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'Chariots of fire'

Perhaps today many more would know ''Chariots of Fire'' as the title of a film than would recognize the dramatic Bible story telling of them. In the latter, Elisha, a prophet, warned the king of Israel of the Syrian king's plans for his destruction. The frustrated Syrian king suspected a palace spy, but a servant told him Elisha knew even what he spoke in his bedchamber. So the king of Syria sent an army to Dothan to capture Elisha, encircling the city by night. At dawn Elisha's servant saw the surrounding troops and cried, ''Alas, my master! how shall we do?'' Undisturbed, Elisha prayed for the young man's eyes to be opened. They were! He saw that ''the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.'' The Syrians, temporarily blinded in answer to Elisha's prayer, were led by the prophet himself right into the king of Israel's grasp. The king, heeding Elisha, fed them well and let them go. Result: The Syrian raids ceased for a period. n1

n1 See II Kings 6:8-23

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This account reminds one vividly of Christ Jesus' words when he was taken captive in Gethsemane and refused the help of those who had swords: ''Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?'' n2 Clearly, both Jesus and Elisha were aware of a spiritual dimension that modern man desperately needs to understand. Jesus' resurrection fully demonstrated this spiritual reality and its unbroken harmony.

n2 Matthew 26:53

Faced with the 1945 Rhine crossing, potentially very dangerous, a company commander knew his battle-weary men were fearful. Help was badly needed. What else could he do but pray and listen for divine direction? His pocket edition of the Bible opened at the account of a river crossing that exactly fit the circumstances of the moment. Those who took part in it were promised safety if they trusted in the Lord. He has never since been able to locate the exact chapter and verse, but he read it to his men and went on to say, ''We are all Christians; we put our trust in Almighty God. That must mean no bullet, bomb, or shell has real power.'' He had meant to add only, ''As we go into battle, hang on to that.'' But to his amazement he heard himself say, ''and not one of us will be killed.'' And in that crossing not one was; neither did his company kill anyone. The chariots of God's love and power were there.

Humanity today is menaced by colossal stockpiles of horrendous weapons. Faced with international ''high noon'' situations, where peace negotiations seem to lead only to even more weaponry, millions ask, ''Alas, how shall we do?''

Christians may not do much for the world by continually importuning God to send peace and waiting fearfully, and perhaps not too hopefully, for Him to decide to do so. Wouldn't much more be achieved by realizing that chariots of fire and legions of angels are always round about us all? Mortal eyes cannot see them, but each of us is potentially a spiritual seer - one who discerns the spiritual reality of God's care and man's safety, existing where the nightmare scenes of mortal existence seem to be.

Everyone who really knows and absolutely trusts the one Almighty God helps to prove that ''God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power.'' n3 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes that Bible-based, forthright statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book that consistently reveals what the power of God, understood, always does.

n3 Science and Health, p. 473

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Chariots of fire and legions of angels come in many forms according to the need of those who look and listen for them. They provide that spiritual intuition, far above human wisdom, that enables truth to preempt and defeat untruth, instead of racing in what often seems to be a futile effort to catch up with it. Friend and foe alike benefit from the divine wisdom and power that transcend human wisdom and animal courage. Under divine wisdom and power, swords - even atomic bombs - can really be made into plowshares. n4

n4 See Isaiah 2:4

The Apostle Paul knew where the battle line really is. He wrote, ''The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.'' n5

n5 IICorinthians 10:4

All other ways have failed, but God's chariots of fire are unfailing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of this law Psalms 119:18

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