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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Vision Thing (17): Seeing Strength

Everyone who devotes themselves fully to obeying the vision that God has given them will have a power encounter. It is the day that the Evil One, through those who deliberately sin, who accidentally sin, or who are simply confused and ignorant for now, tries to stop you in your tracks. He may use intimidation or temptation or discouragement when he comes, but he will come, and the stronger of the two of you will win.

When he comes, the vision may seem to unravel before your eyes. It may look hopeless. You may start thinking that you failed God, that you were not good enough to see it through. You may question whether you heard God at all. You may wonder if your calling was predestined to fail, given just to build your character somehow.

When the devil attacks and you think about quitting, may God give you vision.

Elisha the Prophet was gifted by God to see the battle plan of the king of Aram against Israel before he executed it. Elisha shared his intelligence with the king of Israel, and Israel was always waiting in ambush whenever Aram invaded. When the oft-defeated king of Aram finally discovered what the secret of Israel's success was, he adopted a new strategy: get Elisha.

Elisha and his assistant went to bed one night and woke up in a city besieged by an Aramean strike force. His assistant started freaking out: "Oh no, my master! What will we do?"

Elisha was unimpressed. "Don't be afraid, for our side outnumbers them," he said casually. And then he prayed,
"O LORD, open his eyes so he can see."
Elisha's valet raised his head and dropped his jaw. There, between the city wall and the Aramean force, was a host of blazing, angelic chariots and horses ready for battle.

Think about it: Elisha didn't act like this was a big deal. He saw his security detail all the time.

When the Arameans began their assault on the foes they could not see, Elisha asked God to strike them blind, and God promptly obliged. Then, in one of the most bizarre moments in the often bizarre collection we call the Bible, Elisha walks out and offers to lead the Arameans to the guy they're looking for. Then he leads this column of helpless, blind Aramean charioteers ten miles into the Israelite capital of Samaria—probably suffering an injury on the way from trying to keep from laughing—where at Elisha's request, God opens their eyes, and they find themselves surrounded. Then Elisha convinces the king of Israel to throw these marauders a huge party and send them home, with best wishes to the king of Aram. The Arameans never raided Israel again (2 Kings 6:8-23).

God opens eyes, and he blinds them, and he opens them again if he pleases. And while the world and its invisible ruler, hell-bent on crushing the church, froth and rage, God steals their vision whenever it suits him while he gives his servants the vision of his power and protection. Those who have true vision have a vision that they cannot be stopped.

I have frequently freaked out like Elisha's servant in the face of attack. But before I give up, God always opens my eyes so I can see his flaming chariots ensuring victory.

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