’s so absolutely astounding about the narrative of Elisha, his servant and the horses and chariots of Syria is that the story in Dothan begins with the servant seeing and beholding the horses and chariots of Syria before and around them, and continues with the prophet Elisha praying unto the Lord his God that the eyes of this servant might be opened. This is worth noting, for as the narrative and account progresses you will find that the prophet Elisha prayed unto the LORD his God that he might strike them with blindness. How absolutely incredible and astounding it is to think about and consider that a narrative that was focused so heavily on what was and what could be seen would ultimately take a turn where the prophet would pray that the eyes of the soldiers of Syria would be made blind. What began with sight would ultimately transition to the removal of sight and blindness, as the Lord heartened unto the voice of Elisha and caused the eyes of the soldiers of Syria to be blind and unable to see. Oh how absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about and consider this absolutely tremendous reality, for it is absolutely astonishing when you consider the fact that there were very real horses and chariots which were before Elisha and his servant, and yet although the servant of Elisha could only see in the natural, the Lord would open his eyes that he might see in the unseen and natural realm. During the days of Elijah he prayed that the heavens might be shut up, and would later pray that the heavens might be opened, and that it might bring forth rain. IN the narrative of Elisha and his servant he would pray that the eyes of his servant might be opened, but he also prayed that the eyes of the soldiers of Syria might be made blind. Oh how absolutely wonderful it is to read the narrative that is found in this passage of Scripture and to think about and consider the fact that while it is true that some trust in horses and some trust in chariots, we are not only instructed not to be afraid, but we are also instructed to trust in the name of the Lord our God.