LOOKING THROUGH SPIRITUAL EYES Andy Hollifield 2-8-17
During a conversation with my good friend, pastor Terry Sprouse of State Street Baptist Church in Asheville, NC, something was said about looking at things through spiritual eyes. God nudged my heart when he said those words and I knew right then, this was what I would need to write about. I just didn’t know exactly what it would be until I started writing. Too often we look at circumstances and let them bring us down simply because we don’t pray and ask God to show us what he wants us to get out of a particular situation. I don’t want to sound super-spiritual because there is nothing further from the truth. I am pretty bad to woller a little in self-pity before I ever get around to asking God what it is he is trying to show me. I have learned the hard way that if he puts you in a situation, he wants you to learn from it so at some point you can help someone else through it. I would hate to come to the end of my life with some of the stuff I’ve seen and been through, and have all those lessons and experience and acquired wisdom die with me. I look at life like this; if I have to go through something, I want it to be as worthwhile as possible. I try to look for the benefit in it so I can maybe help someone else and they won’t have to learn it the hard way like I did.
With all of that said, I like to look at the bible and see if I can find scripture to back up my thoughts. Nothing like using undeniable truth to validate an opinion. The first one that comes to mind is the servant of Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 6. In verse nine Elisha, knowing that the kings of Israel and Syria were at war, sent and warned the king of Israel not to pass a certain way to avoid an ambush. This happened at least a couple of times and the King of Israel heeded the warnings and thus saved his life and the lives of his men. On the other side however, the king of Syria was certain he had a traitor. His servants convinced him that Elisha was telling the king of Israel the battle plans of Syria even though he had no way of knowing them. The Syrian king decided it would be a good idea to track down Elisha so he could presumably use him to get intel on the troop movements of Israel. He wound up sending horses and chariots and a great host to surround him by night. In verse 15, Elisha’s servant looked out and saw all of the Syrian host camped around the city. He went to his master and ask what shall we do? Elisha told him not to fear because they had more with them than the Syrians did. Then Elisha prayed.
Let me stop long enough to make a point here. When things look bad; before you shoot off your mouth or do anything else, stop and pray. I sometimes have a little trouble getting it in the right order. I am bad to shoot off my mouth, start griping, try to fix it, mess it up real good, and THEN call on God to bail me out.
Elisha simply asked God to open the servants eyes so he could see what God had already done. If we would get the order right, we could enjoy the blessings of God a lot more and worry about things a lot less. When the servant looked again he saw the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around them. When the enemy came down to him, Elisha prayed again. He didn’t ask God to wipe them out, he just asked God to smite them with blindness. After they were blinded, Elisha told them they were in the wrong place and he would take them to the man they were seeking. That wasn’t really a lie. If they were wanting intel on Israel’s troop movements, they were not only going to find out where they were, they were getting escorted right to them in Samaria. When they arrived Elisha prayed for the third time and asked God to open the enemy’s eyes. When they saw where they were I am sure they thought they would be executed which is what the king of Israel wanted to do. Instead, Elisha told the king of Israel to give them bread and water and send them back to their master. Israel prepared great provision for their enemies and then sent them home. After that, the army of Syria didn’t come into Israel any more at that time. We could get those kind of results if we acted with faith instead of fear and prayed about everything we do.
Probably the more accurate biblical picture of most of us is found in Numbers chapter 22. This is the story of Baalim and the talking donkey. Yeah, I figured that would get your attention real good. Balak, the king of Moab, knew that Israel would soon attack Moab and they had seen what Israel had done to the Amorites. He told Moab’s elders that they would lick up all that were around them as an ox licks up the grass of the field. He then sent princes to Baalim and lied to him to get him to come and curse their enemy which in this case was not Egypt as they had said, but Israel. God asked Baalim who the men were and what they wanted, even though he already knew. Baalim told him but God said he could not go with them for the enemy in question was a blessed people. Baalim was still believing the lie. After he refused to go with them they left. Balak didn’t give up he just sent more and more honorable princes and promised to promote him unto great honor and give him anything he asked. Baalim again refused but told them he would ask God again. God told him this time; if they call thee again, go with them. The next morning, Baalim just got up and went and apparently didn’t wait to see if they would ask again. That may not sound like a big deal, but if you jump ahead of what God says, it probably won’t end well for you. To sum it up a little, Baalim on his donkey and two servants that went with him set out on their journey. Unknown to Baalim, God had sent his angel to stop him from going. Baalim didn’t see the angel but his donkey did. The first time the donkey turned out through a field to avoid the angel and Baalim smote her. The second time the donkey saw the angel, she threw herself into a wall and crushed Baalim’s foot and he hit her again. The third time when she saw the angel in a narrow place with nowhere to turn, she just gave up and fell down under Baalim and refused to go any further. This time he was so angry he hit her with his staff. When he did, the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth and she questioned Baalim as to why he was hitting her. He told her if he had a sword he would kill her. After the donkey reasoned with him a little more, the Lord opened Baalim’s eyes and he saw the angel. When he did, he fell down and repented. The angel fussed at him for hitting the donkey and told him that the donkey was all that stood between him and death. She had saved his life. He then agreed to go back but the angel told him to go on now but only to speak what he was given to speak. To sum this one up, he wound up blessing Israel and cursing Moab three different times. In verse 13, Baalim told the first group ” the Lord refuses to give me leave to go with you.” He then told the second group when they tried to bribe him, “I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God to do less or more.” When he arrived at the camp of Balak he told him that he couldn’t say anything but what God give him to say. If he had of been that obedient to start with, he never would have gotten his foot crushed, made his donkey mad, or angered the Lord or the angel.
It’s really a pretty simple concept. Like I tell my son all the time; “if you do what you’re told when you’re told you’ll never get in trouble.” If I practiced what I preach when it comes to my walk with the Lord, I would never get in trouble. If Baalim had of bothered stopping and talking to his donkey the first time she turned out of the way, I believe God would have opened his eyes then and he would have been a lot better off. If we would just look through SPIRITUAL EYES to see the things of God, we wouldn’t have to learn everything the hard way either. Here is an easy way to remember this scripture; if everything is going wrong, see if you’re going the wrong way. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!