Am I Using Faulty Tools?
2 Kings 6:1-7
The simple things or actions during our Christian walk of faith are just as important as with the things that seem major.
Elisha has now succeeded Elijah as a prophet to the Northern Kingdom (2 Kings 2:1-18). He has by now already prophesied and God has performed a few miracles through him. But now we will see something peculiar, he makes an axe head float. This situation shows how God cares for His children and how He can provide for them in the little things of life. We also learn of Elisha’s interaction with everyday people. We cannot forget where we came from and do not become so engaged with the act of service that we forget the reason and to whom we serve.
In verse 1-3:
Here we see a few students (sons of prophets). The students wanted to go build a new place to study in because where they were at was beginning to get too small. This may be due to an increase in the number of students. They even decided to build the new school themselves. Not only that, but they also wanted Elisha to go with them.
So, what does these few verses tell us? Well, I do not know for certain, but I would think that Elisha was a teacher here (2 Kings 4:38) and it seems that he was somewhat popular because the students wanted him to go with them as they built a new school. These men were willing to work and not just sit idly by and wait for a new school to be built. There is work that needs to be done in the service for the Lord. Not all of us will do the same type of work, but we all have our part in God’s service.
His popularity may have come from the miracles that had been performed and the people could tell that he was a man of God. He not only showed this in his speech but in his daily walk. It would behoove many professing Christians today to not only talk the talk but to walk the walk more so.
In verses 4-7:
There are quite a few questions that will be asked during this next section. We see that as they came to Jordan, they began to labor. But suddenly, one man’s axe head came off the handle and fell into the water. He started stressing, “What am I to do?” Was it because it was not his tool? Why did he borrow it anyway? Did he not have his own tools? Being as he was a student, I would suspect that the man could not afford to have much. Or maybe, someone saw something in the man and trusted him with the tool.
Why did axe head fall off? Were the tools not properly prepared or was it just a coincidence? Where did it fall? What happened after it fell off, the work stopped. The man then calls for Elisha. The man knew to who to call for. Does the scripture say anything about Elisha rebuking the student for being careless or for not having his own tool? No, he simply went to help. What a miracle to happen. God looks at the small things just as much as the big things.
You see, the axe head laid on the bottom of the river. It was raised up, restored, replaced, and then put back to work again. If we look at this another way, Elisha reaches down, places a stick in the water, which compels the axe head to come forth, it was fixed and was ready to be used. That is what Christ has done for us. We were down in the mire, we were dirty, we were filthy, and we were uncleaned. Christ gave Himself for us so that we could be made clean.
What do we do when something like this happens to us? Has God trusted us with heavenly tools to use for His service? Have we taken care of them? Christians, what have we done with the tools God has graced us with? We need to recognize that we have lost it, pray, and go back to where we lost it. Seek guidance from a spiritual mentor, ask for someone to help us pray.
We need to get our assignment in alignment with God’s direction. We need to get ourselves in alignment for our assignment.
God made the iron to swim (axe head). Christians need to learn to sharpen our axe, learn to hold on and have a better grip. When we recognize that we have lost it, we should get on our knees and not the telephone, go back to where we lost it, and maybe find a spiritual leader. Man is like an axe head; he can slip off the handle and fall into muddy waters. Elisha used a stick; cast it in the river to bring the axe head up. Christ hung on a cross to lift us up.
The occurrence of the floating axe head is recorded to demonstrate, even in seemingly insignificant occurrences of daily life, God’s care, and provision for those who trust Him. God is always available. This miracle, which occurs in Scripture between the deliverance of Israel’s army and the healing of a Syrian general, also demonstrates Elisha’s personal contact with the students studying to become prophets. Elisha was revered by kings, but he never forgot to take care of the faithful. Our concern for the needs of other people should not be overshadowed by the significance of our work.
Do we have the correct tools in our Christian toolbox? Are they in good working order and properly prepared for our Christian duty? Are they easily accessible?
2 Kings 4:8-37
Evangelism is more than just preaching the Gospel. It is the sharing of the teachings of Jesus Christ to others. The individual Christians life should be an example of Christ to the world.
This is the story of how Elisha restores a child to life. This is similar to the story in 1 Kings 17:17-24. What does this story have to do with evangelism? The answer is simple. Someone needed to hear the Word from God, and so God sent someone out.
