I want to remind you again of this announcement: one week from tonight, be sure and plan to be here. Every member of the church should make a special effort to be here. It will be a very important meeting, and very important things relative to the future growth and progress of the church will be discussed. It won't take but a few minutes, so it won't make you way late getting home or anything like that. It shouldn't take more than fifteen to twenty minutes after our regular service.
We want to read from II Kings chapter 6. Back a couple of years ago when I first came down from Rhodesia and began to preach to you folks, I preached two or three sermons about Elisha's miracles. And I want to preach about one of his miracles. You know, he performed so many, you can talk about a lot of them, and all of them make good lessons for us if they're studied properly.
But this one we want to think about today is his thirteenth miracle. The thirteenth miracle of Elisha, and one could give it several titles, but one that I've given it is, "Eyes with New Sight". Or, we could give it a longer title and call it, "The Way We Should Deal with Young, Insecure Christians." Or, we could go into other book-length titles of course, and really give it a title, but the simplest one is this, "Eyes with New Sight."
Read with me now from II Kings 6:8 through verse 17, and then we'll talk about it a little while together.
"Then the king of Syria warred against Israel, and took counsel with his servants, saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which in—which the man of God had told him and warned him of, and saved himself there, not once nor twice."
In other words, what he's saying there is that the man of God warned the king of Israel that the Syrians had come down to a certain place where the king of Israel commonly went. And the man of God had warned the king of Israel not to go there because God had revealed to him that the Syrians were lying in wait for him. The king of Israel didn't believe the man of God, therefore he sent spies out, or scouts, and found out not once, nor twice, but more than twice he found out that the Syrian ambushers were hiding, waiting there for him.
Now going on with our reading, verse 11: "Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing. And he called his servants and said unto them, ‘Will ye not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?'"
The king of Syria was getting rather excited about this, and we'll have more to say about this in a minute, as we begin to study it in an organized fashion. But, he got rather excited about this because he'd set several ambushes. He'd been in ambush for some time waiting for the king of Israel to come to this place where he always came, and now he doesn't come any more. And then the king of Syria sends another ambush out to get him at this place, but he doesn't come that time. And he sends another ambush out to get him when he comes to this place, and he doesn't come that time. So the king of Syria is wondering who the spy is in his own crowd that's telling the king of Israel what's going on so that he won't come to this particular place anymore.
"And one of his servants said, ‘None my Lord,'" verse 12, "None my Lord, O king, but Elisha the prophet that is in Israel telleth the king of Israel the word that thou speakest in thy bed chamber."
In other words, this servant is telling king Benhadad of Syria, "I don't think there are any spies in your own household; but rather this prophet Elisha, he knows everything that goes on in your most secret places."
And he's telling the king of Israel to avoid the ambushes. Nobody is telling him anything as far as any physical spies are concerned, but this prophet is revealing it to them. And we understand, of course, that God was revealing the secret plot to the prophet and the prophet was revealing it to the king of Israel.
Now verse 13, "And he said, Go and spy where he is.'" Now this, of course, is the king of Syria speaking. "And he said, ‘Go and spy where he is--'" Where who is? Where Elisha is. "--that I may send and fetch him.' And it was told him saying, ‘Behold, he is in Dothan.'"
In case you don't remember that name Dothan, we've seen that name before in the Scriptures, haven't we? That name Dothan is the place where Joseph's brethren threw him into the pit and then sold him to the Ishmaelites! So we know some other things about this place. There is not much left there now, at Dothan, it's almost flatland now. Not even much of a mound left where the little village used to be at Dothan. Just a few stones scattered around, and that's about all that was left when Georgia and I saw the place.
"And he said, ‘Go and spy where he is that I may send and fetch him.' And it was told him saying, ‘Behold he is in Dothan.' Therefore sent he thither horses and chariots and a great host, and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early and gone forward, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, ‘Alas my master, how shall we do?'"
Inn these las two verses that we've just read, king Benhadad of Syria, sent a big army of men down there with horses and chariots to surround this little village of Dothan to try to grab Elisha and bring him back to the palace, or at his camp, wherever he might have been at the moment. And when the servant of the man of God got up, he saw this terrible army of the Syrians surrounding them. There they were completely hopeless and helpless.
