Elijah & Elisha Message #24 “Lord, Open His Eyes”, Ed Miller, Sept. 27, 2023

Listen to the audio above while reading the transcript below, also available for download at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com

Once again, we are privileged to come and behold our Lord Jesus.  As we get ready to look in the word, I remind my heart and yours that to see the Lord Jesus in our hearts we need the Holy Spirit; only God’s Spirit can show us the Lord Jesus.  I want to share this verse before we go to prayer.  Psalm 112:7, and when we finish our study, you’ll see how hopefully that verse ties into what we’re going to look at.  Personally, I have this Bible verse on my telephone, and you’ll see why.  It says, “He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.”  Usually, when I get evil tidings, it’s through the phone, so I put that on my phone, so when I pick up the phone I just see, “He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. “We’re going to be looking at fear; my heart will not fear, and trusting in the Lord.

Let’s go to prayer together.  Our heavenly Father, we thank You that we can trust You to open the eyes of our heart to behold our Lord Jesus.  We come prayerfully relying upon You to teach us and to instruct us.  We pray that we would come in the simplicity of little children, desiring just to know the truth.  We ask you, Lord, to protect Your people from anything I might say that is just my own idea.  Thank You that we can trust You in these moments and for this session.  We commit it unto You, in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Welcome to our continued study of our Lord Jesus illustrated in the life and spiritual history of Elisha, the prophet.  He was the man that looked like Jesus.  In these Bible stories, he represents the Lord Jesus.  Very often when you go through these stories, the revelation of Christ is tied into the actions of Elisha. 

When we closed last time, we were looking at 2 Kings 6:1-7, which was the story of the floating ax head.  I’m going to review only the chief points of that, and we’ll move on to our new material.  That story focused on two main needs of the sons of the prophets.  The first is illustrated in the first two verses.  “The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘Behold now, the place before you where you’re living is too limited for us.  Please, let us go to the Jordan and each of us take from there a beam and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live.’  So, he said, ‘Go.’” 

The first principle is ministry, service; Christian service.  These sons of the prophets wanted to serve the Lord by enlarging the dormitory of the sons of the prophets.  These sons of the prophets were learning the word of God, and the place was too small, so they wanted to serve the Lord and enlarge that facility.

As the story develops, another truth comes to mind, and that’s in verse 5, “As one was felling a beam, the ax head fell into the water, and he cried out and said, ‘Alas, my master, for it was borrowed.’”  That expression “it was borrowed” calls our attention to stewardship, because everything we have is borrowed.  If fact, we are not our own, and they had this problem on how to be responsible for something that didn’t belong to them.  So, that story revolves around two things; how can I be the servant that God has called me to be, and how can I be the steward that God has called me to be?  Elisha, representing the Lord Jesus, gives us the answer in picture form.  I can’t be the servant God calls me to be; I can’t be the steward God calls me to be apart from a mighty miracle of God.  This story then shows that mighty miracle. 

How symbolic was the action of Elisha!  In verse 6, “The man of God said, ‘Where did it fall?’  And he showed him the place and he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float.”  King James says, “The iron did swim.”  What a beautiful picture that is!  That symbolic act, throwing a piece of wood into the water to go against nature and bring up an iron ax head is just a picture of the power of the cross.  The wood illustrates the cross and the mighty miracle of resurrection.  Now, put it together.  How can I be the servant God wants me to be?  How can I be the steward that God wants me to be?  The answer is by the power of the resurrection; this mighty miracle enables me to be both servant and steward.  Then you notice how the chapter ended; the man of God said, “Now, reach out and take it.”  That life, the power of the resurrection is within your reach.  That life, that power of the resurrection is within my reach. They had to reach out and take it.  That’s what we saw last week.

We’re not yet finished with 2 Kings 6; there’s another complete story that we’ll look at this morning, and then the beginning of another story in chapter 6.  So, chapter 6 is quite a full chapter.  Those three stories are told around the wicked nation of Syria and their evil desire to destroy the people of God; they want to destroy Israel.  This morning I’d like to look at the story in chapter 6:8-23.  I’ll tell the story first in my own words, dipping into the text, and then I’ll home in on the spiritual message of the story, and finally we’ll end up where we always end up; how does this reveal our Lord Jesus.  We’ve come to see Jesus and not Elisha; we’ve come to see Jesus, and not Israel, Jehoram, Benhadad, Syria or anybody else.  We want to see the Lord.