In verses 8-11:
A Shunammite woman realizes a man of God which passes by continually. He was an evangelist, out spreading the Word of God. The woman sensed a need for the traveling prophet, so out of kindness she had prepared a room for him to use while he was there for his journey. I would think it was similar to a Bed & Breakfast or like the new Air B-n-B’s.
Many years ago, when true evangelism was going through our nation, there were many believers that had a spare room in their home, which they called the ‘prophet’s chamber.’ I remember those days when a visiting preacher would stay in church members home during a revival week. That way the visiting preacher did not have to pay for a hotel room nor meals.
How often do we offer assistance to those that pass by in our lives that may need some type of assistance? What has happened to the old-time revivals with visiting ministers? Where are they now?
In verses 12-19:
Sometime later, Elisha tells his servant to bring the Shunammite woman to him. It appears that the prophet wanted to repay her and her husband for their kindness. She was asked was there anything that she needed. Elisha’s servant told him that she was without child. Elisha tells her that she would have a son. This is remarkably similar to the case of Sara and Abraham in Genesis.
Time passed by and she gave birth. As time passes again, the child goes out to help his father but unfortunately, he was ill and died. Why? We do not know. What we do know is that an answered prayer has a tragic outcome.
In verses 20-25:
The woman had faith. She did not blame nor curse God. She lays her deceased child on the bed where the man of God had slept. We are unsure why this is, but we could presume that she began to have belief in the God that Elisha served. The passage does not say anything about her praying to God, just that she tells her husband that she is going to search for the man of God that had been there at their home. She had confidence that her son could be restored.
The woman broke tradition. It was not the new moon of the sabbath. She got out of the normal rituals. How often do we get ourselves stuck in the same routine? Many in today’s churches will comment that “We have always done it this way.” Times may come when we need to change from our old habits or rituals. God does not change but we may need to so that we can reach others.
In verses 26-30:
The man of God had compassion for others. He sent his servant to inquire about her and her family. He did not know about her current situation, he just remembered her and her family. Do we have true compassion for others in the world?
When she got to the man of God, Elisha, she fell at his feet (Matthew 28:9). Elisha’s servant was about to move her, but Elisha stopped him. Elisha was unsure of her reason to be there. He states that “the Lord had hid it from me.” She seems angry and asks him why did he deceive her? Elisha tells his servant to go to the child and place his staff on the child’s head.
The woman said she would not leave Elisha. So, the man of God went to where the issue was. There are times we need to get out and go. It is more important to go to the problem. Do not sit back and wait for others or for the problem to come to us. Too often we remain in our “comfort zone” and do not venture out to where the “need” is. Yes, our fellow believers will have needs and issues that will happen, but the true need is out there amongst the world, those that are lost, dying, and on their way to a devil’s hell. That is where the true need is.
Some Christians want just to sit back inside their church building and say, “come on in here, we compel thee to come,” when they should be going out there and be giving the invitation.
In verses 31-37:
Elisha’s servant got there first and did as he was instructed. However, the child did not wake up. The condition was recognized, and the man of God was not defeated by failure. Not his failure but the failure of the world. Elisha knew the objective, went into the inner chamber, and prayed to be endued with power. Elisha cried to God in faith and belief. Maybe Elisha saw the similarities between this situation and the one Elijah was in.
Prayers do get answered, it might not be in the way we want, but in accordance with God’s will.
Elisha's petition and technique for raising the dead child show God's own consideration for individuals who are hurting. The action that followed the prayer was that the child came to life. Elisha, in faith, had called unto God and the child was restored. We can only imagine the woman’s response.
There is a need for us to be alive as well. Do not be a dead servant. Do not settle for nothing except life. There is life in Christ. We need to show true concern for others as we share the Gospel. Those who take the life of Christ to a dead world must do so with deep conviction and in fervent prayer. Those dead in sin come to life when they come in contact with Christ.
God called me into the ministry over 20 years ago and I have had the blessed opportunity to preach for a church radio broadcast, served as a Sunday School teacher, served as a youth director along with my wife, as a music director, as an Associate Pastor, and as an Interim Pastor.
Copyright © 2023 Rev. Chris Swanson
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