Devotional Week 42 Monday
“He (she) who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty (whose power no foe can withstand). I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God, on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I confidently trust.’ For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.”
Psalm 91: 1-3
I Have A Father
“Lord, it was one humdinger of a fight.
I wondered if it would ever end.
But three solid blows later
Little Loser limped toward his house,
With his fists clenched, he shouted:
‘I’ll tell my father on you!’
(I had a feeling he meant it.)
Then all of a sudden it happened –
Out the front door he walked
Calm and serene,
His tall hefty father by his side.
Like a streak of jagged lightning
His frightened opponent was on the run.
O Lord, what a reflection of me.
I too must do battle
With the adversary of my soul.
At times he comes masked
As an angel of light.
He thwarts and antagonizes.
He blinds and binds.
He harasses and accuses.
I’m no match for him, Lord.
The battle wages against
Principalities and powers.
But the great triumphant truth is –
I have a Father.
My Father protects and upholds me.
Nothing can happen to me
Outside my Father’s will.
My Father is greater by far
Than he who is in the world.
Once and for all it was settled
On a rugged cross
On a lonely hill:
I have a Father.”
Ruth Harms Calkin
Lord, I Keep Running Back To You
Today’s Study Text:
1. “The Syrian king sent their horses, chariots, and a great army. They came by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God rose early and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’”
II Kings 6: 14-15
2. “Now Elisha sat in his home, and the elders sat with him. And the king sent a man from before him to behead Elisha.”
II Kings 6: 32
“God Will Take Care of You” Part 6
“What Do We See and Hear
When the Enemy Is At The Door?”
“God is our Refuge and Strength, mighty and impenetrable…a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”
Psalm 41: 1
How do I think I would have reacted to all the calamities that Elisha encountered?
Do I think that Elisha had reason to be fearful?
What can I learn from the way that Elisha handled the trials which he encountered?
“You’ve got to believe that no matter what you’re going through, no matter what your burden is, He cares! God is not mad at you. He is not hiding from you. On the contrary, His heart is moved toward you. He cares about everything affecting you.”
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”
1 Peter 4: 12, 13
For a few moments, I’d like us to put ourselves in the sandals of Elisha. As a reminder, as a young man Elisha lived in an environment where he was well cared for. His father’s acreage provided ample food and plenty of work. So when Elijah came along, out of nowhere, and “called” the young Elisha to full-time service under the banner of heaven, there wasn’t just some automatic reason for Elisha to up and leave the family business, drop his daily routine, and strike out to parts unknown. However, that’s exactly what he did. After saying goodbye to his family, Elisha left the life and home where he felt comfortable to work under the mentorship of Elijah.
The Bible records that for a time span of ten years, Elisha stood by Elijah’s side – a faithful servant to be sure. Elisha’s dedication came with a wonderful gift for on the day when heaven touched earth by coming to take Elijah to his heavenly home, Elisha was right there to witness the spectacular exhibition as a fiery chariot swung low and retrieved the prophet Elijah, taking him to heaven.
I’ve often asked myself this question: “When Elisha saw how Elijah was taken to heaven at the end of his years of service, I wonder if the thought crossed Elisha’s mind that perhaps, he too, would be honored with a chariot ride to his eternal home as well.” Wouldn’t you have said to yourself, “Maybe like Elijah God will come and take me.” This is something we’ll study more closely in weeks to come.
However, with Elisha’s name on the Syrian’s most-wanted list and the king of Israel threatening him by sending a hit-man with a sharp knife right to Elisha’s front door ready to behead God’s servant, Elisha’s thoughts may have been centered on the fact that his years on earth might be shortened. This is how my line of reasoning would have gone.
But let me share with you what Elisha was doing when he found himself confronted by danger and death on every side. When the band of Syrian soldiers had Elisha surrounded in Dothan, the Bible gives us this heart-warming encouragement, “Elisha answered, ‘Fear not; for those with us are more than those with them’ (II Kings 6: 16, Amplified Bible). And when the evil king of Israel sent his henchman to behead Elisha, we find that when Elisha’s potential killer arrived, Elisha, we are told said: “Hear the word of the Lord” (II Kings 7: 1, Amplified Bible). And then Elisha continued by laying out the fact that God’s deliverance was on the way.
What faith! And what a tremendous witness Elisha was to those around him who were fearful, not only for Elisha’s well-being but most likely for their own. I wonder how we would have felt if we found ourselves in the same circumstances. I know I wouldn’t have been comfortable. But you see, here’s where we need to look closely as to the reason Elisha could face each day with such calm assurance. It has to do with who Elisha was looking at and who he was listening to.
I was talking to someone this past week who made the comment that “fear” seems to be the watchword of our lives today. As this individual noted, “Every time I turn on the news or read an internet posting, it seems that somebody somewhere is telling you about another catastrophic event that should make your heart quake with fear.”
