"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Raising The Standard: Determination Is Expending Whatever Energy Is Necessary To Complete A Project

A king's lack of spiritual discernment robbed him of the full potential which God had in store for him. His unwillingness to expend sufficient energy to maximize victory deprived him of the opportunity of winning back his kingdom. God used the puzzling instructions of a prophet to measure this man's determination. The admiration and affection of the king of Israel for the prophet Elisha were clearly visible when he came into the chamber where he lay dying. The king leaned over, looked into his face and wept.
How Does Scripture Illustrate Determination In Expending Whatever Energy Is Necessary?
"Oh my father, my father, You were the strength of Israel." Little did the king realize the importance of what was to happen next. The prophet told him to get a bow and some arrows. After the king took them, the prophet placed his hands over them, adding to his strength to pull back the arrow. He pointed at the open window and said to the king, "Strike!" They carefully Pulled back the shaft string and shot the arrow. Fervently the prophet proclaimed, "This is the arrow of the Lord's deliverance from your enemy." Hope filled the king's heart. Here was promise that deliverance was possible from the bitter oppression that he and his people suffered at the hand of their enemy. But then the prophet gave one more instruction. He told the king to strike the ground with more arrows. Earnestly the prophet watched as the king took his bow and arrow. One arrow hit the ground - then a second and a third. He stopped and straightened himself. A great emotion of disappointment and rebuke swept over the prophet. He spoke angrily to King Jehoash. "You should have shot the ground at least five or six times. The you would have overcome your enemies until they were consumed. But now you will only have three victories over them." God exposed the king's lack of true determination through the simple instruction of the dying prophet. The incident revealed the kind of determination that is required to conquer enemies. We often fail in a task because it requires more energy than we were expecting to give. In order to accomplish a task, we must determine to expend whatever energy is necessary to complete the project. (From 2 Kings 13:14-25)
Did Jehoash Seek God's Power or Elisha's Miracles?
When Elisha died, Jehoash wept over the loss of a man he considered to be his personal magician, not his godly counselor. Although Jehoash respected the power he saw in the life of the prophet, he did not obey nor love the God whom the prophet served (cf. John 14:21). It seems that he viewed Elisha as a great seer with a mysterious ability to reveal his enemies' war plans or cast spells to cause their defeat. The source of his power to perform such acts was not a concern to Jehoash.
Why Did Jehoash Stop After Shooting Only Three Arrows?
Jehoash did not have the spiritual discernment to understand the real significance of what Elisha was asking him to do. As was characteristic of his life, Jehoash performed only the bare minimum in fulfilling the commands of God. His haphazard attempt to satisfy the Law of God in the worship of golden calves is similar to his half-hearted effort to obey Elisha's commands. When Elisha plainly told Jehoash that the arrow they shot together signified "the arrow of deliverance from Syria," it should have been evident that there was military significance in shooting the other arrows (2 Kings 13:17-18).
What Was The Real Reason For Elisha's Anger Toward Jehoash?
When Jehoash revealed a lack of concern and determination in ridding the nation of its physical enemies, he indicated a lack of concern and determination in ridding the nation of its spiritual enemies. We read that, "He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, but he walked in them." (2 Kings 13:11). The chief sin of Jeroboam was his use of golden calves to prevent the people from leaving to worship God at the temple in Jerusalem as commanded in the Mosaic Law (1 Kings 12:28; Deuteronomy 12:5). Jehoash's irreverence for the Lord was climaxed when he looted all the gold, silver and vessels that were found in the house of God in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 25:24). A final commentary on his failure came when rather than destroying the idolatrous alters which Jeroboam established, he named his eldest son in honor of him (2 Kings 14:16).
How Does The Salmon Illustrate Determination In Expending Whatever Energy Is Necessary?
In a determined effort to return to its spawning grounds upstream, the king salmon encounters overwhelming obstacles. A strong urge which compels the mighty fish to return is instilled at birth and serves as a driving force throughout its life. Equipped with a highly developed sense of smell, the salmon is indelibly impressed with the unique scent of its spawning grounds. Now triggered by instinct, the great fish leisurely begins moving upstream from the ocean waters in which it spends its adult life. The scent of its destination is the compass which unerringly directs the fish back to the place of its birth. Moving downstream was relatively simple. Going upstream involves not only rushing rapids and waterfalls but also the risk of failing to distinguish the guiding scent and so swimming down the wrong tributary - requiring an exhausting and time consuming backtrack. As the days pass and the salmon progresses upriver, it gradually increases its speed until it is traveling at the rate of twenty-five miles a day. Even at this speed, many days pass before reaching its destination, perhaps hundreds of miles away. After an absence of four years, the salmon actually locates the exact area of gravel in the riverbed where it was hatched, During its long journey it performs unbelievable feats of determination, overcoming obstacles that seem physically impossible, leaping fifteen feet up the side of a waterfall and then, with skillful flops of its powerful tail, pushing itself over the top. Often many attempts must be made before clearing these formidable barriers. But the fact that the salmon is willing to expend whatever energy is necessary to achieve its goal distinguishes it as a magnificent example of determination.

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