Recovering your spiritual effectiveness  

The scene is set                                                                                                                    
Here are a couple of blunt questions:  Have you lost your cutting edge?  Do you long to get it back again? If so, then 2 Kings 6:1-7 offers you hope and some ‘how to’ counsel.

The cast in the drama may conjure up the image of a Bible school and its fatherly principal.  ‘Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us.  Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go,” Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, ‘I will go.” So he went with them.”’ (2 Kings 6:1-4a).

Presently one student/disciple had a personal problem, but in a corporate setting – indicated by the plurals emphasised in the text above.

The double dilemma   
‘And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed”’ (2 Kings 6:4b-5).

Elisha lived in the city of Samaria (2 Kings 2:25). But for timber the group had to go into the location of the trees. And to fish successfully Jesus’ disciples had to ‘launch into the deep’ far from the lake’s shore. These disciples even wanted to ‘make a place to dwell there(2 Kings 6:2).

One tree feller met with a double dilemma: his axe head not only lay buried in the river, but he would need to render an account of his plight to its owner, because it was borrowed’ (2 Kings 6:2), as ‘each of us will’ also have to ‘give account of himself to God’ (Romans 14:12).

The simple solution                                                                                                             
How do we tend to handle a crisis? The hysterical among us may panic; the placid say, ‘That’s fate’; the determined keep bashing away with the handle; the dishonest ‘borrow’ any axe lying around unused. This disciple prayed, was heard and told what to do:

[] ‘Where did it fall?’ (2 Kings 6:6a). You will recapture your cutting edge exactly where you lost it!

[] ‘When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float’ (2 Kings 6:6b) – a symbolic action foreshadowing our Saviour who ‘was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of … people’ (Isaiah 53:8). And the ‘iron’ did not merely ‘float’, it ‘did swim’ (King James Version) – the Hebrew verb means ‘overflowing’, like the waves of the Red Sea (Deuteronomy 11:4; Lamentations 3:54). This axe head is no longer inertly stuck in the mud but looks animated, propelled by some unseen angel hand.

[] As the grateful borrower perhaps applauded in his excitement, calling out: ‘Look everyone!’ the man of God prompted him: ‘“Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it’ (2 Kings 6:7).

P.S.   The two Hebrew words for ‘dwell’ 2 Kings 6:1-2) are restful (‘lie down’ and ‘sit’).

*‘Let us’ like them ‘strive to enter … rest’ (Hebrews 4:11); then ‘take up’ where we left off .

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