Even progress directed by the Lord often has challenges that are encountered. Some are the result of interference from the enemy, some from those employed in his doing and others the result of error by those involved in the progress. Such is the case with this unnamed prophetic student, who lost a borrowed ax head while chopping a tree for expansion of the school.
An increased enrollment prompted the need for larger facilities, to which Elisha gave his blessing and presence. Could it be the increased enrollment was the result of an appeal to meet the need for more prophetic voices at a national and international level? If so, our nation is in such a state now; needing to hear clear, prophetic voices that reveal the heart of the Father and directives as what should be done. “God raise up those voices that bring clarity and understanding of Your will and ways for our nation.”
This borrowed ax head fell off in the process; he lost his “cutting edge” in the course of the busyness of ministry. He wasn’t doing anything evil or wrong, with perhaps the exception of not paying attention to the “little things” that enable us to retain the cutting edge of ministry. For this student, it was the wedge in the ax head to make a tight fit for the handle. For us it includes personal devotional lives, walking in the Spirit and obedience to the
Keep your cutting edge!
We observe that a “shadow of the cross” in this encounter as well. The word “stick” could also be translated “tree”. The cross can restore our cutting edge for life and ministry. The key is that we “apply” it to each situation we face. James puts it a bit differently, when he says “do not just be hearers, but doers” of the Word we’ve been given.
If you’ve lost the cutting edge, apply the cross to your situation and allow Him to restore it. You’ll get further and accomplish more it you do.
Syria put Samaria (Israel) under siege. During this time, Elisha would tell Jehoram where the enemy was and to avoid that location. Ben-Hadad sent “a great army” to capture Elisha in Dothan, located about twelve miles from Samaria. Elisha’s servant had become fearful as a result of seeing in the natural this “great army”. As to whom this servant is, we can assume it was Gehazi, but there is nothing in this text to prove that. The Syrian army upon arriving, they were struck blind by the word of Elisha; he returned to Samaria with this army, which Jehoram fed and released back to Ben-Hadad.
Over a year later Ben-Hadad gathered his army to besiege Samaria again. The siege lasted long enough to cause a famine in the land that resulted in mothers eating their children; of which we have one account. This famine and its results so infuriated Jehoram, that he swore to take Elisha’s head off that very day.
Shut in his house, Elisha candidly shared with the elders the king had sent “a man ahead of him” to prepare and commence with his beheading. When the man arrived, the elders held him at the door until Jehoram arrived.
Interestingly, it was during that trek to behead Elisha the king realized “this calamity is from the Lord”.
There is an “unnatural” break that should either carry on with the story or should have begun a few verses earlier for the sake smoothness in reading.
Again, if you’ve lost the “cutting edge”, permit the cross to restore it for you.