The Bible tells of a time when the people of God woke up in the morning and discovered that “the enemy that was against them had come by night with a great army and surrounded the city” (see 2 Kings 6:14). Have you ever experienced that? You wake up and find yourself surrounded—by your struggles, your trials, perhaps an illness in your body. You may even feel as though you are being taunted by the voices of the enemy all around you.
In this particular scenario, a servant of the prophet Elisha got up early and found the army surrounding them. “His servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So he answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, and said, ‘Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.’ Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15–17).
Here we see two types of men waking up at the same time. Now both are followers of God. Elisha is called into a specific ministry, and so is his servant. If you were to ask the servant, “Are you a follower of Jehovah God?” he would answer, “Absolutely. I am Elisha’s servant. If he goes somewhere, I go with him. I am pursuing the same God he is.”
The problem is that although this servant was a follower of God, he had little to no spiritual vision. There are a lot of people like that in the Church of Jesus Christ. They are followers of God, they go to church, they go where the servants of God go. They do the things they are asked to do, yet they have little or no spiritual vision. When the enemy comes in, just as in this case, their very first response is, “What shall we do?” God is not even in the equation. In other words, “Something has to be done, and it has to be done by us.”
The New Testament calls this type of man a natural man. Yes, he has come to salvation through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Yet, just like Elisha’s servant, he sees with his natural eye and pushes forward with his natural strength and reasoning. He remains outside of where the power and the wonder of God are.
I don’t want to live there. I never wanted to live there. Right from the beginning, I said, “God, I see something in Your Word. You operate in a kingdom that cannot be seen with the natural eye and sometimes cannot be comprehended with the natural mind. It cannot be attained with natural ability. You invite us into this kingdom by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. You give us Your Holy Spirit to take the victory You won and show us what we have inherited.”
This is important because we are in a battle now for the very soul of our nation. We are in a battle for the testimony of God in our generation, and we are not going to be able to reason our way through this. It requires a supernatural victory that can only come by the hand of God.
The book of First Corinthians says it this way: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God… But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:12, 14). In other words, the man who lives by his own strength and reasoning cannot know the things of the kingdom of God. He will always live in a realm of “What shall we do? What can we do?” It will always be that reasoning.
BECOMING AS LITTLE CHILDREN
The book of John gives us another picture of how the kingdom of God works. “Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’ But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do” (John 6:5–6).
Jesus saw a great multitude—a great need that He knew could not be met through human resource. And so He tested a man who had been walking with Him for a season. Now Philip should have known better. The disciples knew Jesus could do miracles. Yet immediately, Philip resorted to his natural understanding and said, “Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little” (John 6:7). When you do not have the strength to meet the need that is before you, have you ever considered that God might be testing you to see if you are willing to look away from your own resources? Are you willing to look away from your own ideas about how to achieve your desired end?
“Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, ‘There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?’ Then Jesus said, ‘Make the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted” (John 6:8–11). You see, the kingdom of God operates through faith. Jesus knew what he was going to do, and He knew who His partner was going to be in doing it. A little boy with five loaves and two small fish pressed through the crowd and presented his lunch to one of the disciples. I can imagine him saying, “This should do it. Between me and Jesus, we can feed this crowd!”
I have grandchildren, and that is the way they are. They do not see impossibility. They do not get up in the morning and look at the size of the problem. If Papa tells them, “It’s all going to be okay,” then in their minds, it’s all going to be okay. They do not have to figure it out. If I tell them we are going to get ice cream today at five o’clock, they know they are going to get from where they are to the ice cream shop even though they cannot drive a car. They do not have to know how it’s going to happen, they just need to know that Papa told them it is going to be done.
Jesus Himself said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Now, He is not talking about salvation. He is talking about entering into a place of God’s power and wonderment—this kingdom that starts with just a small seed but grows into something that can provide for multitudes. Unless you become converted and become as little children, you will wake up in the morning just like Elisha’s servant. It does not mean that heaven is not your home. It means that while you live on the earth, you will live outside of this place of the miraculous. You will be part of that crowd that gets up in the morning and says, “Alas, master, what shall we do?“
THREE SIMPLE PRAYERS
Now Elisha’s response to his servant’s question was quite simple. He said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see” (2 Kings 6:17). The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. His eyes were suddenly open to a whole kingdom and power he had been unaware of.
Then he saw Elisha pray two more simple prayers. The first: “Strike them with blindness” (see 2 Kings 6:18). In other words, do not let the enemy achieve their desired end of trying to captivate Your testimony. You and I should pray this again in our generation as darkness attempts to take away the testimony of Christ, redefining good as evil and evil as good.
Elisha then said to this foreign army, “Come, follow me,” and he led them right into the midst of Samaria (2 Kings 6:19). A whole army was taken captive by a praying man! Then Elisha prayed one more prayer: “Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see” (6:20). In other words, open the eyes of our enemies and give them spiritual sight to see that there is a kingdom bigger than theirs.
When the king of Israel asked, “Shall I smite them?” Elisha replied, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those whom you have taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set food and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master” (2 Kings 6:22). In other words, “Show them that there is a God much greater than anything they have ever understood.” And so he had them sit down at the table for a great feast. Then he sent them home, and the Scripture says they never came back again. Nobody wanted to fight that kind of battle!
Think about how Elisha’s servant got up in the morning and, in the space of just a few short hours, saw something that he had never seen before. How do you think he woke up the next morning? “God, show me those chariots again. Show me the soldiers of heaven again. Help me to pray like Elisha. Help me never to trust what I see with my natural eyes or think with my natural mind. Help me never to lean on what I can come up with in my natural strength. You have shown me Your power, so do not let me settle for less!”
Perhaps you woke up this morning like Elisha’s servant and essentially said, “Alas, master, what shall we do?” Maybe you got up and spoke to your spouse or to your mom or dad and said, “What are we going to do? We have to do something.” Your whole life has been stuck in this narrow corridor of human effort and human reasoning.
My prayer is that God will open the eyes of His people one more time. We have lived in the natural for too long. We have strategized ourselves into spiritual impotence. Now we find ourselves surrounded by enemies who are hellbent on stamping out the testimony of Christ in this generation. We must have our spiritual eyes open. We must have that faith of a child that says, “God is much bigger than me. God has a great plan. God is my Father. God can be trusted. God’s ways are not my ways.”
I am praying that tomorrow you will wake up and instead of asking “What shall we do?” you will say, “God is with me.” Your circumstances may not have changed, but you will have light in your eyes and joy in your heart. You be able to confidently say, “I do not have to understand everything. My enemies can bark over the wall all they want, but God has promised to keep me. God has sealed me in His hand, and no one can take me out of that hand. God has promised that He is going to bring me to a desired end!”
Carter Conlan, Times Square Church