READ: 2 Kings 5-6:23
THINK: In October of 1415 England’s King Henry V had conquered the part of France to which he felt he rightly had title. He was marching his army, tired and thinned out from the long period of fighting to the port at Calais where they could sail home for the winter. The French, looking to take advantage of Henry’s weary and depleted force, decided to block his path to the coast. The English had about 7,000 men. The French amassed a force of over 35,000. On the night of Thursday, October 24 the English made camp at Agincourt. And their king walked among his men and found that they were scared. They knew that they were vastly outnumbered and that they had almost no chance to ever see their homes again. But this attitude did not suit the king so he gathered his army and made a speech. The exact details of that speech are not known, though William Shakespeare imagined it something like this:
And Crispin Crispian [November 25 – St. Crispin’s Day] shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
Whether those were the words he spoke – or even close – the accounts from the English soldiers let us know that Henry V spoke with great confidence to his men that night. He spoke with great confidence because he saw something that they didn’t. They saw a massive fighting force that outnumbered them 5-1. Their king saw thousands of archers armed with one of the deadliest weapon the world had ever known to that point – the English longbow. They saw only their future attackers. Their king saw all of their past victories.
The French attacked on Saint Crispin’s Day, the morning of October 25, 1415. Henry V, unlike the French king, led his men into the battle. By the end of the day less than 150 English were dead and the field at Agincourt was piled high with over 10,000 French casualties. Henry V and his men not only won the battle, they won the war that day. The king of France, Charles VI, pledged his daughter in marriage to Henry V and the two nations lived in peace for the rest of his lifetime.
2 Kings 6 tells a similar story. The king of Syria is desperately trying to capture Elisha because he is sick and tired of Elisha playing a key role in foiling his military plans. So he surrounds the city of Dothan where Elisha is staying during the night so that Elisha won’t try to escape. In the morning, Elisha’s servant woke up, walked outside for some fresh air, took a look around, and totally freaked out. Who wouldn’t? Take a second to put yourself in his shoes. Imagine knowing that your work is dangerous – that this prophet guy is someone who a few powerful people want dead – and then walking outside and seeing a massive and powerful army completely surrounding you and just waiting to kill you and kill your boss. I think I would have wet my pants – or dress or tunic or whatever. But Elisha is calm. He’s calm because he sees something that the servant doesn’t see. He sees the very army of God and confidently declares to his servant that “those who are with us are greater than those who are with them.” And when he prays, God opens up the servant’s eyes. Now, imagine again what that experience must have been like. I can’t even wrap my mind around it. It would have been totally jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring amazing.
Here’s the thing I hope that all of us remember as we step away from this passage today: our God is totally jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring amazing. There are so many things in life – both big and small – that cause us to fear and to lose heart. There are so many times when we lack courage and boldness. There are so many times when our insecurity, anxiety, and dread get the best of us and prevent us from living the kind of lives that God created us for and calls us to. We are so scared of the world and all of the big bad people in it that we cower in fear. But the ones with us are greater than the ones with them! We have less than zero reason to be afraid of anything in this world because our God is sovereign and he is in control and he is powerful and mighty to save. Whenever we fell fearful we simply need to look through a different lens. We need to see that very thing which our fear is blinding us to – God. Then, like the English at Agincourt and Elisha’s servant at Dothan, our fears will melt away. When we see the world through God’s eyes we see nothing that causes us to fear.
PRAY: Confess your fears and your insecurities and your anxieties to God. Turn them over to him and ask him to help you trust that he is totally and completely sovereign.