Sermon delivered August 25, 2991 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Blind to the Blaze

II Kings 6:8-23

I would like to speak to you about Elisha. This is number eight in a series of ten sermons on ELISHA

Did you know that over eighty percent of the people living in the world today are legally blind! They are Blind! Only twenty percent of the world are Christians Blind to Spiritual things. You see, Christians don't see things the way others do. We look at things with spiritual eyes that see beyond what is evident to the unbeliever.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. You have to see them with spiritual eyes. That's the only way you are ever going to see. And most of the world is blind. You see, Christians who live the closest to Jesus begin to see the invisible. Elisha had more than 20/20 vision. If all you're operating on is 20/20 vision, you're blind. You need more. You need heavenly vision.

Come to 2 Kings 6, and here s our story for today. This is an exciting story. Ben Hadad, the king of the Arameans, Assyrians, was a hot head. Remember Ben Hadad? When we talked about Naaman, Naaman's king was Ben Hadad. He worshiped temple of Rimmon the Syrian war god. You become like what you idolize. Ben Hadad was warlike. He worshiped a war god and he liked to fight. So you have to be careful what you like, because you're going to become just like it. That's what happened to him. He wanted to get him right there in his hand and take care of him. Border clashes with Israel were growing more numerous. And by the way, this very same war is still going on today between Israel and that same hostile territory.

Eventually the Syrian King set up an ambush to trap the king of Israel. But our dear God intervened. 2 Kings 6:9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: "Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there." Every time they would go down and set up the ambush, lo and behold, they were told about it.

Time after time Elisha the informer disclosed his king of those who were lying in wait to do their king evil. You know, God knows all the plans of the Devil. He knows what he's up to. God wants us to know when and where the next attack will come. Do you believe that? Did you know that the greatest shield a nation can have is the presence of citizens who are God fearing and Christlike. Elisha was the only one who was standing between destruction and the king because he kept informing the king not to go where he would be trapped.

I believe that the presence of Christians in any nation is a deterrent to what the devil would like to do to that nation. Elisha protected his country. Do you think you could stand in the way of the devil harming your family? Maybe some person in your family is actually preventing the devil from doing what he want to do to that family. Don't give that up. Be sure to stand as a shield for your family.

2 Kings 6:11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?" "We've got a spy in the camp. One of you is telling. We've got a tattle-tale here. And you just tell me who it is and I'll take care of him. Ben Hadad suspected a traitor among his troops. Every move was known to his enemies. Somebody had to be telling. This spy, this double agent must be found. This heathen ruler never imagined it was God who was informing He didn't know that God knows everything. There is nothing we can hide from Him. He know everything.

2 Kings 6:12 "None of us (are spies), 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." "God knows what you whisper in your bedroom. God knows the secrets of our hearts. He sees what we do in seclusion. Nothing is hidden." God knows the secrets of our hearts. God sees everything we do. Nothing is in secret. Nothing is hidden.

Elisha alone was shielding his people from catastrophe. Often one person in a family is holding things together. Maybe the Godly life of a mother prevents harm from consuming her little family. Perhaps God is calling you to stand in the way of Satan overcoming some poor soul. Stand in the Devils path. Spoil his plans. But be prepared. You will be a marked man or woman.

So Ben Hadad sent a Special Forces Battalion of his best elite troops to capture Elisha. A battalion has four companies of 200 soldiers each: 800 soldiers in all. He sent them there. He was on the ten-most-wanted list. Strict orders were given to capture the prophet and bring him back. These evil warriors hated God's prophet. When evil men criticize you and the Devil despises you, that might not be a bad thing. It is when honorable folk speak badly of you that you should fear.

Poor Elisha. Here he was doing God's work, but he was encompassed by the devil's hit squad. He was surrounded. Are you surrounded by people who hate you? Do your neighbors hate you? Are you despised? Don't give up. God has a thousand ways to save you from those who would harm you. When your situation becomes hopeless and the calamities of life surround you, you need to look beyond your problem and see God's answer. That's what we need to be doing as Christians.

2 Kings 6:15 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. This was really just a little town. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. During the night, a whole army had quietly taken up positions circling the village. They had come to get Elisha. Now, talk about over-kill! They came to get one man. How many men did they send? A whole battalion! Could it be that the devil is more afraid of us than we realize?

