We just finished a sermon series on some of the Old Testament prophets: Elisha, Amos and Hosea. These men, and others like them, were much sought after in ancient Israel. People listened to them because they wanted to know, “Is there a word from the Lord?” Folks then believed the prophets had special insights into the heavenly realms—God’s space—that others did not. The words of the prophets pulled back the veil separating the two worlds: the earth below and the heaven above. Through the prophets, God revealed another reality—God’s preferred future for God’s people.
By now, most everyone has heard of the wildly popular cell phone-based game Pokemon-Go. The game requires players to go to different sites on a map where they find Pokemon (imaginative cartoon creatures), and capture them using their cellphone cameras. This type of game is known as “augmented reality” because it enables people to operate in two worlds: the virtual world of the game and the real world. With Pokemon-Go, you get to see into another reality.
The wild popularity of “augmented reality” in Pokemon-Go reminded me of one of the stories involving the prophet Elisha. Israel was at war with its neighbor, the Kingdom of Aram. Elisha had been warning the King of Israel about the movements of the Aramean army, so the King of Aram sent troops to capture the prophet in the town of Dothan.
When Elisha’s servant awoke one morning and saw the enemy’s horses and chariots encompassing the town, he cried out to Elisha, “Oh no, my Lord! What shall we do?” Elisha answered: “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” Elisha prayed for God to open the eyes of his servant and then he saw the hills were filled with horses and chariots of fire all around. In the end, God enabled Elisha and his servant to walk through the enemy lines to freedom.
Elisha’s story reminds us that there is another reality at work in our world. It’s the spiritual realm, the Kingdom of God that has come near in Jesus Christ. Like the Pokemon-Go game, we cannot see the “augmented reality” of God’s world all the time. But through Jesus, the veil is drawn back, the reality of God’s mercy and grace are revealed, and we can glimpse the glory of the living God.
“Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see,” the prophet Elisha prayed for his servant. Jesus opened the eyes of the blind—the eyes of those who were physically as well as spiritually blind. And they saw the glory of the Lord. May we live with eyes that are open to the reality of the living God in our lives.
Remember, too, that no matter what struggles you are going through in life, “there are more with us than there are with them.”
You can read the story about Elisha in the Bible, 2 Kings 6:11-23.