Perspective Changes Everything (Look Again)

Sermon Summary

This message is the third in a series on finding God's perspective in life. It looks at the Biblical story of Elisha and his servant when surrounded by the Aramean army. The servant only saw the reality of the circumstances, but Elisha prayed for God to open his eyes and then told him to look again. When he did, he saw God's army gathered on the mountainside to protect and that they were indeed greater than the Aramean army. Interestingly enough, while God showed the servant the arsenal at his disposal, God ultimately used other means to accomplish His purpose. Through this story we discover several ways in which to find God's perspective in any situation. The first way is to find a Godly mentor. The second way is to know God's Word. The third way is to talk to God, and the forth way is to look again at our circumstances using the information we've gained to see God's perspective.

Community Group Discussion Guide

 1. Like Elisha's servant, have you ever faced a situation or circumstance in your life where all you could see were the overwhelming odds stacked against you? Explain

2. Have you ever had a mentor in your spiritual life or have you ever been a spiritual mentor for someone else? Discuss the importance of having Godly examples in your life to help you see God's perspective. Paul had a few things to say about mentoring...

1 Tim 4:12
12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
NIV
1 Cor 11:1-2
1:1-2 Follow my example , as I follow the example of Christ. I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the teachings, just as I passed them on to you. NIV

3. In America, we have unrestricted access to the Word of God in the Bible. Most people have at least one printed copy and everyone who has a smart phone or a computer has access to the Bible no matter where they are. However, there is rampant Biblical illiteracy and even those of us who claim to follow Christ many times neglect to see what God's Word has to say about our circumstances and how we should respond. If you believe God's Word could help us gain God's perspective on life, discuss some ways we might become better acquainted with His Word.

Ps 119:27-32
27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts;
then I will meditate on your wonders.
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word.
29 Keep me from deceitful ways;
be gracious to me through your law.
30 I have chosen the way of truth;
I have set my heart on your laws.
31 I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;
do not let me be put to shame.
32 I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
NIV

4. God's Word tells us of His promise to always be with us and to never leave or forsake us! However, even with this knowledge we many times fail to talk with God when faced with a difficult time in our life. As a result we miss seeing God's perspective on our circumstances and may be prone to despair. Elisha told his servant that those who were with them were greater than those who were against them and then he prayed for God to open his servant's eyes. Elisha knew the words King David had written concerning God's ability to overcome great odds. Psalm 3:4-6 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Read the following prayer of David and discuss the four things mentioned that would help us gain the same kind of perspective.

Psalm 25:4-5 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.



Full Sermon Notes

Look Again
2 Kings 6:8-23


"You are light breaking through!"
"You are more than enough!"
"You are strong, You are sure, You are life, You are good!"

We know these things about God, but sometimes knowing them in our head is one thing, but seeing them with our heart is another thing! We can know things about God and believe things about God, but seeing those things with the eyes of our heart can be difficult through the fog of our circumstances! Circumstances and physical realities can be blinding and debilitating! Let's pray and ask God to open the eyes of our hearts so we can get His perspective on life!

Prayer

We're going to be in 2 Kings 6 today. It's in the Old Testament.

Life can be really good! Amen? But, have you ever opened your eyes and looked at the circumstances around you and wondered how did this happen, or thought, "wow, this is bad"? Sometimes things are so bad we just have to get on our knees and cry out to God for help! The amazing thing is this: When we ask to see God's perspective He lets us. Sometimes, He will say look again! Your temptation may be to say, "I don't want to look again, it's bad and I know it's bad!" But once you seek God's perspective He will help you see through a different set of lenses. His lenses! His eyes! His wisdom! His abilities! His resources! His power! His grace! It's a God perspective! Our story today is one such story and from it we will discover what it means to "Look Again!" Here's a little background. Israel was divided into two kingdoms, the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. Around 850 B.C. the Northern Kingdom was at war with the Arameans. Elisha was a prophet of God and had been giving the King of Israel, Joram, information and insight on the movements of the King of Aram. Let's pick up the story right there in 2 Kings 6:8-17...

2 Kings 6:8-17 Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.” The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places. This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?” “None of us, my lord the king ,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” 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.

