Encounters or Relationships – Part 2
As I shared in last week’s post, there is a challenge to seek growth in the Lord by focusing mostly on experiencing encounters with Holy Spirit. Though this is very important and encouraging in the Christian life, we miss a huge part of growth in our faith with the Lord if that’s all we live for. Our call is to grow in relationship with Jesus, to love Him and then love and serve others through His love. The manifestations are an added blessing to living life with Christ.
As we dive deeper today, I want to look at a story of the prophet Elisha written in 2 Kings 6.
“8 When the king of Aram was waging war against Israel, he conferred with his servants, “My camp will be at such and such a place.”
9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Be careful passing by this place, for the Arameans are going down there.” 10 Consequently, the king of Israel sent word to the place the man of God had told him about. The man of God repeatedly warned the king, so the king would be on his guard.
11 The king of Aram was enraged because of this matter, and he called his servants and demanded of them, “Tell me, which one of us is for the king of Israel?”
12 One of his servants said, “No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom.”
13 So the king said, “Go and see where he is, so I can send men to capture him.”
When he was told, “Elisha is in Dothan,” 14 he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
15 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?”
16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.”
17 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.
18 When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria.
21 When the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “Should I kill them, should I kill them, my father?”
22 Elisha replied, “Don’t kill them. Do you kill those you have captured with your sword or your bow? Set food and water in front of them so they can eat and drink and go to their master.”
23 So he prepared a big feast for them. When they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. The Aramean raiders did not come into Israel’s land again.” 2 Kings 6:8-23
Elisha was a prophet that walked hand-in-hand with the Lord. If God told him to go left, he went left. He listened for the Lord’s voice. This is clearly stated by the Aramean soldier who told the king that Elisha knew what he whispered in his bedroom. Was Elisha a supernatural being? No. He didn’t have any power in himself. The Lord put the words in Elisha’s ears since God is all-knowing. Elisha listened well and was eager to respond. He studied the Scriptures which allowed him to recognize the voice of God. He leaned into Yahweh, giving greater room for the Spirit to work mightily within him. Then when the miraculous encounters took place, it was a natural extension of what Elisha had been experiencing with the Lord already.
Elisha sought God’s counsel, and in that, grew greater spiritual eyes to see beyond the physical. Elisha wasn’t fazed by the massive army surrounding his city because he saw God’s army surrounding them. Not only was Elisha able to listen intently to the Lord’s voice, he was able to see into the heavenly realm. He knew God was for him and for the Israelites, so much so, that he led the army right into Samaria, the northern state of Israel’s capital. Now the invaders were at the mercy of Israel’s king. He could have easily slaughtered them all. But that wasn’t the point the Lord wanted to get across to these people and Elisha knew that. The Lord wanted the Arameans to know that He is the One and Only God of all the earth and the Israelites were His chosen people.
The more you invest in your relationship with Jesus, the greater He can work within you. He desires your heart so badly. That’s why He created you in the first place. He enjoys wowing you with His power and miracles, but those are like romantic gestures on a date. They are there to remind you of His presence, His power, and His sovereignty. He can do anything. He will always have the victory. But at the end of the day, those are small moments to the Lord. What matters most is your love for Him, because He loves you. Choosing to invest your time in Jesus each day will allow for greater spiritual awakening and experiences. That’s not why you do it. It’s just an added encouragement for your growth. The deeper you go with Jesus, the more you can expect to experience these things when the Lord sees them as necessary.
“Lord, take us deeper with you. Stir our hearts for more of Your love, Your word, and Your relationship. Thank You for loving and caring about us so much. Thank You for the work of Your Spirit both inside us and all around us. Lord, may we fix our eyes on You first, and as we grow, to expect great things from You; not for our own glory or gain, but for the advancement of Your glory and Your kingdom. Help us to be mission minded and not lose focus.
We serve a zealous, mighty, awesome God. You are the Lover of our souls. You sent Your Son to the earth to be the ultimate sacrifice, enduring the splintered wooden cross, the large iron nails, and the heavy hammer in order to set us free. May we be in greatest awe of Your love and sacrifice, and fall more deeply and richly in love with You more and more each day in return.
In Jesus’ loving name we pray.”