Today, we’re excited to bring you a week of articles for the GMBA Virtual Camp-in. Today, GMBA President Brother Lucas Martorana introduces the theme, which is “Surrounded.”
If you watched the welcome video for the GMBA Camp-in, then you heard a reference to a Bible story that (in my opinion) perfectly captures the theme, “Surrounded.”
2 Kings 6 tells the story of the mighty Syrian army encompassing (surrounding) the Israelite city of Dothan. Elisha and his servant are in Dothan. As the sun rises and Elisha’s servant exits his tent, wipes the sleep out of his eyes, and as his vision comes to focus, he sees horses and chariots mounted with Syrian soldiers in every direction. Rotating north, east, south, and west—Israel has no escape and seemingly no option.
The servant runs to share the obvious intel with Elisha, whose response is surprising—well, maybe not completely surprising, as he has established a reputation of being in direct, daily conversation with God.
Elisha’s response: “Don’t fear. We outnumber them!” More poetically, “Those that are for us are greater than those that are against us.”
In addition to Elisha encouraging his servant with perspective, he also prays that God will open his servant’s eyes.
The servant goes back out a second time and sees another new army of horses, chariots, and warriors, this time ignited in holy flames. Could that be the same fire that led Moses and Israel by night out of captivity, the same fire that cleanses the soul today? Yes, it was, surrounding the Syrian army.
“When it looks like I’m surrounded,
I’m surrounded by You.
This is how I fight my battles.”
As the Syrian army approaches, Elisha asks God to strike them blind. Enter God of Israel: Every single Syrian soldier loses his sight. The blinded leader approaches Elisha and asks if he knows of this prophet of God (who they are attempting to capture or kill). Elisha offers to assist these soldiers and they march right to the king of Israel. The king is well aware of Elisha’s relationship with God and trusts Elisha. The conversation makes me laugh, The king of Israel turns to Elisha and asks, “What do we do now? Kill them? Imprison them?”
In verses 19–22 Elisha doesn’t seem to hesitate when he responds to the king with, “Feed them.”
Wait…what? Whoa, the army who came to capture you, kill you, steal your land, food, shelter, riches is now blind and in your control…and you want to do what?!
But the king of Israel has learned to follow the prophet of God’s instruction. They prepare a feast, fill the soldiers’ bellies, and send them home. Upon the return to Syria, the full report is given. Verse 23 says the “bands of Syria came no more into the land of Israel.” Israel had peace.
There are many analogies here, I’ll share my four takeaways:
Sometimes we “wake up” to something completely different than what we expected.
Just like Elisha’s servant, there are days we “wake up” to being surrounded by something we didn’t want, plan for, or know how to handle. Job loss, sickness, failed tests, strained relationships, rejection, despair, the list goes on and on. We can relate to this servant. And, this servant gives us a good example—where does he go? To the closest man of God he knows.
When it looks like you’re surrounded, go to God. Don’t think you can? Go to someone who you think is close to God. Maybe they will have the wisdom to pray God opens your eyes.
It may look like I’m surrounded. But I’m surrounded by You.
The story leads you to conclude that Elisha is a step ahead of his servant. He has already seen something his servant has not, “Lord, open his eyes, that he may see.” Elisha saw already what his servant did not. God was right there with them.
When you feel surrounded by the enemy, pray for perspective to see beyond the natural, physical, fleshly surroundings, and see the spiritual surrounding you. The results—comfort and peace, deliverance and protection.
The way to peace is not in doing something different. It’s in doing something better.
And sometimes it’s crazy and uncomfortable! The idea of feeding those who have come to destroy you is hard to imagine today. I would venture a guess that the majority of us reading this have never been chased down to be captured or killed. Here we see a response that was years (hundreds of years) before their time. That’s the love of God, that’s the Spirit of God.
Jesus said, “Turn the other cheek.” Jesus said, “Pray for your enemies.” Jesus said, “Give them your coat, too.” He did this for us…neverending grace and mercy. You want to change a life, you want to change a mind, then don’t try to do something different. Do something better. (And don’t underestimate the power of sharing a meal.)
Once you’ve been with God (and the people of God) you get a reputation.
The king of Israel is confronted several times in this story where he actively chooses to trust, obey, and act on the advice and message from God. Elisha had a reputation as a man of God, a prophet of God. That may seem an impossible and intimidating title for us today, but when you read the stories of Elisha, you discover it was one faith-filled decision to listen to God at a time. The consistent process was to pray, listen, share, act, praise, repeat. You do that, we do that, a reputation is formed, and people trust us, become drawn to us, and we will simply point them to the source—Jesus.
Don’t Miss a Thing!
The GMBA has worked hard to bring us a full slate of virtual content this week. Here’s an overview of everything you need to know for the Camp-in.
Here are a few more links to keep handy:
GMBA Camp home page (the hub for all things camp)
GMBA YouTube channel (where you can find all recorded video content)
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.