Lord of Hosts
The King of Aram was at war with Israel. He thought he had a traitor in his camp, because each time he moved to a new location, Israel would be ready for him. But the intel was not from a traitor. Elisha, the prophet of Israel's God, would tell the King of Israel where Aram was going to attack.
So the King of Aram deployed his army at the town of Dothan to capture or kill Elisha. Elisha's servant got up the next morning and saw the town surrounded by Aram's army. He asked Elisha, "What shall we do?"
Elisha's response was, "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (2 Kings 6:16) Then Elisha prayed for the Lord to open his servant's eyes. And unseen realities were revealed to Elisha's servant. Second Kings 6:17 says, "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."
The Lord of Hosts has more at His disposal than we can see with our physical eyes. Elyssa Smith wrote the song made popular by Michael W Smith, Surrounded (This is How I Fight My Battles). In the song, she picks up on the image of Elisha and his servant and the King of Aram at Dothan: "It may look like I'm surrounded, but I'm surrounded by You."
Sometimes it feels like we're surrounded, doesn't it? Surrounded by forces bigger than ourselves. Surrounded by storms we can neither control nor make stop. Surrounded by a culture that seems to be plunging headlong into partisan bickering and Godlessness. Surrounded by a virus that has caused death, isolation and fear. Surrounded by racial tensions.
"It may look like I'm surrounded, but I'm surrounded by You." Elisha was right. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." The Lord of Hosts has neither forsaken us nor given up the throne of the universe.
Elisha's servant's question, spoken to God in faith and not dismay, is the right one. What shall we do?
In the face of COVID-19 we can reengage work and school and church with precautions like sanitizing, hand-washing and masks to limit the spread of the disease. And we can pray for those affected by it, and for doctors and scientists who seek both effective treatments and a vaccine.
In response to the racial tensions at the forefront of our nation we can ask God to eradicate any vestiges of bias and prejudice from our own hearts and have caring conversations with persons of color, hearing their stories and offering them friendship in the face of any bigotry they have experienced.
And we can pray to the Lord of Hosts. We can trust in the One who has surrounded the forces that have us surrounded. As believing Christians, we can live out the holy love that entered our hearts when Jesus came in to forgive our sin.
What shall we do? We will live for Jesus as ambassadors of reconciliation to God and to each other. We will not fear. We will not panic. We will not give up or give in.
Lord of Hosts, Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. And let it begin in my heart. So be it.