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Feb 18- Elisha and the Army

The Servant’s Vision Problem

If there was any doubt that God gave Elisha His spirit, it was quickly removed by what followed. Elijah’s ministry had been impressive, especially the encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, but Elisha’s ministry was equally impressive, perhaps even more so.

Elisha was part of God providing an ongoing supply of bread and oil for himself, the Shunammite woman, and her son, and then God used the prophet to bring the boy back to life (2 Kings 4:1-37). Elisha threw flour into a pot of poisoned stew to make it safe to eat (2 Kings 4:38-41). He then multiplied bread for people to eat, with leftovers (2 Kings 4:42-44). He would then heal Naaman from his skin disease (2 Kings 5:1-19) and then he made an iron ax head float (2 Kings 6:1-7).

All of that leads into this week’s story. During this time, the king of Aram was at war with Israel and Elisha would send word to the king of Israel about the enemies movements. It was not because Elisha was a spy, of course; he was a prophet.

When the king of Aram learned what was going on, he sent an army to capture Elisha. The army arrived where Elisha was, and surrounded the city at night. Then this happened:

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. (2 Kings 6:15-17 CSB)

The servant’s problem, as Elisha prayed, was that his physical eyes could see just fine, but his spiritual eyes were blind—at least in this moment. There is a physical dimension to God’s creation, as we are well aware of, but there is also a spiritual dimension. Both are always present and each are very real. The servant needed the Lord to open his eyes, but not the physical ones.

Our Vision Problem

I wonder if we sometimes read the Bible with too much of a critical, prideful spirit. Like here, perhaps. It might be easy for us to roll our eyes at the servant because he failed to see the angelic army. We might think of him as one of those poor people who, no matter how much they squinted and strained, could not see the pictures in those 1990s art pieces. It was right there in front of them, but they just couldn’t see it.

But that wouldn’t be fair of us at all. I have to believe we would have been squinting along with the servant that morning rather than seeing with Elisha. Why do I say that? Well, how many boys have we brought back to life? How often have we made poisonous stew edible? Multiplied bread? Made an ax head float? Healed a disease?

Yes, the servant had a vision problem, but so do we. We are no better. Our spiritual vision is just as poor. But be grateful that it is not up to us to see. Just like Elisha’s servant needed the Lord to open his eyes, so do we. Initially, of course, this happens when we are saved. God makes us new and we are finally able to see—and begin to understand—God’s truth. It was always right before our eyes (Romans 1), but we saw it as foolishness (1 Corinthians 1–2) until God removed our blindness. This, by the way, is why Jesus healing blindness in the Gospels is so important (John 9, for example). Those literal physical healings pictured this greater spiritual healing.

Everyday, God is at work all around us—in both the physical and spiritual realms. The key is that we constantly depend on God to open our eyes to see what is taking place.

Preschool Tip: Talking about the spiritual realm can be challenging for our more concrete preschoolers. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t important for us to do so. God, after all, is Spirit and unseen. Consider ways that you might begin to help them understand that there is more to reality than we can see. The wind, such as from a fan, is always worth considering as an illustration.

Kids Tip: Many of the kids we teach experience hardships—real, significant ones. We don’t like to think about this, but it is true. Some we might know about; many we don’t. This week we have the opportunity to encourage them that God is at work in mighty ways, even when the situation seems dire and we cannot see what He is doing. Help your kids see (pun intended) this beautiful truth this week. They need to know it.

-From Brian Dembowczyk at TGP website

#JesusJams for today!

CLICK HERE for this weeks story summary

Christ Connection: God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant so he could see God’s protection. God is always with us. Jesus came to earth as the visible image of our invisible God. God’s protection from sin and death is given to everyone who trusts in Jesus.
If you have a bible at your house, turn to 2 Kings chapter 6. If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.

OPTION 1: Experiment with vision tools

Set out as a variety of vision tools, such as telescopes, binoculars, microscopes, magnifying glasses, pairs of glasses, and so forth. Tools may be real or toys. Invite preschoolers to explore various items such as small toys, stickers, beads, fingers, leaves, tree back, textures on a wall, and so forth.

Remind Kids• All of these items help us see things we can’t see very well with our eyes, but they cannot help us see everything. In our Bible story, there was an army that people could not see with their eyes or any kind of special tool. Only God could show this special army to people. We will hear all about this army in today’s Bible story.

OPTION 2: War! The Card Game Form pairs of kids. Provide each pair with a deck of playing cards. Instruct the kids to deal out all the cards evenly. Kids will play cards, one at a time. Whoever plays the higher value card keeps both. If their cards have the same value, they will each place three cards face-down and a fourth card face-up. Whoever plays the higher value fourth card wins all the cards in the pile. Whoever collects the most cards at the end of play wins. Remind Kids • In that game, the player with the larger number on his card won the round. In war, the army with the larger number of soldiers often wins. Today we will learn about a time God’s people seemed outnumbered by a very large army that wanted to attack them. But God provided reinforcements in an amazing way!

OPTION 3: Lead the blind Game Use tape or traffic cones to mark out a labyrinthine path on the ground. Provide the kids with blindfolds and allow them to take turns attempting to navigate the winding path. After a few minutes, allow one kid to remove her blindfold and lead kids through the path with gentle nudges and verbal instructions. Remind Kids • Getting around unfamiliar areas is difficult when you cannot see. Today we will learn about a time God blinded an army, and then Elisha led it to Samaria.


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