2 Kings 6-10 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He surrounds us with His army of protection

Spies, counterspies and espionage – all ingredients for a great story, at least in my mind.  I love spy stuff and really enjoyed visiting the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. a few years ago.  The inventory of spy gear, listening and recording devices and weapons developed over the years boasts of a well-developed spy industry around the world.  The Museum tells the story of many notorious spies dating back to early Roman times and even offers the visitors the opportunity to adopt spy profiles and memorize their covers. Fun stuff.

Most spies through the ages had one goal in mind and that was to secure classified information from enemy territory for their king, country or company, and they used many different tools to accomplish it.  However, one spy in history never had to infiltrate enemy territory, never used spy gear and was always right on the money.  What government wouldn’t pay big bucks to sign up the prophet Elisha!  Unfortunately, his services have been terminated…but not his Source. 

@ 2 Kings 6
The King of Aram was at war with Israel, but every strategic move he planned fell into the hands of his enemy, Israel.  Certain that there was a spy within his ranks, he questioned them and soon learned that the prophet Elisha was the culprit. “It’s not us, my lord the king,’ one of the officers replied.  ‘Elisha…tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in the privacy of your bedroom!’” (12)  Obviously, Elisha had supernatural help.

The king sent a large army to capture the threat to his kingdom, but they were no match for this humble prophet.  When the mighty army surrounded Elisha, his servant cried out, “Oh sir, what will we do now?”(15)  More calm, cool and collected than 007, Elisha replied, “Don’t be afraid!… For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’  The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.”(16-17)

In the battles we face against our enemy, there is a dimension beyond what we see in the natural, a Source not limited by spy paraphernalia.  He knows the enemy’s strategy and is never taken by surprise.  We may be tempted to cry out in the heat of battle, “What will we do now?”  But that is when, like Elijah, we should pray, “O Lord, open my eyes and let me see.”  And at that moment, we will see through eyes of faith the invisible and know that we are not alone for there are more horses and chariots of fire on our side than any number of enemies we may face

“The angel of the Lord is a guard:  he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” (Psalm 34:7)   He was with Daniel in the lion’s den, the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, Peter in the prison cell and He is with us in whatever battle we are facing.  “If God is for us, who can ever be against us.” (Romans 8:31)  When we pray, He will open our spiritual eyes to see His hand, His army, His whatever that is needed to bring victory to our lives, and we will not be afraid! 

Moving Forward: I will move forward this day with the confidence that my Source already knows the enemy’s strategy and has surrounded me with an invincible defense. 

Tomorrow @ Psalm 81-83

2 Kings 1-5 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: With His abundant provision, He blesses our obedience

Being Italian and all, I experience a sense of panic when I’m down to the last of my olive oil.  Olive oil is the start of almost everything I cook and often the finishing touch.  If I ever ran out of it, well…obviously, we would have to eat out!  A poor widow in Israel was down to her last small bottle of olive oil, but that was the least of her problems. 

@ 2 Kings 4
The widow explained to the prophet Elisha, “My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord.  But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.” (1)  Thankfully, Elisha was concerned not only with nations and kings, but he was also interested in how he could help her.  Even though much of the nation of Israel was godless and corrupt at the time, God provided for His children who loved Him.  This is a powerful word for us today.

“Tell me, what do you have in the house?”  Enter the bottle of olive oil. “‘Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,’ she replied.” (2)  It’s amazing what God can do with nothing at all.  In obedience to Elisha’s instruction, the widow and her sons collected empty jars from their friends and neighbors.  Surely this seemed strange to them, but they borrowed the jars in faith. And the miracle came, not through their understanding of it, but through their obedience to it.  So often our faith fails, but never His faithfulness.

Elisha instructed them to “borrow as many empty jars as they could…then go into the house with your sons and shut the door behind you.”(3)  No doubt the creditors were watching, and the friends and neighbors were curious about what was happening.  Perhaps Elisha shut the door because he wanted to be certain that no one caused them to doubt with questions and criticism that would circumvent this miracle from God.  Likewise, we would do well to protect ourselves from those, well-meaning or not, who would hinder our obedience to Him.  “Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars…So she did as she was told.  Her sons kept bringing jars to her, and she filled one after another.  Soon every container was full to the brim!” (4)  If this miracle doesn’t excite us, we should check our pulse – really!

The increase came in the pouring out, not the hoarding of what she considered nothing at all – a flask of oil.  Regardless of our need, what do we possess?  Perhaps it’s something we consider nothing at all that we can offer to Him in obedience.  In our submission we are saying, “This is yours, Lord, use it, multiply it, and pour it out however you choose.  I don’t need to understand because I know you are faithful.”

However He leads, whether through His whisper or His guidance through open doors, let’s be enthusiastically obedient, full of faith for our needs to be met and then some.  What if the widow had borrowed only 1 or 2 jars?  “Bring me another jar,’ she said to one of her sons.  ‘There aren’t any more,’ he told her.  And then the olive oil stopped flowing.”  I don’t want my faith to stop short of all He wants to provide for me – I want to fill every last jar!

“When she told the man of God what had happened, he said to her, ‘Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts, and you and your sons can live on what is left over.’” (7)  Needs met…and then some!  An old Gary Chapman song comes to mind, “I’m yours, Lord, everything I’ve got.  Everything I am, everything I’m not…”  I want to give it all to God and trust Him to meet my needs…and then some! 

Moving Forward: With His Word thrilling my heart today, I once again pour myself out, everything I am, everything I’m not.  I can’t wait to see what His hand provides. 

Tomorrow @ Psalms 78-80