Essence of the text in a sentence including verses 18-28: Elisha and his servant are in what looks to be a hopeless situation, but God shows them His perspective and allows Elisha to capture the Aramean's alive.
Essence of the sermon in a sentence: Taking a second look at our circumstances with God's perspective is a game changer!
Object of the sermon in a sentence: We need to develop our ability to see things from God's perspective.
Probing Question: How do we develop our ability to see things from God's perspective?
Unifying Word: Ways
Transitional Sentence: Let's look at the ways we can develop our ability to see things from God's perspective.

One way is to find a Godly mentor!
A second way is to know God's Word!
Another way is to Pray!
A final way is to take a second look!


Finding a
Godly Mentor

Elisha had been a servant to the great prophet Elijah! Elijah had been instructed by God to mentor Elisha. We're going to talk about Elijah next week. Elisha had learned so much from Elijah and now he had taken in a servant and was teaching him. Sometimes the best way to see God's perspective is to talk to someone who has been around the block a time or two and learned life lessons. I don't think it's unimportant that Elisha had been a servant of Elijah and that the person Elisha was mentoring was called a servant. A person who wants God's perspective has got to humble themselves and admit they don't have all the answers! You've got to have a teachable spirit. A servant heart and a teachable mind go hand in hand! The Psalmist said this in Psalm 119:124-125

Psalm 119:124-125 Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

And then we are told this in proverbs...

Proverbs 1:5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—

Proverbs 9:9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.

Proverbs 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

It just makes good sense to surround yourself with Godly people who can teach you what they've already learned! You won't find any perfect people and a good mentor will tell you at the start they don't always get it right. If your mentor is not a humble person, get another mentor right away! A good mentor will invite questions and dialogue. While a good mentor is not perfect and will readily admit that, and may even be reluctant to be a mentor because they may not feel qualified, but when you're choosing a mentor or mentors, you do need to look at their life, their actions, their attitudes, their consistency, their faithfulness, their accomplishments, their track record, etc.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Let me say this: You may find someone who within the last few years has made a complete 180 in their life and though their previous track record was not good, if they are now living a new life in Christ, they may be able to teach you from the mistakes they made in the past. Don't ignore what that person has to teach you! God can help you get His perspective by learning from someone else's mistakes as well as their accomplishments. And I'm going to help you learn from someone else's mistakes right now. How many of you, before today, ever heard of Elisha the prophet? How about his mentor Elijah? Ok, how about Gehazi? Didn't think so! That was Elisha's servant and he became prideful and thought he knew more than Elisha and began doing some evil and dishonest things in the name of Elisha and lost his opportunity to serve as one of God's prophets. Seeing God's perspective is not only about finding a mentor, but remaining teachable! Especially when it comes to God's Word!

One of the most important things when it comes to being able to see things from God's perspective is knowing His Word.

Knowing God's Word

2 Kings 6:15-16 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

While Elisha did not directly quote from Scripture, it's obvious he was trying to get his servant to remember what other men of God had said in their not to distant past. Listen to David's words in the Psalms…Like Psalm 3:4-6 and Psalm 27:1-6...

Psalm 3:4-6 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill. Selah I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.

Now that's seeing things from God's perspective…"I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side!" I hate to admit this but sometimes it only takes one person coming against me to get me down and discouraged. I'm I the only one like that? Well, what we have to do is know God's Word, His truth. David put it this way in Psalm 27:1-6...

Psalm 27:1-6 The LORD is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;  he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.

The Psalmist David mentioned the house of the Lord, the temple, God's dwelling, and the tabernacle. The temple was to be built at Jerusalem but would not be built by David, but by his son Solomon. The tabernacle was a sacred tent, portable. The Israelites had used that when they were wondering in the wilderness.
The point David was making, I believe, is that his desire was to have the dwell in the presence of God no matter where he found himself physically and if God's presence was with him then he would never have to fear one or ten thousand, a single battle or a war. And if Elisha's servant had only remembered the words of David in the famous song Psalm 23...

