"When Elisha's servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded."Sir, what are we going to do?" he asked. "Don't be afraid," Elisha answered. "There are more troops on our side than on theirs." Then he prayed, "LORD, please help him to see." And the LORD let the servant see that the hill was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha." (2 Kings 6:15-17 CEV)
It has always struck me as funny, picturing Elisha's servant running around bellowing out his fears to the prophet who sits calmly nearby…his head probably following his hectic servant's nervous circuit. Seeing the lack of his master's reaction, the servant demands an answer…..respectfully. And, after telling him what he should already know….Elisha stepped out of God's way and let God reinforce the information.
God was glorified in what the servant saw…….
All because of Elisha's closeness to God and the purpose to which he had been called. There is telling peace when God is near us, when our brother-by-adoption, co-heir and King stands in the gap with us and it transforms us from worldly-centered people to a people who are 'not from this world.' Being submissive, as Pastor Shannon has said in the past, to impact positively upon God's reputation. Elisha submits to God's plan in such a way that it is merely an afterthought to him to pray from revelation for his servant.
God equips the called, rather than calling the equipped but not because He cannot use those who are equipped rather that His glory and power is amplified in the vacuum of man's improbability and impossibility. The more impacting the experience, the more necessary to expose the root of the reasoning behind it….and when all things are considered; the rubble removed and the debris swept up the only thing that can explain the improbable and impossible is God.
Elisha's servant had been with him for some time…..one would think that he would know that God's hand was upon this prophet who had received a "double portion of Elijah's spirit" and therefore would expect amazing things to happen around him. Elisha was known as a man who acted quickly, without hesitation, at God's beckoning regardless of personal costs. Known as "the healer" to Elijah's status as "the destroyer," Elisha brought the message of confession….that God was God alone and there can be no other. This "quiet beneficence" (Faussett's bible dictionary) was born in gentleness to those who confessed Jehovah as Eel (God alone) and a fiery indignation to those apostolate kings to which Israel suffered during his life. God teaches His children to trust Him in small as in greater difficulties. He who numbers our very hairs regards nothing as too small to be brought under His notice." Elisha taught his nation that God can as easily make any hard, heavy hearts that are burdened with the weights of this world and so mired in the mud of the decay float again upon life's crystal clear water through a development of a heavenly perspective regardless of the circumstances.
A deep relationship with an impossible God.
There is a quote from Thomas a Kempis that struck me today as I was thinking of this verse…..and the blog that was waiting to develop around it. "Thanks be to Thee, O Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which Thou hast given us, for all the pains and insults which Thou hast borne for us. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, Brother, May we know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly; for Thine own sake!" This is quoted by Ken Boa in his book, Conformed in His Image, one of the textbooks that I will be responsible for learning in my Spiritual Formation class that I want to take this May at Moody Theological Seminary-Michigan. Elisha showed his servant how deep, driven and passionate relationship with God brings about some pretty awesome protection in uncertain times…..even when the deck seems stacked against you. Kempis remarks that it is for our sake that we seek a deeper relationship even though the spectacular glory that is brought through the blessings received or the correction garnered is all about God.
Some would say that it is impossible for me to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at MTS-M and upon the surface of it all; even I would have to submit to being surrounded by those mistakes, those improbabilities and unreasonable expectations if I looked outside the city gates and saw the vast army of reasoned fellows standing in the way. Some I could solve; take a loan out to pay for school…providing I could get one, seek out a benefactor who would foot the bill, or just take up the mantel of the foreign missionary and do God's work elsewhere so that the impossibility of it all just fades away like the mist.
But God is all for the spectacular and impossible.
"There are so many opportunities available to God's kids in these days to grow closer to Him first - and then in that strengthened relationship - step out in faith under the Holy Spirit's guidance and power to retrieve what has been stolen by Satan and his evil ones. As God endorses each one of us, He builds us up, strengthens us, and gives us His mark on to help others identify us. It is God's approval you need more than any earthly title." Carolyn Baker, author of Soul Juice...a devotional from AllAboutGod.com, wrote. "With a pure and holy motivation, you can be used to exhibit solid, lasting fruit to a world that is desperately hungry for what is true and real. This relationship you have with the living God will be used to display God's glory and His power so that His Son is high and lifted up for the entire world to see. I cannot think of a better way to live my life. Pray, pray, pray for God's Holy Spirit power and understanding to consume you. You will never be the same again."
As I wait for the approval or disapproval of those who are seeking God's will in my pursuit of a MDiv at MTS-M, I cannot help but be amazed at how my eyes are opened to the grand site before me. Yes, there is a vast army of the reasoned and worldly that stands surrounding me in this quest for God's purposing and equipping…..but surrounding me even closer are the fiery army of the Lord of Hosts who specializes in the improbable, impossible and utter glorious plans that He has made for each and every one of His children.
If you would like more information on the Moody Theological Seminary-Michigan journey, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and I will mail it to you.
In Christ's service,