Parson to Person: Don’t be afraid
“When the servant of the man of God (the prophet, Elisha) got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, 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, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and le looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” – II Kings 6: 15-17.
This scripture calls our attention to the hostilities that Israel was experiencing with the king of Aram (Syria). The principle source of these hostilities continued in the form of invading bands or plundering parties who would make border raids against the Jews rather than an invasion of an organized Syrian army.
Each time the Syrians would make a raid into Israel their plans were spoiled through the revelation given by God to Elisha. Elisha would inform the king of Israel, who would then take precautions against their invasion.
What can we learn from this event by ways of application?
First, we have an illustration of the mighty power of God, who knows the plans of our adversaries and provides methods of protection through the full armor that comes to us in Christ.
And, second, we are shown how to minister to our fears (and those of the people we serve) by offering encouragement, giving Biblical instruction and going to God in prayer for illumination of the solutions to our problems. God uses people. God uses His word to give power and personal love and teaching of his people.
The following story was reported by a medical missionary at his home church in Michigan:
“While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, I traveled every two weeks by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This required camping overnight halfway. On one of these trips I saw two men fighting in the city. One was seriously injured, so I treated him and witnessed to him of the Lord Jesus Christ. I then returned home without incident.
“Upon arriving in the city several weeks later, I was approached by the man I had treated earlier. He told me he had known that I carried money and medicine. He said, ‘Some friends and I followed you into the jungle knowing you would camp overnight. We waited for you to go to sleep and planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. Just as we were about to move into your campsite, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.’
“I laughed at this and said I was certainly all alone out in the jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, ‘No, sir, I was not the only one to see the guards. My friends also saw them and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.’”
At this point in the church presentation in Michigan, one of the men in the church jumped up and interrupted the missionary and asked, ‘Can you tell me the exact date when this happened?” The missionary thought for awhile and recalled the date. The man in the congregation told his side of the story:
“On that night in Africa it was morning here. I was preparing to play golf. As I put my bag in the car, I felt the Lord leading me to pray for you. In fact, the urging was so strong that I called the men of this church together to pray for you. Will all of those men who met with me that day please stand?”
The men who had met that day to pray together stood — there were 26 of them.
Our faith teaches us to believe in God’s promises, but it does not mean we should test the Lord by taking chances and not taking normal precautions. God has promised to be with us and to give His angels charge over us. His sovereign will and plan are His own and He may allow disaster to take place (as He did with Joseph, Job, Peter and Paul) but He will never abandon us.
It’s easy for us to become frightened and feel abandoned. Yet, all the while God is so close that if we’re not careful, we may bump into Him.