Have you noticed that some cities are completely fanatical about their sporting teams? Where I live, in Adelaide South Australia, we are completely balmy about our Australian Rules football team, The Crows. It is a well documented fact that the Crows have the greatest membership base of all 18 clubs in the competition.
Our local sporting ground, "Footy Park,' seats 51 515 people. Imagine on game day how daunting it must be for the opposing team to hear the screams and applause of 40 000 or so local supporters as our team runs out onto the field, the iconic red, yellow and navy blue dominating the stadium on all sides. And then, during the game, there's the constant cheering and encouragement from young and old, "You can do it!" "Come on!" "Great try, you can get it back mate!" Oh yeah, there's nothing better than having the home ground advantage. In fact the support of the members is considered so important by the Club's players, coaches and management that they instigated a "nineteenth man" campaign, referring to the members as a "powerful weapon" in the team's success. (1)
When I think about the way we support our team, it reminds me of one of my all-time favourite Scripture passages in 2 Kings 6. The king of Aram was at war with Israel's king. Every time the Aramean king chose a place to set up camp, the Lord would 'tip off' the prophet Elisha, who would immediately inform Israel's king. The King of Aram became quite cranky about the Israeli king always dodging his advances and, on discovering the troublemaker Elisha's whereabouts, sent out his lackies to capture him and his servant,
When 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 no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 2 Kings 6:15 NIV
It seems like a reasonable question to me; quite frankly I don't know that I would have hung around to wait for Elisha's answer, but the servant does wait, and what an answer he is given,
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Now this is the work of an awesome and almighty God! Keep reading, though, it gets better...
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that 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. 2 Kings 6:16-17 NIV
No matter how many times I read this I get goosebumps. "Don't be afraid." It's so easy to say it, but in reality it can be so hard to keep fighting the good fight. Our battles can seem so overwhelmingly hard and the chances of coming out unscathed, let alone victorious, are so small that sometimes we just want to run away, give up, surrender even...but, if we just hold on, and believe, and pray for God to open our eyes we will see that we are not fighting the battle alone! The number of unseen heavenly servants supporting us and cheering us on far exceeds any battalion of evil we may be facing; if the enemy sends one against us, we'll have more. Ten, we'll have more. One thousand? Hallelujah, we'll have more! For the size of the enemy's army is irrelevant; in the presence of the Lord God almighty, they will always be outnumbered, many times over.
I can think of no greater encouragement to believers today than this; no matter what we are facing in life, even if it feels hopeless - and remember, the enemy's greatest weapon is lies and deceit - we are not alone. If we turn our eyes to the Lord and ask for His truth and wisdom, just like Elisha's servant, we too will see the glorious heavenly army of our God, our very own spiritual "powerful weapon" that cannot be defeated. We may not see them with our physical eyes, but that's fine; it's our spiritual sight which, upon seeing the truth of our Lord, brings peace to our hearts, that does indeed transcend all human understanding.
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