Dothan was about 60 miles North of Jerusalem. Dothan means "Two Wells" where you could get your water. Elisha had made his headquarters in this pastoral place. The fields were good. It was a good place to live. One morning his servant (this was not Gehazi, he had leprosy. This was another servant, a new servant) went out, probably to get some water from one of those two wells for the morning breakfast. By the way you can still see those two wells today. As he walked to the well suddenly his eyes focused beyond the well to a great army and it startled him. His hair stood on end. Everywhere he looked fierce soldiers, warriors, heathen hordes were had taken up their position with their spears. The town was completely surrounded. They were as good as dead. They didn't stand a chance. This was terrible. He didn't know what the soldiers wanted, but obviously he and Elisha were in the middle of it. He rushed back to the tent to tell Elisha the bad news.

He was filled with Fear. Did you know that in the King James Bible we are told 365 times not to fear. One for every day of the year. We're not supposed to be afraid, are we. I think we fear our enemies so much because we fear God so little. We need to fear the Lord and we won't have to fear our enemies. When you are encompassed with those who would kill your reputation, by those who would harm you, remember that the keys to life and death no longer sway on the Devil's key ring any more. Jesus has the keys of life and of death.

How often we Christians today look at our problems with worldly eyes. We seem to be totally surrounded by problems on every side. Like a downed paratrooper in enemy territory we are outnumbered and running low on ammunition. We might as well get the white flag ready, ironed. We're done. We have to surrender. Is your life under siege? We are looking at the problem instead of the answer. What we Christians need is a good eye Doctor. We need better eyesight. We need the ability to see what God is going to do for us.

You may say, "Well, you don't understand my problem." Well, God does. I love the courage of this next verse, 2 Kings 6:16, "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Praise God for that verse! Here they were, surrounded by all those enemies. "Don't worry." Is that a true statement? Absolutely. How many of the angels of heaven fell? One third. That means there are two thirds still on our side.

Elisha could obviously see this shining celestial convoy. His vision removed his fear. Proverbs 28:1 The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so 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 around Elisha. They were centered on Elisha. Elisha was the pivot or the hub. There they were on all those hills, surrounding them with chariots of fire. Elisha could see that. The servant couldn't. But now he could because his eyes were opened. He saw beyond the well but not beyond the enemy. He needed his eyes opened. He was focused on the visible when he needed to see the invisible. You can either focus on the problem or you can focus on the solution. And, what is the solution to all of our problems? Jesus Christ. The longer we gaze at the problem the larger it seems. We stare at the big pile of bills on our and that little pile of money and it's going to get to you. We look at our impending divorce. We gaze at our problems instead of His promises! Pray for eyes to behold the invisible. God still has a plan for your life. You might say, "I'm done." You're not done.

For example, take a young girl in nursing school at Southern University. She's in the dorm. She sits at her desk with an immense pile of expensive textbooks that costs $200 or more. They're awful. She stares over at this stack of heavy assignments. Those teachers don't know what they're doing. They aren't real! Her heavy assignments are keeping her up past midnight every night. She is living on Sprite, chips and bean burritos. She looks at her meager belongings. All she owns is right there in that dorm room. Out the dirty window she sees her old blue jalopy in the parking lot. She has no money and the tuition will soon be due. Is she discouraged? Not at all. Why?

Because she's not blind to the blaze. She sees beyond this gloom to the day when she will be working in the neonatal unit of a great hospital making $30 dollars an hour. She pictures herself driving a new sports car. She can see the invisible. She has faith that God will help her achieve His purpose for her life. She's not blind to the blaze.

All great people of the Bible live by faith. Hebrews 11 says:

They all operated by faith. They all saw the invisible. I think we need to stop staring at our problems and we need to lift up our eyes and behold the greatness that God has for us. Now, I'm not just talking to students, I'm talking to parents. Don't be blind to the blaze. When you look at your teenagers, what do you see? Do you see your son with big old long hair, baggy pants, and he's wanting tattoos. Talking about studs... Not in the tires. He wants to pierce his ears. He wants to wear a necklace. And you're dealing with all these speeding tickets and the piles of homework that are undone. His clothing is either baggy or skimpy. You need to look beyond that stuff. Don't give up on your teenagers. Don't be blind to their potential. Do you see where I'm coming from? Have faith. Keep praying for your teenagers. Don't ever stop praying. Don't ever stop loving your kids. Keep hoping for them. If you don't hope for them, who will? God wants you to lift up your eyes and behold His plan for your life.

