Give it All You Have!
Keep Pounding, Keep Pouring
Manuary 11, 2016
“And he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground with them.’ And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.’” – 2 Kings 13:18-19 (ESV)
What little exercise do we have going on in our lives that we’re tired of doing? Maybe it’s getting up early to worship God before we go to work. Maybe it’s a bedtime prayer that has become cumbersome and tiring. Maybe we’re just plain tired of working at anything. Maybe it seems like we’ve done enough and it’s time for a break.
Elisha was dying. Up to this point Israel’s kings had pretty much done what they could to mess the whole thing up over and over again. But through it all Elisha was there to point to God. Over and over again God worked through him to save Israel from itself. And the king knew it. So this happens.
“Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him and wept before him, crying, ‘My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And Elisha said to him, ‘Take a bow and arrows.’ So he took a bow and arrows. Then he said to the king of Israel, ‘Draw the bow,’ and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. And he said, ‘Open the window eastward,’ and he opened it. Then Elisha said, ‘Shoot,’ and he shot. And he said, ‘The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” – 2 Kings 13:14-17 And the story continues where we left off before.
But that wasn’t the end of the lesson. And whatever it is, it’s not the the end of the lesson for us either. Sometimes we want to treat life like it’s a class. Once one lesson is learned we move on. Prayer worked that time. Move on. That apology worked. Move on. That hard work made a difference. Move on. And on and on. We forget to not just move on, but to also sustain our efforts. Prayer isn’t something to try and forget. Apologies and hard work should continue as long as they’re needed. Life lessons are something to live in, not just learn from.
I picture the king of Israel standing in front of an old man who’s telling him to hit arrows on the ground with a little bit of an attitude like “OK old man, I’ll hit my arrows on the ground for you.” I imagine he went with the expectation of some great wisdom, advice, or even a promise from God. He probably didn’t go to shoot arrows out of a window and then bang them on the floor. But here he is, maybe with a little bit of confusion going though his mind being told to hit some arrows on the floor. So he does. Maybe just to be accommodating to an old man. Tap tap tap. He does as he’s told.
Is that us too? Are we simply accommodating God in our lives? OK God, I’ll pray. OK God, I’ll do this, or do that. Do we go into a relationship with God trying to retain our normalcy? Maybe accommodating Him in private, denying Him in public. Tap tap tap, we do our little thing halfheartedly and move on. And God blesses us. He answers a prayer. He provides in or lives. Our kids our healthy, our job is good, and our house is big. And we say… “I’m blessed.” But deep down we’ve never even thought about thanking God or giving Him credit for “What we’ve done.”
How much more could we do in our lives? How much more could God do through us, if instead of tap tap tapping, we kept pounding those arrows in our lives? We kept seeking His guidance? We kept claiming the promises of God? We kept asking for His victories? What if prayer were a continuous state instead of a nightly ritual? What if we lived in continuous practice of the lesson’s we’ve learned instead of moving on after a little practice? Pound, pound, pound, pound, pound. How long are we willing to pound away, waiting for the promises of God? Are we willing to move past our comfort and into relationship? Are we willing to put aside normalcy, expecting destiny instead?
“Bring in the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven to you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” – Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Usually you’ll hear this verse repeated by someone claiming that you need to give 10 percent of your income to the church. But what if it means more than that. Tithe wasn’t ever really about money in the Bible, it was more about the fruits of labor. It was bigger than money. It was a lifestyle of giving to God. What if we lived a lifestyle of giving to God? If everything was tithed to God? Our time, our efforts, our love, our compassion, our life? How could God work victory in our lives if we just kept pounding? Let’s being daring enough to try and let’s find our destiny in that decision.
God Bless You Man,