Sunday, July 5, 2015

Not A Pointless Miracle

Not A Pointless Miracle
July 6, 2015
2 Kings 6:6  "The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float."

Taking up the conversation again regarding the story of Elisha and the floating ax head, recall it has been considered a throw-away miracle.  The story is included in the Bible so there must be some value to it, yet it has been argued that if you take that story and throw it away, there would be no discontinuity in the Word of God.  The story is of some men who were gathered together and were setting up a gathering place.  One of the men, wielding an ax, lost the head of his ax when it fell apart and was cast into the water.  The man was anxious over it because the ax was borrowed.  Apparently an iron ax head was not easy to come by in those days.  The man probably didn't have a way or the means to replace it.

In the story, the men were called "the company of the prophets."  They were disciples of Elisha and would meet with him on a regular basis.  The men would discuss their faith, their ministry, and the work of the Lord.  They had grown too numerous for their meeting place and were building a larger gathering place to continue on in their discussions, their education.  Call the meeting place whatever you'd like, but it was akin to a ministry school, an important part in the training of Godly men in order that they might carry on the work of the Lord.  They weren't building it for selfish reasons and they had no leading from the Lord not to construct it.  They agreed it was an appropriate endeavor, the construction of the the project, and commenced with their own hands.  They weren't wealthy men, by any stretch of the imagination, hence the need to borrow an ax and build it themselves.  When the ax head was lost at the bottom of the river, Elisha performed a miracle to bring the ax head back up.  But why such a miracle?  Why was it important?  No one got saved, no one believed more deeply in the Lord because of it.  In fact, there was no recorded result of the miracle, describing its purpose.

I believe the reason for the miracle is two-fold.  First and foremost, the men were carrying on a task that was integral in the work of the Lord, building a training facility so they could build up Godly men.  This is high on the Lord's list of worthy causes.  The men were dedicated to Him, working valiantly with their hands, and it was important for the task to be completed.  It is possibly the ax head was the only one the group had.  Maybe they had two or three, but being short one ax would significantly derail the process.  Either way, it was a necessary tool in finishing the work of the Lord.  This miracle is similar to many miracles during Nehemiah's time when the Israelites were re-building the wall, the Lord's wall.  The Lord needs things completed, sometimes in a crucial time-frame.  He is more than willing to help out in order to overcome obstacles for His important work.  This gathering place needed built and this ax head was critical to its completion.  This miracle shows the Lord is intent on finishing His worthy, ordained projects here on earth.

The other thing it proves is the Lord's dedication to those dedicated to Him.  The New Testament says if a son asks for bread what earthly father would give him a stone instead.  This is a parable about the Lord considering Himself to be our own Father.  This ax head, a borrowed ax head, was of importance to this man because he didn't have the means for his own ax.  Now this man would have to come up with the means to replace it, then give the ax head back, essentially paying for the loss.  This man was taking on the work of the Lord and the Lord didn't think it fair that the man pay for the loss.  The Lord is interested in taking care of his own. This is also re-enforced when the Lord reminds us in the New Testament to cast our anxieties onto Him because He cares for us.  And as well, the Lord said to seek first His Kingdom and the rest of the important things will fall into place.

But these examples, the teachings that came through and after Jesus, happened many, many years AFTER these men were building a gathering place to study their faith.  They didn't have the benefit of reading the New Testament and being taught that the Lord cared about the things they cared about.  This example of the floating ax head taught these men what Jesus taught us so many years later about the character of God.  That He does care for His children.  My thought is that these men recorded the story of the ax head to incorporate in their curriculum about the character of God, that He truly does care about things seemingly unimportant to others but oftentimes critical to us.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  2 Kings 6:1-7, Ps 55:22, Matt 6:33, Phil 4:6, 1 Pet 5:7

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