Surrounded- What Are We To Do?
2 Kings 6:15-20
The servant of Elisha the Prophet awakens one morning and goes outside only to see several thousand well-armed enemy troops surrounding their little town. Overwhelmed with fear, he cries out to the prophet, “Alas, what shall we do?”
A vast number of American Christians are beginning to feel the same way, especially as they look about at the rising tide of the many enemies of the gospel that are surrounding us on every side – Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Satanism, atheism, humanism, transgenderism, and multiculturalism, etc. Fear is causing many to cry out, "What shall we do?" When we feel outgunned, outnumbered, and outwitted, whether it be on the political, social, or spiritual battlefield, and our hearts are filled with the temptation to give in to fear -- “Alas, what shall we do?” Well, instead of crying to be taken off the field and out of this world, we need to get back onto the field and out to the whole world with the whole gospel, which alone is the power of God unto salvation. Also we need to get back into the Scriptures to see what men and women of God did in similar situations.
The strategy for what to do when the enemies of God have surrounded us is set forth clearly and perpetually in the life and ministry of Elisha, the Prophet. The OT prophet Elisha is a type of the Church functioning in full faith assurance and authority as kingdom of heaven ambassadors.
Like Elisha, We are to Encourage Fearful Covenant Partners by Unveiling Our Allies in Spiritual Warfare – 2 Kings 6:13-17
The Servant had Allowed Fear of What was Obviously in Front of Him to Blind Him to the Fact of What was Actually Around Him -- 2 Kings 6:15-17
"When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" He said, "Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see." So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
The young man’s eyes were open to the material realm but closed to the spiritual. He did not see the horses and chariots of fire that were round about Elisha. He did not realize that deliverance was at hand. How many like him are blind to the power and providences of God because they have an "excluded middle" worldview!
The truth is that enemies of the gospel surround Christians in most of the major cities in America. In New York City alone there are over 105 languages spoken. However, that’s “up North”, what about “down South”?
Consider metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, which has been hailed as the home of almost six million persons and more than 137,000 businesses. The chamber of commerce proclaims that Georgia’s capital city has drawn more "in-migration" than any area in the USA over the last two decades.
Alarmingly, while many Baptist and other evangelical churches are disbanding or deserting the inner city, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, and other religious groups are gearing up to convert the people of metro Atlanta. There are more than 92 different languages spoken in Greater Atlanta.
As of 2007, there were 79 Muslim mosques, six Baha'i (Baha'i has its roots in the Islam religion.) worship centers, and 29 Muslim cultural and learning centers in the Atlanta metro area. There are also multiple mosque plants across the metro area.
There are 52 Hindu temples presently operational or under construction in the greater Atlanta area.
On August 26, 2007 a massive and ornate Hindu temple was dedicated in Lilburn on 29 acres of land at a cost of $19 million. The temple rises to a height of 72 feet and is reported to be the second largest Hindu temple outside of India.
There are 82 Buddhist temples already in existence or under construction in the Atlanta area. Additionally, Fox News announced on October 22, 2007, that the Dalai Lama, a Tibetan Buddhist, was installed as a professor at Emory University.
The Christian Index also reported 51 wards (administrative divisions presided over by a bishop) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) now located in the Atlanta area.
The above demographic study fails to include the prevalence of such religious persuasions as Scientology, Kabala, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Unitarian Universalists.
But the greatest threat to the Christian faith, as well as the greatest opportunity for it, is with Islam and the Muslims.
Abdullah Al Araby has written a book entitled, The Islamization of America: The Islamic Strategies and The Christian Response. In it, he reveals the strategic aim of Islam: “Currently, there is another force that is subtly working inside of America to abolish our Judeo-Christian culture. This movement is far more malignant than Communism could have ever been. The movement is Islam, which is determined to Islamize our nation.
“It (Islam) poses a much more realistic threat, because we naively believe the politically correct hype about Islam being a peaceful religion that is fed to us on the evening news. The fact is, it is a religious as well as a political, economical, and social system that demands rule over every aspect of life. Nothing goes untainted. Its ultimate goal is a Religious-State government wherein Muslim clerics wield the authority to dictate our nation’s economic, political, social, and foreign policies. Equipped with our military might, it will attempt to conquer the world.”
Europe is already surrounded by Muslims and is ripe for takeover without a fight. Over forty percent of Rotterdam, Holland's population is Muslim. In Belgium, Sweden, Amsterdam, France, Britain, guess what the most popular boys’ name was – Mohammed! Radio talk-show host and author, Mark Steyn writes, “Western civilization -- wedded to multiculturalism that undercuts its own confidence, a welfare state that nudges it toward sloth and self-indulgence, and a childlessness that consigns it to oblivion – is looking ever more like the ruins of a civilization.” These are truly scary facts -- unless you have a God-centered, gospel-based outlook that sees it as the greatest opportunity in history to bring masses of radical Muslims to faith in Christ! We must begin to stop trembling in fear and start ministering in faith because we have eyes to see what the natural man cannot!
When Elisha was trapped in Dothan, his servant was afraid because of the Syrian army. But when Elisha prayed that his eyes would be opened, he looked and, "…saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kings 6:17). They were there all along, but he didn't see them until Elisha prayed for him. And this is the way it is with many spiritual realities. They are there, but they are not normally visible to our eyes. They are hidden realities, but nonetheless real and readily available to assist us in waging successful spiritual warfare.
