12/15/T – Divine Protection and Guidance

2 Kings 6:1-23; Acts 16:6-15; Psalms 142:4-7; Proverbs 30:1-4

OT: “When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?” Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed, “ Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭6:15-17‬ ‭CSB)

Ben Hadad, the King of Syria, was attempting to invade Israel, but each time he planned a point of attack, the Lord revealed Ben Hadad’s plans to Elisha, who revealed them to the King of Israel. Frustrated, Ben Hadad sent a band of soldiers to capture Elisha in the town of Dothan. Early the next morning, Elisha’s servant awoke to see their city under siege. Frightened, he turned to Elisha. Instead of being afraid, Elisha was confident. Elisha knew that as long as he remained obedient to the Lord and faithful to His word, he was indestructible until God’s plans for him were complete. He didn’t compare the surrounding army to himself… he compared the surrounding army to the Lord and His hosts. Instead of asking God to give his servant peace and boldness, Elisha prayed for God to open his servants eyes to see in the natural what Elisha saw by faith. Though Elisha and his servant were surrounded by an army of horses and chariots, the army was surrounded by a vast army of angelic hosts and chariots of fire. That is a picture of what it means to live under God’s hand of protection. Though we may not see it with our natural eyes, we can know that as we stand with God and remain faithful to Him, He and all of heaven’s resources stand with us. We don’t have to be afraid when the Lord is our light and our salvation.

NT: “They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia; they had been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. Passing by Mysia they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision in which a Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭16:6-10‬ ‭CSB)

There are times in my life when I fear that I will miss the will of God. In those times, I remember this story. Paul desired to be in God’s will, doing what God was doing – but he was unclear as to what that was specifically. He had an idea that he was to go deeper in to Asia with the gospel, but every time he tried, the Holy Spirit prevented him. I know what that is like. There have been times in my life when I have been on the verge of making a great mistake, but the Holy Spirit stopped me just in time. Then one night, while staying in Troas, the Lord made His plan clear to Paul through a dream. Instead of going deeper into Asia, Paul was to take the gospel into Europe. As a side note, it appears that Dr. Luke (the author of Acts) joined Paul in Troas… for the pronouns change from ‘they’ to ‘we.’ This story paints a picture of what it means to live under God’s hand of guidance. If we truly are following the Lord and are completely submitted to Him, we don’t have to be afraid of missing His will and purposes. As long as we trust Him, He will lead us to where we need to go, even if we can’t see the way ourselves. Much like a blind person places his trust in his guide, if the blind person tries to go somewhere dangerous, the guide will stop him and keep him safe… and as long as the blind person trusts and submits to the guide, the blind person will get where he needs to go. We are the blind person, and the Holy Spirit is our guide. We don’t have to stay up at night worrying. We can trust the Lord, follow His lead, and remain a part of what God is doing in the world.

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