1. More than Material

Ways of Seeing Meditations: 1. More than Material

2 Kings 6:17 Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that 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 round Elisha.”

A New Day: Writing in the latter part of 2020, the year of the Coronavirus Pandemic, a theme that has been coming from heaven throughout lockdown, I believe, has been what have we learnt in this time, specifically what have we learnt about how we view everything as God’s children?

More than Material: As I listen to and watch Christians, I fear the reality is that so much of the time it is common for believers to speak the right words but actually, in their minds there is a struggle to grasp the truth that I wish to convey in this first study – that we are a people who purport to believe in God and a spiritual world and that implies a world that is so much more than just a material world. And why is this? I think there are two obvious reasons.

Causes of Unbelief: Strangely the first one is our submission to science as we know it. I looked up a definition of science and found, “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Do you see that limitation, the word ‘physical’? When you look up a definition of ‘physical’ you find, “relating to things perceived through the senses as opposed to the mind; tangible or concrete,” but actually that is untrue. The word ‘senses’ here (sorry for all the definitions here but we need them if we are to be clear in our thinking) implies the physical senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, and yet most open people will acknowledge that the mind (excluded in the second definition above) has the ability to sense things. Researchers talk about ‘gut instincts’ and the sense of uncertainty and one group of researchers suggested that the mind is able to sense magnetic fields, and although there is a clear link between the five senses and the brain, the use of the word ‘mind’ takes us beyond a material assessment of what goes on in our heads. The Bible introduces the word ‘spirit’ implying an internal sense that is alert to a ‘spiritual’ or unseen world, the world of God (who is Spirit – Jn 4:24), of angels, demons, powers and principalities (Eph 6:12) in “the heavenly realms”. The evidence around the world and throughout history of a dimension beyond the material of physical is extensive – but science largely ignores it.

The second reason I believe many believers struggle in this realm, is that in the past fifty years with the explosion of science and technology (mostly for our good but potentially also harmful at times) we have become very material conscious. We hold, touch, use, watch material products in ways that would leave our ancestors of even just a hundred years ago, utterly amazed, yet we now take these things for granted. We live and experience the ‘material world’ more than any previous generation of mankind.

The Christian Experience: From the moment we bow the knee to God and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we move into life experiences that initially have material expressions – reading the Bible, speaking in prayer, singing in worship, attending church – but soon take on an awareness of the reality of the fuller world we have entered. We pray and things happen that are beyond coincidence. Things happen that strongly suggest the hand of God intervening and changing us, others and circumstances. The more we learn of God’s word, the Bible, the more we see indications of this ‘fuller world’ as I would prefer to call it, the world that is both material and spiritual. And in a sense, that is what this series is all about.

Elisha’s Servant: In 2 Kings 6, (you need to read the whole chapter) we have this delightful story of Elisha’s servant. To just pick out the key points, they are staying in the walled city of Dothan, a city in the centre of Israel, and when the servant gets up in the morning and wanders up onto the city walls, he finds the city surrounded by enemy soldiers. He hurriedly tells Elisha who prayed, Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see,” having just declared, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” and then, “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.” (v.17) The truth was that the armies of heaven, infinitely more powerful than any human army were there on their side!

And Us?  We live in a physical world with a hidden spiritual dimension, but it is a vital truth that the enemy would seek to keep God’s people from seeing.  As we go through this series, pray and ask the Lord every day to open your eyes to His presence and the reality of His hidden kingdom, that is being brought by His hidden power at the instigation of Jesus (see Psa 110:1,2 & 1 Cor 15:24,25). He rules! THAT is the truth! We may not be able to see it with our physical eyes, but with His help you can in your spirit. Amen.

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