And he said to Elisha, "Alas my master, how shall we do?" And this was the answer of Elisha: "And he answered, ‘Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.' And Elisha prayed and said, ‘Lord I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.' And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.'"
Let's pray. "Father, bless the reading of Your Word today. Bless us as we study it together that we may receive a blessing and receive just the message that each of us needs from Your Word. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.
Now, as we begin to think further about this, going back and looking at it from an organized viewpoint, here in this place we see that Elisha is leaving his ministering and teaching to the young prophets of Israel, and he's helping the king of Israel. That is, he's helping King Jehoram, (or Joram as it's spelled in some places), against the Syrian enemies of Israel. The Syrian enemies of Israel were led by the Syrian king, of course, Benhadad, whom I've already mentioned. And we've already seen in our reading that the Syrians set an ambush for the king of Israel, but God told Elisha about it and Elisha warned the king.
You know, this example is rather appropriate for us at this moment in South Africa. We have a lot of people here in South Africa now, who are constantly teaching and preaching rebellion against the government. Revolt against the government. Obstruction of anything that the government wants to do. Even had some recently over here at one of the universities that burned the South African flag. And I guess it's a pretty good thing that I wasn't director of that university, because if I were, we might not have had any students the next day, but we sure would have had a clean campus, I'll tell you. It might have been a year or two before we had any students much, but we'd have had a clean campus the next day for sure.
Anyway, this is appropriate for us. This is a good lesson that it gives us here about Elisha, although this Joram wasn not a shining paragon of virtue himself. No way that he could be considered an example of goodness and righteousness. Yet, in spite of that, he was the king. And we're taught in the Scripture that we're to obey the powers that be. We're taught in the Scripture that we're to pray for the king. We're taught in the Scripture that we're to pray for those in authority over us. And so, this business of just picking out the laws that you want to obey and picking out the governments that you want to follow, it's just not scriptural at all, is it? There's no way that it can be sustained from the Scripture.
But anyway, going back to our lesson here today, Elisha helped this king of Israel by telling him about this ambush, these repeated ambushes that had been set by the Syrian king. This, as we've said, gives us an example of the fact that the Christian has a duty to his king or his ruler. It's very clearly shown in the Scripture. First Peter 2:17 tells us that we are to honor the king, or the ruler in other words. And also, we're taught in various Scriptures to pray for and to obey those in authority over us. So, there's just no avoiding this responsibility that we have to do this.
In I Timothy 2:1 and 2, we have another good reference relative to this general idea of obeying those who have authority over us. That passage says: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings," now all those things are to be done relative to kings as well, "prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for kings," we could say.
"And for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." So, the scripture clearly teaches in many places that we should obey the law. The only exception to that is if the law interferes directly with our right and command of God to worship and serve Him. That's the only exception given in the Bible. It doesn't give any exceptions because you don't like a Republic festival or something. No exception for that --- Doesn't mention it at all, does it?
Let's think about this point by point. This thirteenth miracle of Elisha, let's think first about the background of the miracle. What came before this point in our study? This event that we read about today, came just after the healing of Naaman's leprosy. In case you don't remember that, Naaman was the chief captain, we would probably call him commander in chief, of the Syrian army. He was next man under the king. Recall how the Syrian king had requested that the king of Israel get the prophet of God to heal Naaman. And if you remember the story, he was healed by the prophet of God in Israel. And so, we see that this event that we've read about today, coming just after the healing of Naaman's leprosy, would show gross ingratitude, on the part of the king of Syria.
Benhadad's number one man had been miraculously healed of leprosy and yet, here he showed no gratitude for it whatsoever! He starts a war with Israel, rather than showing some gratitude about it. This Syrian king, as we said, had sent a personal message to Israel's king, asking for Naaman's leprosy to be healed. Of course, he really sent the message to the wrong man, didn't he? The man he needed to talk to about getting anything done as far as any miracle was concerned, would be to write to God's man, not to the king of Israel. But anyway, God did heal Naaman.
Now, we might say that returning evil for evil is wrong, but here we have an example of returning evil for good, don't we? And that certainly would be doubly wrong! Returning evil for good! Now, when we stop and say, "Well, returning evil for good is doubly wrong," we need to remember and ask ourselves, "How often do we return evil for good from God?" We as Christians, "How often do we do that?" I'm sure that all of us can think of times and occasions not very far back, when we have returned evil for good to God.
War is common throughout history. Romans 3:15, talking about men in general, it says: "Their feet are swift to shed blood." So we see in this text passage today that there's no reason shown whatsoever for Benhadad to attack Israel. Just his own greediness and bloodlust is all we can attribute this to --- the fact that he's just blood thirsty and greedy. And therefore, he attacks them. They've done a good turn for him in healing his commander in chief of the army just a little while before this, yet still here he comes out because of his own bloodlust and attacks them, or tries to attack them. He sets up this ambush to try to take the king of Israel.
When we think about this in another way, we find that neither solemn warnings nor kindly favors will stop evil men or soften their hearts the least little bit. The only thing that will soften the heart of an evil man is when he gets saved. Kindly talking to him, kindly relations with him doesn not soften his heart a bit. But when God gets hold of him and softens his heart, he gets saved, then it really softens his heart, doesn't it?
Benhadad counseled with his servants. But, you'd think if a man were talking about something important relative to Israel, if he had the right attitude, who would he go talk to first? Not just to his servants, but he'd go talk to Naaman, wouldn't he? Because Naaman was the man who'd been down there. He'd been healed by the prophet of God, by the prophet in Israel. And therefore, you'd think that if he had the right attitude at all about this situation, he wouldn't just talk to some servants that knew nothing about it, but he'd go talk to Naaman! But he didn't do that at all. It doesn't say a word about that. It says he counseled with his servants. Didn't even talk with his number one man who had been down there and been healed by the prophet of God.
In other words, he didn't counsel with God or with God's servant, because he knew not God. And that's a common characteristic of unsaved people today, isn't it? Sometimes it becomes almost a characteristic of saved people as well, but it shouldn't! Too often we just go ahead on our own merry way without counseling with God or God's servant.
Benhadad laid an ambush, as we've already seen, in a place that he knew the king of Israel frequently passed. He knew it was his habit to go by there often. And in the same manner, Satan who knows our ways and our weaknesses, he always lays ambushes for us. Both Benhadad and Satan always reckon though, without the intervention of the Most High! They always reckon without God's intervention. First Corinthians 10:13 fits very well here, where it says these words: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
So all this business that we talk about all the time, "Oh, the devil made me do it," "Oh, the devil tempted me and I fell," that's not really basically true, is it? Maybe he did tempt us, but we didn't have to fall, did we? And neither did the devil make us do it. The Scripture teaches that men are led away of their own lusts, and that's when they fall into temptation. It does not say that the devil grabs a man and forces him to sin --- not at all! But that's the way we like to look at it! We like to consider it that way, but that's not really the way it is at all.
Going on further now, we talked a little while about the background of the miracle. Let's think for just a minute about the occasion of the miracle. Second Kings 6:9 gives us the occasion of the miracle. "And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place; for thither the Syrians are come down." Now this was the thing that led up to this major miracle that we see a little bit later in our study today.
The king of Syria, as the devil often does, left God out of his calculations. God knows and always knows the thoughts and intents of His enemies. And, you know, that's quite an advantage, isn't it? God always knows the talk—the thoughts and intents of His enemies. He uses various ways to thwart the enemy. God doesn't always send down a flood to—to stop the enemy, does He? He doesn't always send down a bolt of lightning. Strike a man dead on the spot. He doesn't always send down fire from heaven and consume men to carry out His will. Sometimes He does it with a still, small voice! You remember the example, how the Scripture shows us that God doesn't always come in the thunder, He doesn't always come in the lightning, He doesn't always come in the strong, stormy wind, He doesn't always come in the fire, but sometimes He just comes in the still, small voice, in the heart of a man.
And that's the way it worked here. God could have had a great and glorious battle. And just wiped out the Syrians. And gotten great glory out of it. But it was not His plan or His will to do it that way this time. Instead, He just sent the quiet word by the prophet of God to the king of Israel and said, "Now stay away from such and such a place, because the Syrians are lying in wait there for you." That's all it took, to foil the plan of the evil man.
Sometimes God uses the forces of nature. Pharaoh and the Red Sea would be an example of that. And there are many others. Sometimes He uses great battles, and uses His power to cause the right side to win. But this time it was just the quiet warning to Israel's king from God's servant, Elisha, telling him to stay away from the place of ambush.
When a sinner is delivered from the power of darkness, we want to remember that he at once becomes the object of Satan's enmity. When one is saved, then he immediately falls into the strongest temptation, or the strongest enmity from Satan. He becomes Satan's great enemy, but God provides for the security of the one who's been saved. And He will not ever allow the enemy to completely vanquish him. That is glorious to know! That God will never allow one of His to be completely vanquished by the enemy, though he immediately becomes the target of all of Satan's enmity the moment he is saved. Yet, God will never allow him to be vanquished.
God wants us to look to Him. You know, a lot of people seem to look to some great preacher that they know, or to some great man that they know. But God wants us to look to Him, and not to the means that He may use for our deliverance. He doesn't want us to bow down and worship the lightning because the lightning struck down an enemy of God, He doesn't want men to bow down and worship fire because He sometimes uses fire to work out His will, He doesn't want us to look toward the means that He uses and be rejoicing and looking toward it because of our deliverance.
Instead, He wants us to look to Him because of His deliverance that He gives us from day to day.
God warns saints and sinners through the man of God. That's taught in our lesson today. He warns both saints and sinners. You say, "Well, how do you get saints and sinners both in this lesson today?" Well, He warned His man Elisha, didn't He? About what was happening? He also warned the sinner, the king was not much of a character. He warned him through His man, didn't He? So, we could say that He warned saints and sinners through the man of God, "Beware that thou pass not such a place." That was the messagefrom God.
Today people get mad when the preacher sometimes gets on their little pet sin and preaches about it a little bit. They think, "Well, how did he know I was doing that?" You know, the funny part of that is, usually he didn't know you were doing it. Most of the time he had no idea you were doing it, but God just led him to touch on it that day and he did, and you think he knows all about that little secret sin that you thought he did not know about. And as I said, in many cases he didn't know about it, yet he mentioned it when he preached that day.
Each time that we escape by heeding the warning of God, what happens? Satan lays a fresh snare, doesn't he? He doesn't give up because he missed us on that first ambush. We see that in our lesson today. It says, "He delivered himself not once, nor twice," in other words, meaning that it was more than twice, but it just doesn't tell us how many times he delivered himself by listening to the man of God. Satan sets a fresh snare anytime we escape by heeding God's warning. But every time we escape, we grow stronger spiritually! When we resist temptation, we grow stronger spiritually.
The king of Israel learned by sending men to check this place of ambush that the warnings who—which had been delivered to him by the man of God were not idle ones but should be heeded. And the king of Syria sought a human explanation for his problem, didn't he? He didn't seek a spiritual explanation, he sought a human explanation. Benhadad wanted to know "who is the spy in our in midst." Of course there was no spy --- It was God. He needed a spiritual explanation, rather than a human explanation.
The king here in verse 11: "The heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber."
Now this Syrian servant: notice when he said this, he did not say, "The prophet of God in Israel," but what did he say? He just said, "The prophet that is in Israel." He didn't say, "the prophet of God" but apparently he regarded Elisha only as a soothsayer or a seer, a fortune teller with magical powers. He did not mention or consider the true spiritual aspect of the thing at all. In his statement to theSyrian king there was no mention or recognition God or of God's power.
Notice the location of the miracle. Second Kings 6:13 tells us that the location is in Dothan. The Syrian monarch refused to recognize that he was fighting against God, but determined to remove this pesky prophet that was bothering him. He just wasn't going to put up with this from this prophet. And as the Syrian king tried to remove the one who was coming between him and his victim, we can take from this the lesson that the devil also makes special efforts, even today, to hinder or destroy those who successfully warn the ones he would like to take captive.
Now, that's a long sentence, let's say that again in different words. In the same manner that Benhadad here tried to remove the one who was coming between him and his victim --- now who was his proposed victim? --- The king of Israel! He tried to remove the prophet who was interfering with his aim of getting the king of Israel. In that same manner the devil today tries to remove or hinder or eliminate in some way those who stand between him and those whom he is trying to take and keep. It's a good lesson for us today.
