Make Faith Count

“And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.” – 2 Kings 13:18

“And he stayed”, in other words, “he ceased”, or perhaps “he quit”

It used to be an oft preached passage, but looking across the pervasive tides of irregularity, inconsistency and impassivity in today’s world, we tend to forget. The guiding “lights” of this world advise simply watching it happen, and not wasting oneself on reaction or over investment of passion. “Just let it pass”.

The ideology of asceticism (not to be confused with ‘aestheticism’) rises up, at times as a recognizable tide seemingly coming when people wish to find solace in withdrawal and isolation in a world of tempests and tyrannical confusion. Yet, so often we see individuals and crowds fall into an apparent aloof indifference while opportunities for defense and advancement as seen to pass by on a kind of train-ride of life.

Put it more simply, Bassett! Ok, there is a spirit of idleness and indifference out there. It seems to be delivered by an intimidating giant as our world hurdles towards what is imagined to be inevitable. Yet we know, as Christians if we properly are so called than *NOTHING is inevitable* which does involves the prayer and righteous response of the children of God! (Someone show a spirit of inevitability to the door!)

The final days of Joash are chronicled in 2 Kings 13. And then, after Joash’s death is recorded, the writer reopens the book of that king’s acts occurring in the days when the great prophet Elisha was ill and ready to pass from this world. It was Joash’s last act and Elisha’s last intervention, and it was Joash’s last appearance, revealing his lifelong error before his name was written forever alongside his acts.

Someone may be seeking God for a special need, or someone may be fighting against powers that, it is possible, they invited into their lives and homes, if the truth were known. The counsel of the prophet, dealing with his own infirmities at the time was sober, and clear: DO THIS and MEAN IT.

Elisha’s reaction comes with an inescapable message: HOW YOU DO IT WILL DETERMINE HOW GREAT THE VICTORY IS.

The little woman at the temple caught Jesus’ attention. ” And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had. ” – Luke 21:3-4

Athletes know that (unless someone abolished the gender rules as in recent days), they would have to give ALL without limitation to obtain the victory. The PRIZE is a certification of their performance which will never be awarded without total commitment.

Faith is like this. There is no such thing as measured faith. Faith is either absolute, or it is not faith at all. But don’t go home yet. Faith is not faith that is not only wholehearted, but willing to dedicate energy and replace other “place holders” in life, with the “object of faith.” (OOF: Can we recommend Jesus?) Faith, deployed and released becomes faithfulness.

Elisha was going off to his reward, but he wanted to see Israel do its best to obtain the victory. Due to the nature of Joash, after a lifetime of keeping the things of God at arms length, a full victory would be postponed many generations, and indeed has not yet arrived for Israel of the flesh.

You and I can take the arrows and “smite 5 or 6 times”, or more if we have the strength. