In our daily meditations over the next few weeks, we begin to look at the topic of spiritual warfare. From our early education, we are taught only to believe in that which is physical—that there is no spiritual world, but this is a deception by our unseen enemy, Satan. Just because we cannot see this spiritual world doesn't mean it is not there. Let me illustrate:
When I was young, I worked with my father on his commercial fishing boat on the east coast of England. We trawled the bottom of the seabed catching Dover soles, cod, plaice, and flounders, as well as anything else that got in our trawl nets. We couldn't see what we were catching until the net reached the surface. Unfortunately, because we were fishing on the seabed where two world wars were fought, our nets would occasionally come up with unexploded mines to hamper shipping out of our harbor, along with airplane wings with massive cannons inside, as well as intact bombs and other things that would tear up our nets. Some things in life can be unseen but deadly. Just because you may be unaware of something dangerous doesn't mean it cannot affect you. Electricity in a light plug is unseen, but stick your fingers in a live socket, and you will soon realize that there are powerful things that are unseen and dangerous. Natural gas is odorless and invisible; if there is a lot of it in your house, it can utterly destroy your home. The gas companies add a horrible smell to it so that we'll be awakened to the danger when there's a leak.
Throughout the Bible, we see more to this world than what’s seen with the eye. There is a spiritual realm that is just as real as the world in which we live. This physical world is only temporary and passing, a shadow of things to come, and some things happen that are spiritual and unseen but yet have consequences in the physical realm.
In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, there is a story of a king reigning in Aram who was angry because his actions and intentions were somehow made known to the armies of Israel. He could not understand how Israel knew everything he was doing and anything he plotted (2 Kings 6:8-10). He thought that he had a spy among his leaders. His problem was that Israel had a man of God, Elisha, who lived his life in such a way that he was able, by the Spirit of God, to know the very words that the King of Aram spoke in secret to his generals (2 Kings 6:11-12). Elisha was acutely aware of the unseen realms and had an intimate and powerful prayer life, which gave him this unique insight. When the King of Aram found out about Elisha's gift, he was so enraged that he sent his army to the town where Elisha lived, hoping to kill or capture him:
14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15When 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, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. 16"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" 17And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so 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. 18As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:14-18).
When Elisha's servant looked at the size of the army of Aram surrounding the city, he began to lose heart. Things looked hopeless when seen only from an earthly perspective. However, all was not as it seemed. There were angelic forces of God around Elisha and Gehazi, his servant, of which the young novice was unaware. Elisha prayed for his servant's eyes to be opened to the unseen spiritual realm around them. All of a sudden, at the prayer of Elisha, Gehazi saw the reality of the spiritual forces of God that are hidden from physical eyes. These angelic beings of God are much more powerful than the physical forces of evil around the city.
When Elisha prayed, God defeated Israel's enemies with one display of His power. My prayer for you today is that God may open your eyes to the reality of the unseen spiritual world and that we might explore what the Bible says about that realm over the next few days. Keith Thomas.