The blaze is coming. Look for it. If you miss everything about this sermon, keep looking to Jesus. He's going to provide the answer for your problems. Look for the good in your kids. Expect the good. If you expect bad, that's all you're going to get.

Elisha's servant saw all those surrounding hills and his eyes were opened and he could see the chariots of fire. They were blazing, They were filled with bright and shining angels. Do you know how bright angels are? The whole hills were blazing. Those mountains were full of heavenly horses, brilliant blazing chariots, and he had been blind to the blaze, but now his eyes were opened. He saw into an invisible world parallel to our own. The Syrians were outnumbered. God's resources are far bigger and better than your problems.

What is it that opened his eyes? Don't miss this. Prayer opened his eyes. Prior to prayer he was fearful; he was ready to surrender; he was hopelessly outnumbered. But prayer changed his whole prospective.

Friends we need to pray for a vision of the Holy. We get on our knees and we pray, "Oh God, What a big problem I have." But spend time on your knees and then you finish you will stand up and say, "Oh problem, what a big God I have!" That's what happens when you pray.

2 Kings 6:18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. These wild heathen hoards from Syria began the attack. They were advancing. The circle was getting smaller and smaller. They were shouting uncouth chants. Elisha asked for them to become blind and they were. Their swords were held high, they came and suddenly they became blind. Was Elisha ever in danger? Not at all. Are you ever in danger when God surrounds you? David said in Psalms 3:6 (NLT) "I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side."

Elisha could have spoken one word and these assailants would have been evaporated by the heavenly militia. But Elisha was not vindictive. He did not desire to harm his enemy. In fact, he wanted to help them. So he prayed another prayer. "Lord, please smite them with blindness." Instantly their cold bloodless eyes went blind as a bat.

His attackers stopped in their tracks. They were as helpless as newborn mice. They couldn't see where they were going. They couldn't see anything. They had to drop their swords and start groping. Now it was the Syrian army who were incapable of seeing both the invisible and the visible worlds.

2 Kings 6:19 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. Ten miles away.

They had come seeking Elisha. They would never recognize his voice and they couldn't see him so they did not know it was Elisha himself. Did Elisha lie? Did Elisha tell a white lie? Did he lie to them? To intentionally lie is a sin. I don't believe he lied. I thought this through. He did not lie. He knew that they were ultimately seeking the king of Israel. The king was the man they wanted to trap. So he led them to his king.

Elisha and his servant could have their swords and killed them all, one at a time. But see how Christlike his example is. He led these blind troops ten miles to Samaria. Unbeknown to them they were led through the gates right into the fortress of the Israelite army. They had been surrounded by angels and now were surrounded by Israelite soldiers. The king of Israel stood and wondered what was going on here. Here came Elisha leading the enemy by the hand, a long string of enemy soldiers.

Now they were inside the fortress of Israel and they were surrounded not by angels this time, but by the troops of Israel. They were well armed and the enemy was blind. 2 Kings 6:20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, "LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see." Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria." And surrounded by troops. That would be an eye-opener.

2 Kings 6:21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, "Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?" Can you picture this? It's repeated twice here. That bloody king was super anxious to be vindictive and to slaughter them all. Elisha stopped the massacre.

Elisha said: "Don't kill them. Feed them." This is beautiful here. "Don't kill them, feed them." See how kindly prisoners of war should be treated! They were not made a spectacle on TV. They were not mistreated or herded into a concentration camp. Kindness is God's way. They were fed a banquet. Romans 12:21 - Overcome evil with good. A banquet table was prepared for their enemies. Here is a lesson book for all Christians on how to deal with those who would mistreat you. Throw a banquet for you enemies...it will drive them crazy. Pray for them. Pray that God will open their eyes to the true situation.

2 Kings 6:23 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.

Praise God! That's the way: "Don't kill them, feed them." That's the answer. Kindness won the day. The border skirmishes ceased. Potatoes and beans did more than swords and daggers. You can't lose when you are on Jesus' side.

Bulletin

Hymn of Praise: #622, Come, Come Ye Sinners
Scripture: 2 Kings 6:15-17
Hymn of Response: #326, Open My Eyes That I May See

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