Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from August 24-30 are provided by Kate Moon who serves as a missionary in E. Asia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
2 Kings 13:14: “Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. ‘My father! My father!’ he cried. ‘The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’”
2 Kings 6:15-17: “. . . an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city . . . ‘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.”
Chariots of Fire is one of my favorite movies of all time. I remember first watching it on video and having to turn on the close captioning because I couldn’t understand the dialogue half the time because of their British accents. I loved the line, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure,” and how he was handed a prophetic word before he ran that fateful race, “The man who honors me, I will honor.” I remember my cross country friends in high school putting the theme song on their running mixes and listening to it on their walkmans when they had beach workouts. It was a great movie.
I knew the title was a biblical reference, but I was never that clear nor especially curious about its significance. Now that I think about it, though, it seems rather simple after all. Chariots of fire are not man-made chariots. They are heavenly, God-made chariots. It refers to how victory lies in having God fight our battles, and that He can, and often does, fight on behalf of His people to enable them to achieve amazing victories against all odds.
When Jehoash was king of Israel, the actual chariots and horsemen he had were pitifully few. 2 Kings 13:7 suggests that the army he inherited from his father was around ten chariots, fifty horsemen and ten thousand foot soldiers. Yet God had listened to his father’s cry for favor, and He was preparing to deliver Israel from the hands of a much greater army. Jehoash, knowing it was impossible on their own strength, seeks Elisha’s help and addresses him as “the chariots and horsemen of Israel” in recognition of the fact that the prophet, representing access to God, was where Israel’s true hope and strength lay.
Jehoash was not a model king; he did evil in the eyes of the LORD. We don’t know with what true motives he went to seek Elisha, but one thing he did get right was that he knew where Israel’s help came from. What about us today? Are we willing to seek God’s help or are we still trying to manage with our ten chariots and fifty horsemen? Having our eyes opened and seeing how many are the chariots of fire all around us, are we emboldened to go forth and fight His battles without fear of the enemy?
Prayer: Lord, open the eyes of my heart to see that you are the source of my hope and strength. Help me to see that apart from You, I can do nothing significant for the kingdom, but when You are the One fighting the battle, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 5-6