One would think that after the kindness showed to Naaman in Syria, remember he was the leper that was cleansed and he was the captain of the whole army of the Syrians, and he was sent home healed or cleansed of his leprosy, you would expect that they wouldn’t be so anxious to destroy Israel after God through His people to do such a wonderful thing for Naaman.  We read in 2 Kings 6:8, “The king of Aram,” that’s Syria, “was warring against Israel, and he counseled with his servants saying, ‘In such and such a place shall be my camp.’” 

You might be surprised when you look at the end of the last story, 6:23, where it says, “The marauding bands of Syria did not come to raid anymore.”  Then the very next verse says that they’re coming to war.  What does that mean?  Well, some suggest that they didn’t come in small bands and just try to raid; this is going to be a whole army.  The other possible explanation is between verse 23 & 24; some commentators think there might be more than a year or more in between those verses. I don’t know the answer, but I know that they’re back and the king’s name is Benhadad, and he’s determined to go to war with God’s people.  So, the leaders go, of Syria, to the war room to lay out a strategy, and they need to know, “Where are we going to attack, and when are we going to attack, and what will be the method of our attack?”  They planned all of the raiding party, the strategy, but there was a problem.  The plans leaked out in advance before they got to attack.  Israel knew in every case exactly when they were coming, how many were coming, and they were prepared.  So, by the time of enemy got there, Israel was already prepared. 

That began to frustrate the king to no end, because there was a security leak somewhere.  2 Kings 6:11, “The heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing, and he called to his servants and said to them, ‘Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?’”  Benhadad thought that the spy was in his own camp, “Who in the world is letting out this information?  Who is spilling the beans?  We must have a double agent here.  Somebody is leaking out the plans of my stealth mission.” 

We know the answer.  2 Kings 6:9, “The man of God,” that’s Elisha, “sent word to the king of Israel saying, ‘Beware you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there.  The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him, and thus he warned him, so that he guarded himself there, and more than once or twice.’”  We know who the spy was; it was Elisha.  God was revealing to Elisha the secret plans, and then he was informing Jehoram, the wicked king of Israel.  As you know, there are no secrets from the Lord; you can’t keep anything.  A nation can’t keep anything.  Hebrews 4:13, “There’s no creature hidden from His sight; all things are open and laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” 

Jehoram, the king of Israel, was a wicked king; he was the son of Ahab, one of the sons.  He was a Baal worshipper; he did not like Elisha, and he did not like the God of heaven.  He worshipped idols.  So, he deserved chastening.  God often used other nations to chasten His people.  He deserved everything that these Syrians were giving him.  If Elisha was operating in the flesh, I don’t think he would have shared that military intelligence with Jehoram, because he deserved to be judged and chastened, but the Lord was continually trying to reach out to Jehoram.  Next week we’re going to look at that more closely; how many times God tried to reach that wicked, wicked king.  So, Elisha warned him, even though he didn’t deserve warning.

We know the spy was Elisha, but so did they.  Elisha had a reputation.  2 Kings 6:12, “One of his servants said, ‘No, my Lord, oh king,’” in other words, the spy is not here, and it’s not us, “’but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.’”  So, Elisha was in on that pillow talk, and whatever was taking place in the secret place. 

That’s the background of this history.  Now, that one man, Elisha, is standing between Syria and Israel; one praying man, God is using to spare the whole nation.  May we pray that there’s that kind of a praying man standing between us and the enemy!  Anyway, plans are being made now, “We’ve got to get rid of that spy.  We’ve got to get rid of Elisha.  We’ve got to eliminate him so we can get on with raiding Israel.” 

It’s a little puzzling to me, if Elisha was hearing the plans from the Lord in advance, why did Benhadad think he wouldn’t have heard this plan.  They’re making plans to come to him, and they’re real secret.  They said, “Here’s what we’re going to do.  I’m not going to send a small group, just a small contingent.  I’m going to send a big army, and we’re going to sneak in at night,” as if Elisha didn’t know that.  God told him that in advance.  So, he sends force to capture Elisha. 

