2 Kings 13:18-19 (NIV)

Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”


Too often when we look upon our lives, the victories, and more often the defeats, we focus, not on God and His unlimited power, but on the little that we think we have available to us. Let’s look at the case of King Jehoash of Israel. Israel had been at war with Aram for quite a while. During the reign of his father, Jehoahaz, Israel had been under great oppression to the point that his father, a sinful man who followed the ways of Jeroboam, son of Nebat (2 Kings 13:2), turned to the Lord for help (2 Kings 13:4-6). Despite the Lord’s help, the people of Israel continued to sin against God. This might come as a surprise because Jehoahaz had sought the Lord’s favor. Jehoahaz seeking the Lord, amongst the other “gods” that he worshipped, was a symptom of a desperate, not faithful, man.

When Jehoash goes to the prophet, Elisha, who is on his deathbed, Elisha has him shoot an arrow out the window. When Jehoash shot the arrow out the window, Elisha declared it to be an arrow of victory over Aram at Aphek, a single battle (2 Kings 13:17). Elisha then instructed Jehoash to strike the ground with the remaining arrows. Jehoash strikes the ground three times and stops, angering Elisha (2 Kings 13:18-19). I have often wondered about this incident. Why would Jehoash strike the ground more than three times? What is the connection?

Amongst the many tools used for divination, were arrows (Ezekiel 21:21). When the first arrow was shot out the window, Jehoash knew that there would be victory over the Arameans at Aphek. I think that was enough for Jehoash. While I believe that he would have wanted his enemy destroyed, I think that he thought about the things of his world. The size of his army and the years of oppression by the Arameans. The army was quite small, only “fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers” (2 Kings 13:7). Surely, it would be even smaller after defeating the Arameans at Aphek. However, God had more available to Israel.

In striking the ground with the arrows only three times Jehoash demonstrates the weakness of his faith, his belief in the power of God. If Jehoash had a true zeal for the Lord and what he had just been told, he would have been excited and struck the ground, in victory, over and over again, smashing those arrows, and would have only stopped when Elisha told him to do so. We aren’t that different from King Jehoash.

Each one of us was in the world, at one time, we saw things from a worldly viewpoint. Some of us may have gone to God in desperation. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a good Father and draws people to Him in the easiest way that they will come. What we do, however, once we have entered into the bosom of the Father, is another thing. Are we able to recognize the power of God in our lives? Can we recognize the power of God in our lives if we have sought so many other gods in our search for the One true God?

There are many tools that God uses to help us in our lives. Look around you. God gives each one of us the skills that we need in this life. Some are doctors, lawyers, counselors, bankers, etc. When I was delivered from lifelong depression it was God who did it. How it was done isn’t as relevant as to who did it. How we assign credit in our lives is more important than that which was done. Similarly, how we see defeat is important. Before you knew God, you were in the world and you were shaped by the sin in the world. Once you became born again you were no longer of this world but still affected by the world.

The things that weigh upon us are weightless in the hands of God. If only we could remember that when we go to Him. However, we look at ourselves, our circumstances, and where we see ourselves. Not in God’s plan, but in our limited scope of yesterday. We may try and not worry about tomorrow but it still threatens us. Perhaps it’s just me. Perhaps I’m the only one who wants to see God’s promises in my life fulfilled, but I’m often too comfortable with the way that things are right now. I revel in the needs supplied yesterday and truly want to do more, but I’m afraid. Afraid that I will fail God. That I’m not strong enough. I’ve walked through the defeats, and they weigh heavily on me, in the victory today, I strike the ground, in my cautious zeal, not wanting to push my luck, and God, He’s not angry, but He tells me, “I have more.”

I hope, in hearing His voice. In knowing that He has more, for you, for me, that we will push our faith, in God. Not in us, for we will fail, in our strength. I hope we will smash those arrows, those fearful arrows of doubt, upon the ground, shouting to God, “I believe! I believe!! I believe!! I believe!!! I BELIEVE!!!!”

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. Nothing is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.