When The Walls Close In

Suggested Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 6: 8-17, John 16:33

Focal Passage: These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 

What keeps you awake at night? Is it things that happened in the past? Is it worry about the future? More often than not, for most of us, it’s what is happening in the here and now. Work…family…health…finances; sometimes it is overwhelming. Take a moment and travel with me if you would to Old Testament times…around 850 years before Christ.

The king of Aram (Central Syria today) is at war with Israel. He has top-secret meetings with plans to defeat them, but alas, at every turn Israel is one step ahead. He smells a rat, so to speak. There must be a turncoat, a mole in his inner circle that is telling the king of Israel his plans. Well, if you read the suggested Scripture above, it turns out that there is no turncoat in his midst…just a very wise man of God on the side of Israel. Elisha…He knows every word the king of Aram says in secret. So there is a change of plans in Aram; forget about Israel for a while…let’s take out Elisha.

So during the night, the king sent horses and chariots and surrounded the city…an army sent to take out Elisha! A bit of overkill, don’t you think? It reminds me of the last scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It seemed as if the entire Bolivian army had surrounded them. One of the officers had asked how many there were. “Dos Hombres?” He couldn’t believe they had summoned such a force for just two men.

You think your walls are closing in? Elisha’s servant must have felt much the same as Butch and Sundance. The Bible tells us he awoke and walked outside to find “an army with horses and chariots was circling the city.” Talk about a reality check; that would get you awake in a hurry. I’m sure it didn’t take long for him to go running back inside and cry out to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever looked at your own situation as if it was hopeless…feeling like there was no way out? Surrounded by an army…the walls closing in? Most of us can say, “been there…done that”.

Now let’s look at Elisha’s response. “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” He prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened and the servant now saw what Elisha saw…”and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 

What an awesome glimpse the Scriptures give us here into the supernatural power of God. May I suggest that we sometimes need to have our eyes opened spiritually just as Elisha’s servant did physically? If you are a follower of Christ, your eyes were opened the moment you gave your life to Him. But there is a continual need for believers to ask for the Lord to give us spiritual insight and growth.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19 

May I also suggest to you that as believers, we have a power as great as that which Elisha’s servant saw…and that it, rather He, lives within us?

“…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19 

What strength lies within us…even greater, what hope lies with in us! The power of Christ, in us! Which brings us to the focal passage of today’s study:

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 

But what is the secret…how do we tap into that power? Let’s look further into John’s teachings. In the latter part of the preceding chapter John further elaborates… God abiding in us, as we abide in Him. And how do we abide in Him? Obedience!

The one who keeps God’s commands lives in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us. 1 John 3:24 

Does This mean as Christians we walk on easy street? No…quite the contrary. As the focal passage states, we will have tribulation, trials, problems, and sadness. They come with the fallen state of this world. But we have Christ within us. And I, for one, would rather walk through the calamities of this life with Him than to walk down easy street without Him.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

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