It’s at this point that we learn why the Holy Spirit recorded this story, in my opinion. Remember that Gahazi was Elisha’s servant, but he disqualified himself, and he had to leave in shame and disgrace; he left as a leper.  But he’s been replaced, and we’re now introduced to Elisha’s new servant, somebody new.  We don’t have his name, but he’s now an apprentice, and he’s going to be learning through God’s work through Elisha the ways of God.  We don’t know anything about his background, but now from this point on the story revolves around this unnamed servant.  This is our first introduction to Gahazi’s replacement.  So, the first thing we see, he gets up early in the morning and he goes outside the building or tent or whatever it was, and wipes his eyes and looks around, and what’s the first thing he sees?  2 Kings 6:15, “Now, when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city, and his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master, what shall we do?’”  That’s the beginning of his new ministry; he looks outside and the whole place is surrounded.

With the natural eye, all he can see is an enemy.  Dothan, where they were, is sort of indefensible; it’s in the valley surrounded by mountains, and the servant sees with the natural eye a huge army surrounding them—horses, chariots, soldiers, swords, shields.  He’s looking out and they sent one whole army to capture one man.  It sort of reminds me of Saul sending the army for ten or eleven years to capture David.  Anyway, he has only one word, and it’s in verse 15, “Alas, my master, what shall we do?”  In his mind, in the mind of the servant, because he’s not accustomed to seeing these mighty miracles, there are no options; they are sitting ducks; they are surrounded by the enemy, and they’re outnumbered.  There’s just two of them and there’s a whole army armed—chariots, horses, and so on.

I take Elisha’s response to the attendant to be one of the main keys of the entire story.  I’m talking about verse 16 & 17, “And so, he answered, ‘Do not fear.’”  This whole lesson is going to be about “do not fear”.  “’Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’  Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘Oh Lord, I pray, “Open his eyes, that he may see,”’ and the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  The message of the story and the revelation of our Lord Jesus is encased in these wonderful words, these two verses.  2 Kings 2:16&17, I’m going to read it again, verse 17, “Elisha prayed, ‘Oh Lord, I pray, “Open his eyes that he may see.”’  And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw, and behold, a mountain was full of horses, and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  “Do not fear, there’s more with you than with them.” 

I’m going to give the rest of the story, the main points, and then I’m going to revisit these two wonderful verses.  When Elisha prayed for spiritual sight for his servant and God opened his eyes, he prayed again.  Here is his second prayer in verse 18, “And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, ‘Strike the people with blindness, I pray.’  So, He struck them with blindness, according to the word of the Lord.”  That was his second prayer.  They’re blind and his servant sees with spiritual eyes, but when it says that they’re blind, they aren’t blind that they can’t see.  They can still see; they saw Elisha, but they didn’t recognize him.  They can still see his servant and trees and mountains and horses and chariots; their eyes are wide open, but they’re confused and bewildered and disoriented, they’re sealed, hidden.  God hid it from them.  The whole army was struck dumb, even though at that time Elisha was well-known.  Those prophets were known by the clothes they wore, the garments they wore.  We assume that Elisha is still wearing the mantel of Elijah; remember how he took that mantel.

The prophets were marked by those humble symbols of sacrifice and commitment to the Lord.  They weren’t dressed luxuriously.  Even though he looked like a prophet, they didn’t recognize him as a prophet.  Some make a suggestion that Elisha lied, told a fib, to the army, to the leaders because he said, “This is not the way, and this is not the place.  I’ll take you to him.”  They say that it was exactly the place where he was.  Well, he didn’t live in Gotham.  Technically, he had his place in Samaria, so he said, “I’ll take you to the place.  You want to meet me; I’ll show you where I am.”  So, it wasn’t a lie.  There’s one commentary in particular that disappointed; it said that he lied, and God uses lies as a strategy.  I did have a problem with that.

Samaria was the capital of the ten tribes, Israel’s capital at that time.  It was chosen the capital by Amri, and that’s another story all its own.  There is evidence somehow, I don’t know where, and I don’t know how to fit it in, that Elisha, as he had been informing the king before as a spy, now lets him know again that they’re coming.  The reason I read that in is because by the time they arrived, the army was already there ready to surround them.  Somehow, they got advanced intelligence.  2 Kings 6:20, “When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, ‘Oh Lord, open the eyes of these men that they may see.’ So, the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.”  What a shock for the enemy to realize that they are now in their enemy territory, and they’re surrounded.  Now they are sitting ducks.   You are going to see back and forth the seeing with these eyes and seeing with these eyes.

The last important detail is the way this story ends.  Jehoram, the wicked king of Ahab, had vengeance on his mind.  2 Kings 6:21, “The king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, ‘My father, shall I kill them, shall I kill them?’”  I think the double “shall I kill them”, King James says, “Shall I smite them,” I think saying it twice just shows his desire; he really wants to get rid of them.  In other words, he had the enemy right where he wanted them.  They had been plaguing him for a long time; he could end those raids right there and then, and just wipe out the enemy.  It was a perfect idea.

I know Jehoram does not like Elisha; there are many indications, but he seems to respect him.  He calls him “father”, and he listens to his advice; he feared him; he owed him.  Several times he was saved because of this prophet.  I’m surprised that he did take Elisha’s advice.  Listen to the advice; it’s in answer to “shall I kill them”.  2 Kings 6:22, “He answered, ‘You shall not kill them.  Would you kill those you’ve taken captive with your sword and with your bow?  Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink, and go to their master.’  So, he prepared a great feast for them, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master, and the marauding bands of Arameans did not come into the land of Israel.”  It ends with love.  “Shall I kill them?”  “No, feed them, and give them a banquet, and give them something to drink, and send them back.”  Later, Jehoram is going to regret that he took that advice, because they aren’t done with Syria; they’re coming back again.

In the Old Testament you expect the Law of God, and in the New Testament mercy and grace.  Listen to this verse, Proverbs 25, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he’s thirsty, give him water to drink, for you’ll heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”  That’s in the Old Testament.  It’s quoted in the New Testament.  Many people think Jesus quoted that.  He didn’t.  The Apostle Paul quoted that in Romans 12.  Jesus said, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who deceitfully use you and despise you and persecute you.”  But those are pretty much the facts of this story.

Now, I want to go back and show the message of the story and how it reveals our precious Lord Jesus.  There are three emphases in this passage that lead to the unveiling of Christ.  All who study this passage call attention to the same three things.  Unless those three things are seen and understood, you are going to miss the heart of the Lord.  May God help us as we go through this!  I’m going to identify the three things, and then home in on the wonderful truth.

The first emphasis I want to mention is eyesight; you can’t study this passage and not call attention to eyesight.  There is the natural eye, and there is the spiritual eye.  The first reference is in verse 15, “When the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city.  His servant said to him, ‘Alas, master, what shall we do?’”  That’s the first reference to eyesight; the servant looks out and sees the enemy all around.  Then Elisha prays in verse 17, “’Oh Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he might see.’ So, the Lord opened his eyes.”  Then he prays again in verse 18, “’Strike this people with blindness,’ and God did it with confusion.’”  Then he prays again in verse 20, “’Oh Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.’”  All of those references are to eyesight.  The servant sees the enemy, the servant Elisha then sees the armies of the Lord, and then the men are blinded to who the enemy is, and then God opens their eyes.  The story would fall apart if we left out the truth of the contrast between physical eyes and spiritual eyes.  We’re going to see that.

The second emphasis is prominent, not because it’s mentioned, like eyesight, more than one time.  It’s only mentioned once, but it’s so awesome and so dramatic that it doesn’t need to be mentioned more than once.  I’m referring to verse 17, “The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  He was able to see God’s invisible army, God’s angel army was made visible to the spirit, to his heart by the prayer of Elisha.  He saw the mountain full of horses and chariots surrounding God’s servant.  We’re going to return again to this.  Again, without the emphasis of those invisible army, the story would fall to pieces.  We need that.

Then the third emphasis is Elisha’s response to the cry of his apprentice.  His cry was, “Alas, master, what shall we do?”  Elisha says, “So, he answered, ‘Do not fear; those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’”  You remember the verse in the New Testament, “Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world.”  This is the seed form of that; it’s the same truth.  I’m referring to Elisha’s command, “Do not fear.”  Those three things—eyesight, invisible army of angels and the possibility of peace in the midst of that situation; all of that needs to be understood, if we’re going to see this special revelation of our Lord Jesus.

Since eyesight and fearlessness are most closely connected with the revelation of our Lord Jesus, I want to say a few words about the invisible army.  What a sight that servant had when God opened his eyes!  I’m first going to take the balance of scripture and just talk in a general way about God’s angels, and then we’ll come back closer and closer to this story.

In the balance of scripture, the number of His agents, His servants, His angels, whatever title or group you’re talking about—cherubim, seraphim, angels, guardian angels, archangels, principalities, powers—however you call them, the servants of God that are moving at lightning speed to do the bidding of the Lord are innumerable.  Psalm 68:17, “The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands.  The Lord is with them, as at Sinai in holiness.”  The Greek word “myriads” is sometimes translated as ten thousand.  Ten thousand times ten thousand, if you ever did the math, that’s one hundred million.  A hundred million angels appeared on Mt. Sinai when God gave the Law.  It wasn’t just Moses and Joshua and the Lord; it was Moses, Joshua, the Lord and a hundred million angels in the giving of those ten commandments.

Listen to Revelation 5:11, “I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, the elders; the number of them was myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’”  Hebrews 12:22 calls them an “unnumbered host”.  It’s not that the number is not given; it’s that the number can’t be given; it’s incalculable; you can’t calculate how many.  Never has there been a computer made by man that can count the number of angels.  They’re just an unnumbered host.

I mention this because Elisha’s servant saw a great army; he didn’t see all of them; he saw a great army of them.  They didn’t always appear in groups; sometimes it was smaller groups.  Sometimes when they appeared, it was only one at a time.  When Jesus was born it says that one angel appeared to the shepherds, but it was so frightening, it says that a light shone round about them, and they were terribly afraid.  That was one angel that appeared.  Then it says, Luke 2:13, “Suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly hosts.”  You see this amazing invisible army; sometimes they’re visible.  God makes them visible to the heart.  Sometimes they’re not.  Sometimes it’s one, and sometimes it’s just a handful, and sometimes it’s an army, and sometimes it’s a whole bunch of them. 

These invisible messengers of the Lord, these agents, are not always visible, and when they are, they don’t always appear all at once, but they are always there.  Sometimes, when they appear, they intervene, according to the will of God.  Sometimes, they’re there and they do not intervene, according to the will of God.  It’s important to understand this.

Remember when Jesus was in Gethsemane?  Matthew 26:53, “He said, ‘Do you not think I cannot appeal to My Father?  He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels.’”  That’s seventy-two thousand angels.  They were there, but they didn’t intervene.  All He had to do was beckon them and they would have come and destroyed all of Rome and release and set the Lord Jesus free.  They were there but they didn’t intervene. 

Sometimes, like in Acts 12, you have a couple of them showing up to rescue Peter.  They did intervene and set him free.  But sometimes, like Lazarus, the beggar, Luke 16:22, “The poor man died, and was carried away by angels to Abraham’s bosom.”  Sometimes they delivered and sometimes they just carried you to heaven.  It’s the same angels.  You remember when Elijah was escorted to glory, 2 Kings 2:11, “As they were going along and talking, there appeared a chariot of fire, horses of fire which separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.”  That’s the same vision that this servant saw—chariots, fire, horses.  That’s what he saw. 

My guess is that Elisha never stopped seeing that.  God opened his eyes that one day, and he saw it, and he said, “I see it; the horses, the chariots of Israel; I can see it.”  It was a spiritual vision, and I think that never went away.  He constantly saw it.  That’s why he wasn’t afraid that day.  His servant hadn’t seen it, and he was afraid.  When he prayed, I think he was just saying, “Lord, let him see what I see, because I’m already seeing it, and I want him to see it.”

I could go through the Bible, story after story after story, and the ministry of angels, but what I want you to see for now is that they’re always there, as God’s servants, to carry out the will of God.  Sometimes, that means they are going to intervene.  Sometimes, that means they will not intervene.  Our first thought, of course, is that the angels were there to protect Elisha and his servant.  That may be true in this case, and I’m not even sure it was, but it’s not always true.  I know they protected Israel in the days of Elijah.  One angel showed up, and the Bible says that he killed 185,000 Assyrians: that’s one angel.  They didn’t always protect.  James got beheaded, where were the angels?  John the Baptist got beheaded, where were the angels?  Stephen was stoned to death, and he saw the Lord Jesus, but what was He doing?  He was just standing there; he saw Him standing at the right hand of God, but He didn’t come to help, He didn’t stop him from being stoned.

I think the testimony of those three Hebrews in the fire, facing that furnace that was heated seven times hotter than normal, that’s the correct perspective.  Daniel 3:17, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He will deliver us out of your hand, oh king.  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, oh king, that we’re not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you’ve set up.”  He can deliver, and He often does, but He doesn’t guarantee He’s going to deliver; He guarantees He’s going to do the will of God, and it will be redemptive.  Hebrews 2:14, “Through death He might render powerless him that had the power of death, that is the devil.”  That’s always true.  The devil has been rendered powerless.  All our enemies have been rendered powerless.  All the demons of hell and all the enemies in the world are powerless against the Lord.

I want to return to this idea that we often have that these are guardian angels and they’ve come to protect us, and so on.  Are they around to protect?  The answer is “yes”, but what are they protecting, and the answer is that they are there to protect the will of God, the purpose of God, the name of God, the glory of God.  Sometimes that means they’re going to protect us, but we’re not exempt from trouble and sorrow and sickness and death.  In the will of God, they’re always there and ready to protect.  They’re going to intervene, if that is His will, and they’re not going to intervene—they’ll still be there to do his bidding.  Some people say that they’re guarding the throne of God, especially the cherubim, and I guess they get that from the Garden of Eden when He set those cherubim there to protect the way to the Tree of Life, but there is no Bible verse or passage that actually uses the word “guard”.  It doesn’t say, “Angels guard.”  That’s man’s idea.  Theologians speak of that, but they don’t have scripture to back that up.

The servants, the angels are servants, and according to Hebrew 1:14, “Sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.”  The angels were created to serve you; they were created to serve me.  Do you know what’s wonderful about that?  They were created, your servants, before you were.  My servants were created before I was created; they were created to serve man.  Sometimes, in the will of God, they’re going to keep us alive, and other times they’re going to escort us to heaven. 

By the way, this is an aside.  I think some of you know how I get lost so easily.  When I first moved into my house I couldn’t find the bathroom, because it had a sliding door.  To me that was just a wall.  I never saw a sliding door; I lost the bathroom.  Anyway, I like the fact that when I die, and it might be soon, I’ve got angels to escort me, otherwise I’d lose the way.  I’d be wandering all around.  I’m so glad that they’re there to guide me.  Anyway, in the case before us, Elisha at Gotham, I believe the angels appeared for the sake of this servant. 

I want to make one final comment about the surrounding host of invisible angels.  Whether they’re millions or billions or just one or two, they’re all just a picture of the Lord.  The Lord doesn’t need angels.  He doesn’t need you and He doesn’t need me, and He doesn’t need to be guarded.  Great day, you don’t need to guard the Lord!  Here you have the angels surrounding Gotham.  Listen to Psalm 34:7, “The angel of the Lord,” that’s our Lord Jesus, “encamps around those that fear Him.”  I once saw a comedy routine and there were some gangsters in the house, and there were two cowboys and one said, “I’m going in, you surround the house.”  How in the world is one guy going to surround the house.  But the Lord does; the Lord encamps around…  The point is that when He sends His angels, He comes Himself; it’s the Lord that’s guarding us.

I want to go to what I think is going to be a clue to the revelation of Christ, and that is the fear of this young man.  Rightly so, when he had his eyes opened, you can understand why he would be scared.  He saw that army; would he see horses, chariots, swords, shields, armor?  He sees the enemy, and I think on the level of earth, that would strike fear into anybody.  He was in a panic.  What can Elisha offer to bring peace to a person who has every reason to fear because of the circumstances?  Someone says, “He needs good theology.  He needs to know doctrine.”  If Elisha had told him, he didn’t say, “Open your eyes.”  Let’s just say Elisha had said to him, “What you need to know is that the Lord is with you, and you don’t need to be afraid.”  Is that going to help him?  Just think about it.  If he says, “God is faithful, and He’s been faithful through the years.  You don’t need to worry; God is faithful.”  If he said, “All things work together for good to those that love the Lord.”  Is that going to bring him peace?  “The Lord is your shepherd; you don’t have to worry when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”  Is that going to bring him peace?  Even if he had quoted, of course he couldn’t at that time, Psalm 91:11&12, “He’ll give His angels charge concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they’ll bear you up in their hands, and you will not strike your foot against the stone,” would that have taken away his fear?

There’s only one thing that could take away the fear.  He needs eyesight.  He doesn’t need doctrine, he doesn’t need a sermon, he doesn’t need a lecture, he doesn’t need information; he needs to have his eyes opened to some reality, a spiritual reality.  2 Kings 6:17, “Elisha prayed, ‘Oh Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.”  All the sermons on God’s protection and angelic warriors and chariots are going to do him no good.  You might as well convince a blind person of the color of ruby, or red or green or snow white.  He needs eyes; he needs to behold.  Doctrine will never deliver anyone from fear.  Eyesight will.  Now, we need to talk about that.

In our early ministry, we had a secretary/treasurer, and she actually served the Lord in terms of our ministry for forty years.  She became very, very dear to us.  Thirteen years ago, she got ovarian cancer.  Many prayed for her healing, and the angels just stood there at that time, in the will of God.  As she got closer and closer to death, I was very concerned, and I spent many, many hours with her on her death bad, and I wanted her so much to have peace as she entered heaven.  Several days before she died, she assured me, and she recited a litany of doctrine.  She said, “I know He died for me, I know His blood washed my sins away, I know I have a reservation in heaven, I know He will never leave me or forsake me; I’m okay.”  I went out relieved, and I told my Lillian, “She seems to be resting in the Lord.”  Two days before she died, I went back to see her.  She was glowing, and her testimony changed.  She said, “I told you the other day that it was alright, because I knew the doctrine, I knew the truth that He was with me, but last night I met the Lord.  I saw Him, not with these eyes.  God opened my eyes and everything I told you I now see as true, and I know I have His righteousness, and I know He’s waiting for me, and I’m excited.  It was an amazing testimony, the difference between doctrine and eyesight, and she died rejoicing in the Lord.  It was a glorious time for all of us.

As you go through the New Testament, it’s not once or twice where God compares things visible and things invisible.  We read about things temporal and then things eternal, things seen and things not seen, things physical and things spiritual, this world and the world to come, things external and things eternal/internal, things that are beneath and things that are in heaven, things present and things future, things shakable and things unshakable, life under the sun and life in fellowship with God, life on earth and life in heaven.  This contrast is not once or twice; He’s constantly saying, “We see with these eyes, and we see with these eyes.” 

When Elisha prayed that, it was the prayer that God would allow his servant to realize eternity, to live in the light, the reality.  Everything else is shadow; that’s the real world, that God would open his eyes to that reality, and he would be alive to the spiritual world, and not just a passing glance at invisible things.  It seems like when I read the New Testament or even the Old Testament, that the Bible saints lived in that reality a lot more than we do.  Our eyes are opened every now and then.  For example, if somebody is sick and ready to die, or if we are on our own death bed, all of a sudden we think about heaven and about the Lord and about eternity, or sometimes when we get frustrated and vexed with this world, and we see the vanity of things, then for a while our minds go to heaven and we think about heavenly things, or sometimes, especially in my case as we get older and things wind down and we begin to lose our memory and our energy and our eyesight and our teeth, and so on, we begin to think more about heavenly things. 

The question is, has God ever opened your eyes to spiritual reality, not just once in a while, but always, that you’re always living in the reality, that spiritual reality.  God wants us to have our eyes open at all times.  Like I say, it seems like when I read the Bible, they knew that all things were working together for good; they seemed to know that their afflictions were light afflictions and only for a moment.  They gloried in the glory to be revealed.  They looked for the mercy of the Lord Jesus and life eternal.  They spoke about the inheritance of the saints in light.  They were looking for a new heaven and a new earth.  They spoke about their citizenship being on earth and in heaven.  They seemed to know if their earthly tabernacle were dissolved, they would have an eternal tabernacle, a home not made with hands, but eternal in the heaven.  They knew if they bore the image of the earthly, they would one day bare the image of the heavenly.  They comforted one another with words like these, “We’ll meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  They knew that they were born again and begotten again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, that they had an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that faded not away and reserved in heaven for them.  Hebrew 10:34, “They took the spoiling of their goods when they were robbed, they rejoiced because they had a home in heaven greater than that.”  It seemed like they were alive to that world. 

It seems like sometimes we’re not; sometimes we’re so healthy or we’re so comfortable or we think that our life is not going to end, that we don’t think about the Lord.  God wants us to live in the spiritual reality.  Moses, I love Hebrews 11:27, “Seeing Him who is invisible.”  That’s how he lived, and that’s how we should live, as well.  God desires that we always live realizing eternity, realizing the spiritual world.  That has not guaranteed to deliver us from danger, because we might still get sick and die, but it’s guaranteed to deliver us from fear; that’s the context, “Open their eyes; fear not.”  You don’t have to fear if you’re seeing eternal things, because you know that everything is redemptive, and everything is in the hands of the Lord, and the enemy is powerless over us.  I know I can be free from the enemy, but I never need to fret, worry or be concerned if I’m seeing things eternal, no matter what the economy looks like and no matter what the government looks like, and no matter how our world seems to be sliding away, and no matter what my health looks like, and no matter what our circumstances look like.  If God would give us spiritual eyes, we’d be free from fear, and all kinds of fear.  He’s not going to free us from sorrow, necessarily, but He’s going to free us from fear.

Some people are afraid of people.  When you read about the phobias, that list is a mile long; people are afraid of all kinds of things.  They’re afraid of crowds, they’re afraid of strangers, people are afraid if they’re in the presence of somebody that’s handicapped, somebody in a wheelchair, somebody that’s blind.  Some people are afraid of things.  There’s a phobia for flowers; some people are afraid of flowers; maybe they get allergies, or something like that.  That would be a reason, I suppose.  They’re afraid of bridges.  My mom was afraid of tight spaces; she had bad legs, and she’d walk twenty flights before she’d go in an elevator.  Some people are afraid of animals, dogs or insects, spiders and snakes.  Now, I see a reason to be afraid of bees.  I got in a white-faced hornet’s nest when I was a kid, and I’m terrified of bees.  I can preach all this, but I’ll tell you, I’m still quite afraid.

The point is, we can live without fear.  Spiritual vision and fear are incompatible.  There’s never a reason for a Christian to be afraid.  According to 2 Corinthians 6:10 you can be sorrowful and yet rejoicing.  Sorrow is different than fear, but fear, there’s no reason to live in fear if God opens your eyes, and not if you’re sound in doctrine.  That’s not going to help you.  You need to see it, if I really saw God on His throne.  Not the doctrine, “I believe God reigns.”  No, no, have you ever seen that?  If you see Him on His throne, fear is not possible.  If we really live realizing eternity, we would have joy unspeakable at all times, and we would rejoice evermore, and we would be led in His triumph continually, and we would always be happy in the Lord and have His joy. 

Let me give this part; I didn’t get to the revelation of Christ.  Great honk in the morning!  Isaiah 9:7, “There will be no end to the increase of His government and peace.”  The closer you get to the Lordship of Christ, the more peace you have.  The closer I get to the Lordship of Christ, the more peace I have.  I can have all peace today and more peace tomorrow because Christ has more Lordship over my life.

Let me give you quickly the revelation of Christ illustrated by Elisha.  Christ lives in my heart; Elisha is just a picture.  Elisha prayed twice; the Christ in my heart prays twice.  What does he pray?  First he prays for Christians and then he prays for the unsaved.  What does he pray for Christians?  Open their eyes.  People sometimes ask me, “Do you have any special prayer requests?  I’ll give the same answer every time, “Pray that I might see Jesus.”  That’s all I want; that’s all I need.  Pray for Christians, that God opens their eyes to reality. 

What do you pray for the unsaved?  He can’t pray that they would get saved, because God will not force a will.  What can he pray?  Here is what he prayed, “Lord, let me lead them to the place where they see their danger, where they see that they are wiped out, and then let me love them, and feed them and give them a banquet and hope that they would be drawn.   Christ lives in your heart to ask that Christians eyes be opened and that the unsaved are brought to the place where they see what a terrible danger they’re in, so they can choose for themselves, and then you love them and you feed them and you send them away and hopefully they’ll respond to that.

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your word, not what we think it means, but thank You for living in our heart and teaching us and enabling us to see and burdening us to pray for others that they might also see, that they could live lives without fear.  Lord, we do pray for our loved ones, and bring them to the place where they see their condition, where they see what a dangerous place they’re in, and then grace us to love them.  We know, Lord, if we’re secure in You, we can take many chances.  So, we take that chance and just walk away and love them and just pray that they’ll come to You.  Make these things real in our hearts.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.