What battles are you facing today? In July of 1863, at the battle of Gettysburg, seven thousand men died in three days. That battle proved to be a major turning point in the Civil War, putting a stop to General Lee’s invasion of the North. It took two more years and many more battles for the war to come to a close, at the cost of nearly 750,000 American lives. That bit of our history sure puts my battles into perspective.
Arguably, the most important battle of the Civil War was lost some eighty years earlier when the slavery issue did not get resolved with the ratification of the Constitution. The immediacy for getting all on board with the Constitution distracted the men from the real battle - the devil’s scheme to split the country. That battle continues to distract friends, families, the Church and the government.
“Go and find out where he (Elisha) is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” … Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. … When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. – 2Kings 6:13-17. The king of Aram was at war with Israel but every battle plan drafted had been thwarted by Elisha. Elisha represented the authority of the One True God, so now the battle was on to take out Elisha. The king’s battle plan was thwarted again because Elisha knew this war was not between Aram and Israel. It was spiritual warfare between God and lower gods that were stirring up the Arameans. Elisha was not about to let a worldly perspective discourage his servant or distract God’s people. Today the Church - that includes dads, families and the corporate church, needs to be so tuned-in to Christ that all recognize the devil’s battle plan, call it what it is – evil, and rebuke it in the power of the risen Christ and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Then all will be a better Kingdom influence in this noisy world.
Martin Luther King, Jr. called our nation to be accountable to what the Founding Fathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” He provided a perspective in the midst of a civil rights battle, that freedom was in the DNA of the nation. The call was to live it out and to walk in what President Lincoln referred to as the “better angels of our nature”. It seems Lincoln and King may have had Elisha moments – looking past battles raging around them at the time and seeing the hills full of horses and chariots of fire. True freedom is only possible under the authority of the One True God.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and the history You have blessed this nation with. Too often I have allowed myself to get caught up in the “battles” around local issues, church struggles and the political climate. Forgive me. You are the One True God that is sovereign over all. Open my eyes to see past battles raging and grant me boldness to call evil out and rebuke it. Keep Your horses and chariots of fire around our homes, churches and nation. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.
A faithful father looks past battles raging and sees God working.