So, if the devil is after you pretty heavy, don't get discouraged, say, "Glory, hallelujah, I must be doing something right." Say, "Amen, brother, I must be doing something right because the devil's after me." That's the way we should look at it! But we don't do that as often as we should; we usually take the attitude, "Why would God let this happen to me?" "Isn't that awful?" Yeah, it's awful! But not the way we sometimes look at it. It's awful in a different way.
Benhadad realized that Elisha wielded some power. In fact, he must have realized that he had a great deal of power, else he would not have sent an army to get him. He would have just sent a couple of soldiers over there and they would have arrested him and dragged him back, wouldn't they? That would have been all that would be necessary for an ordinary man. But he realized Elisha had a considerable amount of power. Our Bible says that he sent thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.
Now, we see another thing in this last verse we read. The wicked are sometimes disturbed by their consciences, but they still go ahead with their wicked schemes. The fact that their conscience bothers them doesn't stop them from going ahead with their evil schemes, just as it didn't stop the Syrian king here. He was troubled about this matter because here he's already tried to get the fellow two or three times, and he's wanting to know what's going on. He can't figure out why he can't catch him. But it didn't stop him from trying to do it, did it? He went right ahead. And that's the same way that the unsaved are today.
He surrounded Dothan by night, as we read in verse 14. This illustrates the fact that the devil always follows a continuous policy of stealth, always trying to take us unawares! He always wants to sneak up on our blind side, doesn't he? He does not come out in front of us with his pitchfork and his tail with the spike on the end of it, or anything like that. He does not come in his little red suit and say, "Now, come on let's go do this or that or something else." That is not the way the devil operates, is it? He comes up to us dressed like some beautiful lady or some handsome man and says, "Well, now that will not hurt a thing. Come on let's do it, be a sport here." That's the way he operates, isn't it? He come up on our blind side, makes a stealthy approach, just as he did here, sneaking up in the night to try to get God's man.
Now, the subject of the miracle. II Kings 6:15 says: "And when the servant of the man of God was risen early," (he's really the main subject of this miracle here) isn't he? --- The servant of the man of God. This servant of the man of God was a new helper for Elisha after the other one, Gehazi had been turned into a leper because of his greed, disobedience, lying and covetousness, and a few other things we could throw in there. And this was Elisha's new helper, his new assistant. This young believer is a picture to us of the fact that a young believer is always tested early on. He's always tested almost immediately when he becomes a believer. And he must be helped to learn to walk by faith.
We need to gather around these young Christians, support them, pray for them, love them, even when they make a mistake, keep on loving them anyway, and try to help them grow into strong Christians. We need to do that. Sometimes it's hard to do. Sometimes you feel like, "Why that idiot, he knew better than that!" But, maybe he didn't. Or even if he did know better, maybe the devil slipped up on his blind side. So, we need to take a little more of that attitude and realize that this is the way it works. We must help him to learn to walk by faith.
But this new young helper for Elisha was very fearful. He was frightened. He said, "Alas, my master! How shall we do?" "Here we are, just you and I, we're in this little village and there's a big army here surrounding us, and they've come to get us; what are we going to do?" "Oh, my." "Oh, me." "What are we going to do?"
The young believer is, in fact, often or even nearly always more fearful than unbelievers. Now you think about that a minute. A young believer is more fearful than unbelievers. Because an unbeliever, he doesn't even realize he's got anything to be afraid of, does he? If he very seriously considered that aspect of it, he wouldn't be an unbeliever very long, would he? But a young believer is often more fearful than an unbeliever.
A young believer generally realizes his own helplessness as a child of God --- a little babe in Christ! You say, "How do you know that he always recognizes that?" Well, you can't be a true believer until you do come to realize your own helplessness in the matter of spiritual affairs. You can't really come to know the Lord and be truly saved until you realize that first! You have to realize your own helplessness, and just cling to Him. And He'll save you. So, the young believer, he realizes his own dependence as a babe in Christ.
He needs to learn one more lesson, just as this servant needed to learn and did learn in this miracle that we're talking about today. He needs to learn where strength lies. You might say, "Oh, I've got a good, strong right arm." But that's not where strength lies, is it? You might say, "I've got big shoulders." That's not where strength lies, is it? You might say this and that and something else, but the only place where strength lies in all spiritual matters is God, isn't it? That's where real strength lies -- That's it -- In God.
Today's Christian has worse foes than an army to meet; much worse. Let's read quickly in Ephesians 6:12: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Now that's the kind of enemies we have, and that's a lot worse than a physical army, isn't it? Much worse than a physical army. And that's the kind of opposition we have today.
Our answer to young Christians today must be the same as Elisha's answer to this trembling one before him here. His answer is given in verse 16, as we hasten to a conclusion. Verse 16: "And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Aren't you glad it's that way? I'm so glad it's that way. "They that be with us are more than they that be with them." Oh, we can look out all around us here and say, "Well, we're just outnumbered. Everybody's against us. Just one little group." But that's not the way to look at it. "They that be with us are more that they that be against us."
It's like a story I have told several times, and it's not a joke, it really happened. It is about "Chesty" Puller, a U. S. Marine Corps general in Korea, in the darkest days of the Korean War. The incident happened when they had that big Chinese breakthrough, and our boys were about to be overrun by millions of Chinese. It is said that he had about 10,000 marines, and he was in there with them. Ten thousand marines were surrounded and cut off from the rest of the American forces. Completely surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Chinese. A man who was there said they'd shoot them until they couldn't lift their tripod-mounted guns high enough to shoot because they'd keep coming over. Over these piles of dead Chinese --- they'd just keep coming over. And they'd have to move their guns back then so they could get the elevation to the right level again to shoot them just after they came over the piles of Chinese bodies. Remember, they were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Chinese, with hundreds of thousands more coming on behind these.
As Christian soldiers, we need to take the attitude that General Chesty Puller took then. He had a little talk with his officers and his men. He stood atop a tank in the freezing cold and said, "Look out there boys," he said, "they're all around us." He said, "There's millions of them out there." He went on to say, "There's no way they're all going to get away from us." He said, "We're going to get some of them." And that's the attitude, we need to take about our warfare for the Lord!
And that's the way it really is. There's no way they're all going to escape from us. General Puller and the US Marines did break through finally, rejoining the rest of the American forces, and got out with most of their men.
"Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world," I John 4:4 tells us that. We need to keep that in mind, don't we? "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
The last few things we want to rush through quickly: in chapter 6, verse 17, the first part of the verse, we notice that Elisha did not scold this weak servant, this doubting servant, but he prayed for him. We need to do a lot more praying and a lot less scolding of young Christians. Elisha feared not because he knew the power of God, but the young servant didn't know that, did he?
Now the marvel of the miracle. In verse 17 again, last part of the verse, it tells us this: but first let me read that first part, "Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see." So, the main means of helping this young man was praying for him! Now the second thing: the marvel of the miracle in verse 17, the last half, "And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." So, that's the marvel of it, isn't it? The invisible guard of God was made visible to this young man. God's guard still works today. Psalms 34:7 says, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
I've been many times in very great, physical danger in the Lord's service. And I'm thankful that He did have His angels encamped round about me. Because if He hadn't, I wouldn't be here today. But it's true that He still carries out His promise given in Psalms 34:7.
The mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire. We notice another thing here. A lot of people try to pretend that angels are just little figments of imagination or little spiritual beings of some kind, but angels are personal beings, aren't they? Because it speaks of them here as "they" in verse 16. So they are personal beings.
The meaning of the miracle, and this is our last thought, it shows how to deal with and help fearful young Christians. Romans 15:1 says that the strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak. And we need to remember that sometimes when we're a little bit too prone to pounce on a young Christian that's fallen a little bit. Instead of going over there and helping him up and praying for him, sometimes we have a tendency to go over there and kick him, don't we? And that's not the way to do it at all.
Many baby Christians are living far below their privileges, not understanding the provisions that God has made for them. We have a tap on the power of the universe, and we should remember that, and not be so fearful.
Many young Christians are walking only by sight. And we should remember that we should not brow beat that type of Christian but rather, we should quiet them down with calm words, as Elisha did here when he said, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them."
Romans 8:31 makes a good closing verse, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" And that's still true, isn't it? Definite prayer should always be made for young Christians, because only God can open the spiritual eyes of a young Christian and cause him to see the all-sufficiency of God's provisions for His own.