August 12, 2023
“The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, 'Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan...'”
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“The sons of the prophets said to Elisha, ‘Please notice that the place where we live under your supervision is too small for us. Please let us go to the Jordan where we can each get a log and can build ourselves a place to live there.’ ‘Go,’ he said. Then one said, ‘Please come with your servants.’ ‘I’ll come,’ he answered. So he went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water, and he cried out, ‘Oh my master, it was borrowed!’”
2 Kings 6:1-5 (HCSB)
Idolatry was flourishing in the land of Israel. We must keep that in mind as we consider today’s passage so that we can appreciate the request of the sons of the prophets.
There have been many times, throughout the generations, in which evil was so strong that it seemed the Lord’s cause would entirely fail. Elisha’s predecessor, Elijah, had experienced such a time. After Jezebel threatened his life, he fled (was led by God) to Mount Horeb, the mountain on which Moses received the Torah of God for Israel. Mt. Horeb was where it all began, and Elijah went back to report that (from his viewpoint) it had all ended. Elijah believed he was the last faithful Israelite, and his life was hanging on by a thread. Elijah was in for a surprise: it was NOT over. The Lord had reserved seven thousand faithful prophets in Israel who had refused to bow a knee to Baal.
The Israelite captives in Babylon (who were the recipients of the books of the Kings and the Prophets) may have very well thought that their nation had reached the end of the line, that Israel would become assimilated into the Babylonian culture and never exist again as a nation. The fact that the school of the prophets had to build larger quarters in an evil era was a tiny reminder for them that God preserves and expands His cause, even during dark and evil times.
The presence of Elisha with these young prophets also indicates something of his personal interest in them and their endeavors. The prophet through whom the Lord had worked mighty miracles did not allow himself to be puffed up with pride. He did not consider himself to be of such importance that he could not associate with these men, these yeshiva students, in such a simple, mundane activity as constructing a new building.
As the Lord’s representative, Elisha’s willingness to be involved with this project is a picture for us of the Lord’s interest in the details of our lives, those details that others would consider small and insignificant. Jesus, Himself, comforts us in the same manner.
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26 (NKJV)
Even down to such an insignificant thing as a lost ax handle, the Lord is willing to extend His miraculous hand. He does this to encourage the Kingdom worker and to provide for
the ministry resources needed to complete His objectives through His servants, unto the glory of His Name.