The Floating Axe Head – 2 Kings 6:1-7

2 Kings chapter 6 continues to detail the ministry of the prophet Elisha in the midst of national decay and turmoil. In these first seven verses we see the record of a wondrous miracle: Elisha makes an iron axe head float. Throughout the greater context of 2 Kings, Elisha is seen as a great blessing from God to both God’s people and to the nation.

It is important to remember that this miracle in verses 1-7 is not only a true, historical account of Elisha and Israel, but as a part of God’s breathed record, this account is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that God’s people may be fitted out, equipped for every good work (ministry) in a hurting world (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This miraculous account illustrates eternal truths that are relevant for today or any time in history. While God has varied the way He works in human history from one time to another, certain spiritual principles never vary, but are eternal as they speak of God’s character, care, providence, and man’s need to walk in righteousness by trusting in the love and provision of God.

If God will not let one of his faithful servants lose an iron axe head, surely he is just as concerned for you and for your needs. Surely, your salvation is a far greater matter than a lost axe head; yet it is accomplished by the same God. Can you not say, “I trust in Him and His son Jesus Christ for my salvation?” It is the same God who saves you and the same God who is involved in a seemingly trivial, incidental thing … a lost iron axe head. This is our God. Do you feel a pull on your heart to serve him more faithfully in the light of His great faithfulness and saving power and grace? Do we not pray with significance for God to give us this day our daily bread? May our hearts be set upon Him and may we serve Him faithfully all the remaining days of our lives.

Not one concern of ours is small
If we belong to Him,
To teach us this, the Lord of all
Once made the iron to swim.

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2 Kings 7:1-16 Four Men Who Made a Difference

Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent…
2 Kings 7:9

2 Kings 7:1-16 relays the story of four lepers, outside the gate, dying, rotting in their flesh – a leprous congregation of four wretched men to whom God is going to speak and bring blessing. As you read the text you see how God miraculously provides for His people at the expense of the unbelief of the Samaritans. Just like the world today, the Samaritans dwelled in fear and unbelief; but what an astonishing thing their unbelief will result in for the children of God.

Now, as wretched as they were, they recognize their unbearable starvation. Even the garbage that had been handed over the wall, which they had survived on in days passed, had ceased altogether, and they became emaciated. So they said to one another in their despair, “Why do we sit here until we die? If we go into the city, the famine is there and the gate is shut. And if we sit here, we starve in agony. Let’s go to the Syrians. And if they slay us, it will be better to die with one death stroke, than it will be to sit here in this long and lingering wretchedness.” The recognition of their desperate condition leads them to take a courageous step of faith which begins with a question. What a good question for all men to ask themselves – why sit we here until we die? Oh that men would ask this from the midst of their tombs of worldly ambition and their rotting corpses of carnal pursuit.

The four lepers ask, “Why sit we here until we die?” And they begin to walk. We can hear them as they approach the city with words of faith mixed with worldly fear, “Be encouraged, our next step may be our last, our next step will certainly challenge us, but be of good courage. Let’s press on and go.” But as they walk, to their surprise, there is no death that faces them. Instead, they come into the camp and find abundance! No fear of death; no fear of judgment; no fear of damnation; no fear of hell; no fear of the darkness – only the overflowing of the mercies of God. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

One hundred thousand Samaritans have fled; and God’s miserable wretches sit down to the banquet God has prepared for them. How amazed they were, as they looked on the gold and silver and raiment and food – on the vast bounty left behind by the fearful Samaritans! But they do not leave it at that. They said one to another, “This isn’t right. This is the day of good tidings, let’s tell the king. Let’s tell him of the bounty available to miserable wretches who need no longer starve! Let us announce that God has opened the windows of heaven, for us to freely enjoy.

There is perhaps no finer illustration of what it is to be a preacher of the Gospel, what it is to be a witness, what it is to be a Christian. We are calling sinners such as ourselves, miserable wretches, to the way that a man might be saved. We are proclaiming to a dying, decaying people, that there is a way that they might live in abundance. We are saying, “Come see the abundant eternal life which God has set before those who trust in Him. Come. Come. Come! There’s bread enough for all! Bread for the soul! The Bread of life! There is life for death. There is freedom for captivity. There is Christ and the fullness of God, so Come! Why be lost in perdition and damnation, when God hath opened the palace of glory? Why live cooped up in this little part of this mortal life, when God has set our feet in a wide and spacious land – giving us freedom, liberty and eternal life? Why choose to die when the crimson cross is so nearby? Why? Why not come to Jesus?

May the judgment and death that we inevitably face drive us to Christ; but may it not end there. Like the four lepers who made a difference, let us go into all the world and teach and preach the good news of the kingdom to all nations. What a glorious reality we own as children of the kingdom of God – may God make us faithful as witnesses and heralds of our inheritance to the leprous world in which we live.