As I listened to what this person was saying, I recognized how easy it is for me to let “fear” control my own daily life. And yet, when God came to earth in the life of our Saviour and Friend, Jesus Christ, He personally told His followers: “Do not be struck with fear or seized with alarm…do not be alarmed, little flock” (Luke 12: 7, 32, Amplified Bible). Why did Jesus tell His followers down through the ages that they should not be fearful? Elisha’s life gives us a huge clue!
As we look at how Elisha lived we can’t help but notice that this faithful servant of God kept his eyes on who was protecting him. And further, he kept his ears open to where God was calling him. Just as with Elisha, the elimination of fear as a controlling force in our lives only happens when we keep our eyes focused on our heavenly Deliverer and when we kept our ears open to the voice of our Divine Guide.
In Luke 21: 26, Jesus specifically painted a verbal picture of how things would look as trouble in our world began to cause everything to collapse. As Jesus portrayed: “It will seem like all hell has broken loose – sun, moon, stars, earth, sea, in an uproar and everyone all over the world in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom; the powers-that-be quaking” (Luke 21: 26, The Message Bible).
This is the place we find Elisha in when a hired killer was at his door. So why wasn’t he afraid? It was because he had seen with his own eyes the army of God around him, surrounding him. And he had heard, with his own ears, that deliverance was on the way.
If we continue reading the words of Jesus as recorded in Luke 21: 27 we find that after Jesus told His followers how bad things will be, it’s as if He grabs a huge banner that says, “No Fear Here”, when He encourages and sustains our hearts with the promise, “And then – then! they’ll see the Son of Man welcomed in grand style – a glorious welcome! When all this starts to happen, up on your feet. Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way!”
Help is on the way! That was Elisha’s message to the elders who were in his home and death was at his door! He saw what others didn’t see and he heard what others didn’t hear because he had made it a lifetime practice of keeping his eyes on God and listening for his heavenly Father’s voice.
Several years ago, I was going through a challenging time in my own life where I let “fear” rule my days way to frequently. When I awoke each day it was as if a cloud called “dreadful fear” hung over me. I felt as if I was in a very negative cycle. Living with fear really took the wind out of my sails. As I wrote the devotionals each day and prayed for each need sent to Transformation Garden, I asked myself, “How can you encourage others and yet let fear grind you into the ground in your own life?”
One particular day as I was studying the Bible and reading about different individuals who were frightened by the challenges in their lives, it struck me that quite frequently, God’s words to them often contained the phrase, “Fear thou not.” Many times God gave the person a reason. For example, He told Joshua when he took over the leadership of Israel, “As I was with Moses, so I’ll be with you, take courage, don’t be afraid.” God’s leading in each of our lives is always accompanied by the fact that He promises to be with us. And this knowledge hit me like a glass of cold water in my face for I realized that my fears were present because I focused my sight on the overwhelming challenges I was hit with. And what’s more, I’d rehearse, in my mind, my problems over and over again. So I changed my behavior and each day, before I took up my daily activities, I asked God to please help me see, only one time each day, His hand at work in my life. (Indeed, my faith wasn’t that strong at the time). To my utter delight, as I looked to my Father and listened for His voice, events that I’d previously chalked up to happenstance, took on a completely new hue. Amazing as it may sound, I began to see God’s hand at work all through the day. And while I can’t say that the emotion of fear has completely vacated my life, when trouble strikes, as it will in our lives, I’ve found myself saying, “Deliverance must be on the way!
I encourage you today to keep your eyes off the hit-man and on our Heavenly Guide who challenges us to, “Stand tall with your heads high. Help is on the way.”
What do we see and hear when the enemy is at the door? We see the chariots of God surrounding us and we hear God’s voice calling out, “Your deliverance is on the way.”
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do I thank You.
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures.
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You
with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.”
Charles de Foucauld
The Paschal Way
“You said that if I walked Your path with You
I would experience the blossoming of heaven.
I thought that You meant flowers,
blooms of celebration strewn
along the Hosanna road,
or arranged by flickering candles
in a church filled with peace
or clustered fragrant in a heart
made into permanent summer by prayer,
or handed to me by friends
who valued flowers as much as I did.
You said that if I walked Your path with You
I would discover the sweetness of God
and I expected to be given flowers.
But actually You were talking of thorns
and a cross on the road to dying
and hands and feet pierced by the truth
that I did not want to own
and a feeling of forsakenness
and a letting go
and a love so terrible it came
like a sword in my struggling heart
and finally, nothing but You and I
in the silence of the tomb.
You asked me to walk Your path with You
and yes, You did mean flowers,
but not the fragile things of a day.
Something of permanent fragrance
and a beauty that can’t be measured
by a panacea of small comforts.
You were talking of the tomb transformed,
imprisonment into freedom,
crosses into wisdom,
suffering into compassion,
darkness into light.
You were talking of Your presence,
in a life made larger by Your journey.
You were talking of resurrections without end.”
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
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