Psalm 23:4-6 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

When we know God's Word and that it promises God's presence to be with us no matter what, then we see a new picture, a new perspective! Now, I know it's not always easy to see that perspective. So there's another important way to get that God perspective on things. If you know He's present with you, it's a no brainer, but we need to talk to Him!

Talk to God

2 Kings 6:17a And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” ...

Elisha talked to God and asked Him to open the eyes of his servant! It's amazing how many people say they believe in God, believe His promise to never leave them or forsake them, believe He lives in their hearts and has saved them, but when they face life's battles and hardships, they may say like Elisha's servant, "Oh my Lord, what shall we do?" But that's about the extent of their praying. Folks we need to talk to God if we want God's perspective on the things we face. We need to ask God to open our eyes and show us what we need to see. And what is it we need to see? We need to see the reality of His power, His protection, His provision, His Grace, His presence, His Holy Spirit living in us and surrounding us with everything we need to be victorious! If we don't see those things we'll be stuck in our weak, human perspective and the enemy will defeat us. I fight that battle all the time. I don't know why after 40 plus years of walking with Jesus and Him never letting me down or failing me, it's still so hard to trust Him and so easy to cry out in fear, "Oh my Lord, what shall we do?" Let's just change that a little bit. How about we go with something like this...

Psalm 25:4-5 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

What a great outline for your conversation with God!

1. Show me Your Ways
2. Teach me Your Paths
3. Guide me in Your Truth
4. You are God my Savior and my Hope

Show Me Your Ways

"God, please show me how to love like You Love!"
"God, please give me the words You would say to diffuse this situation!"
"God, please give me the words You would say to encourage this person!"
"God, please give me the ability to forgive like you forgive!"
"God, please give me the patience to wait for them like You waited on me!"

How do we do those things? We pray and ask God to show us His ways! David put it this way in Psalm 119:15-18

Psalm 119:15-18 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Do good to your servant, and I will live; I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

Teach Me Your Paths

"God please teach me Your path for my life, for my situation, for my circumstances! Show me how to walk in your ways, by walking the path you have chosen for me. Light my path! I have a lot of ideas of where I need to go and what I need to do, and what I should seek to accomplish, but I'm asking you to teach me your paths!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 4:18-19 puts it this way...

"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

Guide me in Your Truth

There's a lot of stuff out there posing as truth. We need for the Lord to guide us with His truth! I've said it before, there is truth and there is false! It amazes me that in every school of thought people accept standards, foundations, basic truth which they then build on. People accept absolutes in math, in medicine, in physics, in science, but when it comes to religion, they say it doesn't matter what you believe. That kind of thinking will keep you from knowing or even seeking truth! If we want God's perspective we must seek His truth! Listen to John 8:31-32

John 8:31-32 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

You are God my Savior and my Hope

When you're talking to God, acknowledge that His is your Savior and your hope! This will bring a perspective to your life that is powerful. Every time you acknowledge that He is your Savior and your hope you remind yourself that salvation doesn't depend on you, but on God and that your hope is in God's mercy rather than your ability to live up to the law! Believe me, you need that perspective!

Once you begin developing these ways of seeing things from God's perspective you can take a second look at your life and circumstances and finally see what God wants you to see. It happened with Elisha's servant...

Look Again

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” 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.

Here's the deal, there's just some things you can't see with your physical eyes and if you aren't willing to look again with spiritual eyes that have been opened by God then you will be hopelessly stuck in your human perspective. But all who are willing to have their perspective changed and who are willing to look again at their life and circumstances will find a blessed hope and a future that is God-sized! This doesn't mean that you won't ever have difficulties and struggles, but God will help you get through every one of them.

After Elisha's servant saw the vision of God's ability to defeat and destroy the enemy, guess what happened? You might think God sent His chariots of fire and destroyed the enemy, right? It's pretty amazing what happened and sometimes God will surprise you at how He works things out. Just so you know, it many times flies in the face of human reasoning...

2 Kings 6:18-23 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. After they entered the city, Elisha said, “LORD, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?” “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

What do you think would have happened if King Joram would have been allowed to slay them? Probably retaliatory attacks and years more of fighting, but because of the way God handled things, the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel's territory.
God's way may not make sense from a human perspective, but we desire to see things from God's perspective. Let's pray!