Chariots of fire in this portion of Scripture is a metaphor for the invisible, supernatural realities, i.e. angels, that exist as contrasted to the visible realities of limited power (the Syrian army). Despite the unbelief of many, these spiritual realities do exist. In fact, ultimate reality is the invisible triune God, whose kingdom is forever and ever, and which includes his holy angels and the spirits of just men made perfect. Ultimate reality is the invisible reality of heaven, hell, and the kingdom of God.
Like Elisha, We Need to Stop Fearing and Start Praying for the Eyes of God’s Covenant Partners to be Opened!
In 2 Kings 2, Elisha himself had had a crisis as to whether he would be able to observe the chariots of fire, to wear Elijah's mantle, and receive a double portion of Elijah’s anointing in order to be what he knew he was called to be, to have the faith to trust God and not just his common sense sight. Realizing what he had been given, he prayed for others to have the same. His was a powerful ministry of seeing the invisible and giving it away. "Lord, open his eyes! It's not my persuasion, my political contacts, my powerful prophesying that will help, it's my prayers."
Here’s the first type of praying we need to be doing daily, especially in times of fear and distress:
“O Lord, open the eyes of our hearts so that we may see spiritually what is really going on around us. Let Your Covenant partners see what are you doing behind the curtains of history. Let us see You as Large and in Charge and history as having already climaxed in the victory of Jesus’ first Advent and will be consummated in Him at His Last Advent!
Open our eyes so that we see clearly and correctly that they that are with us are more in number, power, and authority than those that are with the enemies of the gospel. Open our eyes so that we believe what you say over what we see or sense!
Open the eyes of our hearts so that fear is replaced by faith; trembling over the numbers against us is replaced with trust in the God who is with us, for us, in us, over us – the God who has us covered!
Open our eyes to see that You have simplified the situation by surrounding us with the nations – many of whom are still enemies of the gospel! Open our eyes to see and savor the only Savior of sinners -- Christ, our Lord -- and to see fields that are ripe for harvest and not just forces arrayed against us!
Empower us to daily “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor 4:17).
Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1 has the same language as 2 Kings 6: "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe." (Ephs 1:17-19a.)
Like Elisha, We are to Confuse the Enemy by Utilizing Our Authority in Spiritual-Warfare-Type Praying! – 2 Kings 6:18-19
My dear friend and mentor, Herb Hodges suggested a special way to pray for the nations arrayed against the gospel – especially the Muslims – in the prayers that Elisha prayed. After studying them and asking for insight, I believe he was right.
Elisha Prayed for the Fact of Their True Spiritual Blindness to be Felt by Being Brought to a State of Mental Confusion -- 2 Kings 6:18-19
The blindness with which they were smitten was not real, i.e. a blindness that involved actual loss of sight -- but a state of illusion and delusion in which a man sees things otherwise than as they really are. Not literal blindness, or they could not have followed Elisha’s lead, and marched a distance of twelve miles to Samaria; but a state of confusion and bewilderment, in which” seeing they saw, but did not perceive.”
Elisha Prayed for their Eyes to be Opened so They Could See Their Helpless and Hopeless Plight
In the answer to Elisha’s prayer, we see the power of God over the minds and understanding of men, both ways; he enlightened the eyes of Elisha's friend, and darkened the eyes of his foes, that they might see indeed, but not perceive. “For this twofold judgment Christ came into this world, that those who see not might see, and that those who see might be made blind (John 9:39).
Here is the type of praying we need to be doing daily, especially when we are surrounded by the enemies of the gospel:
“O Lord, make those enemies of the gospel, who have surrounded us, and intend to convert us to their false religions or enslave or kill us, blind to their demonically inspired confidence. Show them their inadequacy and impotence to frustrate the gospel’s purpose and power! Show them their arrogance and pride and bring them to a state of confusion, and bewilderment. Deceive the deceivers so that all their evil plans are frustrated and results in masses of them coming to true faith in Christ.
Open the eyes of these enemies of the gospel and take away their confusion of vision that they may discern things as they are, and distinguish where they are in their lack of a true relationship with You, the Lord of Glory.
Open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in You.
Open the eyes of their hearts so that the Word of the gospel becomes revelation knowledge through the lifting of the veil of unbelief. Enable them to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Just as You said, "Let light shine out of darkness," at creation, shine in their hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Fact -- we are surrounded by enemies of the gospel.
Truth -- all the greatness of God and all of heaven’s angels and assets are available to the people of God -- the Church -- when She replaces fear with faith; a runner’s mentality with a rulers; a reliance on Madison Avenue and Hollywood techniques with total dependence on God and His gospel. When She begins to see the unseen, but very real alliances with us (angels) and not just the adversaries against us (devil and demons); when she has her fear-blinded eyes opened to the world-discipling opportunities that being surrounded is bringing to us! God will do anything for the true Church, the Bride of His Son Jesus, in this great hour of history. We need to be expecting all kinds of fantastic, mind-boggling things as God shows His miraculous power for world harvest.
From victory unto victory, His Army shall He lead, "til every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed!