(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article: Elisha: The invisible army)
Imagine waking up to find yourself completely surrounded by enemies. How would you likely react? With fear and despair? Or could you see that your enemies are dust compared to the might of our God?
God’s prophet Elisha found himself in this situation after giving valuable advice to Israel’s army. The King of Syria decided to take Elisha as a prisoner and sent an army to the city where the prophet was staying. Under the cover of darkness, the Syrian warriors surrounded the city.
When Elisha’s servant woke early in the morning to begin his usual routine, he found himself looking out over an army of Syrians. He cried out to his master in panic, saying, “What shall we do?”
We aren’t likely to have a physical army rise up against us like with the prophet Elisha, but we do have enemies in the form of spiritual powers that come and tempt us with impurity, worldly lusts and discouragement. “For we do not wrestle against Ephesians 6:12. and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
When we feel that these spiritual enemies are closing in, tempting us to do what we know in our hearts is against God’s will, what do we give as a response? Do we feel overwhelmed and afraid like Elisha’s servant?
“Do not fear!”
For the prophet Elisha, the choice was clear, and his answer to his servant was simple and full of faith. “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16. This would have been a difficult answer for the servant to accept as he looked down at the wall of enemies, bristling with spears and shields. The servant certainly didn’t see anybody ready and willing to fight on their side.
But Elisha saw the situation in a completely different way. He spoke to the Lord on behalf of his servant, saying, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” 2 Kings 6:17. Suddenly, the servant was able to see with the same enlightened eyes as Elisha. The hills around the city weren’t empty at all … a mighty host of horses and chariots of fire stood in wait, sent by the Lord to protect His prophet!
The Syrians began to advance on the city, unaware that they were now vastly outnumbered. Elisha spoke to God again, asking, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” Chaos broke out in the Syrian ranks as the entire army suddenly went blind.
In a matter of moments, Elisha’s simple faith reduced a seemingly unstoppable foe to nothing!
The battle today
The army of spiritual powers that opposes us today is just as dangerous as the physical army that surrounded Elisha. We can quickly feel outnumbered, seeing only the incredible number of foes without considering that, just as the chariots and horses of fire appeared for the prophet Elisha, there are powers that are willing to fight on our side, if we have the faith to ask.
Satan wants us to feel alone. He wants us to feel that we are up against insurmountable odds. He wants us to feel that we can only rely on our own strength. All these thoughts are deception. In reality, the powers of this world are nothing compared to the power we can come to through the Holy Spirit. When we are willing to live in a spirit of faith, we can recognize our enemies for what they are and, with God on our side, put them to death.
“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Where do I put my faith?
Elisha’s servant trusted only in what he could see and understand, and for this he was instantly discouraged. He recognized that they faced an obstacle too great for man to overcome. In trying to solve his human problems with his human understanding, he was blinded to the spiritual fight. He forgot that there was a living God on his side.
Where do we put our faith? When we encounter a foe during our daily situations, do we react like Elisha, or do we react like his servant?
When we live in this simple faith, all the powers of heaven are on our side!
You may be interested to read more inspiring articles on our topic page about heroes of faith.