This morning’s thought for the day comes from Rev’d Willie.
2 Kings 6:8-23
Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, ‘I will set up my camp in such and such a place.’
9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: ‘Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.’ 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, ‘Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?’
12 ‘None of us, my lord the king,’ said one of his officers, ‘but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.’
13 ‘Go, find out where he is,’ the king ordered, ‘so that I can send men and capture him.’ The report came back: ‘He is in Dothan.’ 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 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 no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked.
16 ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’
17 And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that 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 round Elisha.
18 As the enemy came down towards him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, ‘Strike this army with blindness.’ So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
19 Elisha told them, ‘This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.’ And he led them to Samaria.
20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, ‘Lord, open the eyes of these men so that they can see.’ Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, ‘Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?’
22 ‘Do not kill them,’ he answered. ‘Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.’ 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
This is the Word of the Lord: thanks be to God.
The inevitable day has come; we are to stay at home. Our children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces will find this hard to understand; even as adults we are almost bewildered by it. Caroline and I have said a few times “Is this all a dream. Will we wake up and it will all just have been a dream” – more a nightmare really! In truth we are all struggling to make sense of it.
This isolation is not an easy thing, especially for those who live alone. ‘The walls begin to come in on you’ is how Diane one of prisoners used to describe her cell after lock up to me when I ministered in Hydebank. Each day we listen to the news to discover how many more are dead, how many more are infected and what the next ‘directive’ from Boris and his team will be. The unknown is always a challenge and the future is inevitably now going to be different. Fear, sadness and a sense of defeat could too easily consume us. I am so mindful of those who have to work on the frontline. The war is on against this virus and the soldiers are our doctors and nurses and other health care professionals who have had to enlist to fight of this evil. Those not trained to go to the front line are keeping us fed. Tesco has become, in this technological world, the local farmer of the war years feeding the village.
Yet what about this story from 2nd Kings and Elisha the prophet of Israel; the Man of God?
The King of Aram has surrounded the city of Dotham where Elisha is settled. His servant wakens and is fearful that the enemy has them trapped; he feels like there is no escape. Yet HEAR what Elisha says to him: (verse 16)
‘Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them’.
What did he mean? The servant of Elisha knew that physically they were surrounded by the enemies army; they were trapped. Outnumbered!
This is where we need eyes of faith, hearts of faith, minds filled with the word of God. Elisha knew that God’s Angels were surrounding him. It’s what I have been praying for you and your homes these past days. Literally I have been asking that ‘those who are for you would be greater than the enemy whobis against you’.
We don’t often think of Angels do we? We pathetically and superstitiously speak of ‘my guardian angel’. Let us grow up, let us grow beyond superstition and let us be Biblical Christians. God has hosts of Angel’s serving him and carefully protecting his people. We just can’t see them, but by faith we believe and trust they are there.
When the Lord opened Elisha’s servant’s eyes what did he see?
He saw ‘horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha’.
An Angel host protecting the man of God.
The servant of the Man of God needed his faith eyes opened, so that he could see spiritually and clearly the beautiful protection of this supernatural Angel host ‘watching over’ him. Don’t forget that Angels ministered to Jesus; don’t forget all the stories coming for Arab nations where Christianity is illegal and many speak of angel visits and through them have put their trust in Christ.
Today I am asking afresh that the Lord would encircle you, your homes, your families with his angelic host.
To protect and keep.
To save and to rescue.
To deliver and to comfort.
It is my prayer that when the enemy the Devil, who is made manifest in the Coronavirus, looks at Ireland he will be struck blind and led to ‘Samaria’; literally up a blind alley; up the garden path, and that the Coronavirus will not take the foothold here in Ireland as it did in Italy and Spain. Ask the Lord to protect your home, the homes of your family and neighbours and the very doors of our hospitals by setting his angels at the door posts as protectors, so that this enemy of humanity will pass by us with so much less carnage, loss and tragedy than in China, Italy and Spain.
My prayer is very simple and I ask you to pray it with me;
“Lord encircle my flock, its sheep, its goats and its little lambs, with an army of flaming horses and chariots, as you did in the day of Elisha, so that the enemy, Coronavirus, will see our protection and flee from us. In Jesus name I pray. Amen’.
Angels are everywhere in the Scriptures:
‘After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.’
Angels of the Lord – it’s now time to ask the Lord to open our spiritual eyes, to see things spiritually and to believe!
Whatever comes he will carry you.
Wherever you go he will go with you.
Whoever you face he will encircle you.
Whenever you come to him he will listen.