I love the story of Elisha opening the eyes of his servant in 2 Kings 6. It is such a beautiful picture that the primary problem for both believers and unbelievers is the same—blindness.
1. The Blindness of the Believer
Even though we might try to deny it, believers are just as susceptible to spiritual blindness as unbelievers. So when Elisha’s servant saw the size of the army arrayed around him, he panics. He was blind to the presence of the God who was fighting for him and the size of the army that he fought with.
What Elisha’s servant was really blind to was the goodness of God. He might have claimed that God was mighty to save, but in the moment of his greatest need, he lost sight of that. So instead of praying for strength, Elisha prays for vision. And his servant’s eyes are opened to see the armies of God’s love surrounding the murderous hoards of Arameans.
When you are afraid, you need clearer vision. That is Paul prays that the Ephesians “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses all knowledge” (Eph 3:18–20). This is actually rather uncharacteristic for the usually articulate Paul: he loses his words. The love of God is so magnificent that Paul cannot explain it, so he prays that our eyes would be opened to it—to its length, height, breadth, and depth.
How long is God’s love? Paul says that God has set his love on those whom he loves from all eternity (Eph 1:4). If you are a child of God, there has never been a time when God did not know you and love you. Before you were even born he had determined to set his love on you. He chose us not because we were lovely; we became lovely because he chose us.
How high is God’s love? David says that God’s love is “as high as the heavens are above the earth” (Psalm 103:11). Have you ever looked at the stars? The outer edge of the universe, according to astrophysicists, is 15.5 billion light-years away. Light-years! And that is the measure of God’s love for his people. If that seems incomprehensible, it’s because it’s virtually unimaginable.
How wide is God’s love? Wide enough that it controls all things. As Elisha’s story shows us, there are thousands upon thousands of angels surrounding every square inch of this planet. What if we really believed that? Wouldn’t every job application, every disappointment, every broken relationship look different?
How deep is God’s love? Deep enough to reach into the lowest hell to save us. As Paul says, it’s rare for someone to die for a good person, but God shows his love for us in that Christ died for us while we were still ungodly (Rom 5:6–8). No matter how deep our sin is, his love is deeper still.
It can be difficult to see God’s love sometimes, but as John Calvin said, the cross is our “spectacles of faith.” It brings otherwise blurry situations into the sharp focus of God’s love.
2. The Blindness of the Unbelievers
The believer in 2 Kings 6 is blind to God’s goodness, but as it turns out, so is the invading Aramean army. Elisha prays for blindness, but the fact that the army continues on its mission shows that this is more of a delusion than a literal lack of vision.
What is the delusion of unbelievers? It is thinking that God is the enemy, and that if they can just capture God—or in this case, his prophet—their problems would end. But Elisha confounds them and leads them to a position of complete vulnerability. And then he does something absolutely surprising: he gives them a feast and lets them go. They expected an onslaught of judgment, but were given a feast of grace.
Many people today are under the same delusion these soldiers were under. They think that God is their adversary, that his rules are bad and restrictive, that he doesn’t care about them. And in all of this, they think they are seeing clearly. They don’t see that God desperately wants to shower them with grace.
Like these Aramean soldiers, they think they will find what they’re looking for by capturing some earthly attainment—a job, a relationship, a certain salary or level of fame. But just like in this story, they will only find what they are looking for when they are captured by God.
Both believer and unbeliever alike need to see a fresh glimpse of God’s love. That one look will do more than 10,000 practical points or doctrinal lessons. I pray that God would open our eyes, that we would see the feast of grace that he has poured out for us—not merely a feast of bread and wine, but one of his very body and blood.
For more, be sure to listen to the entire sermon here.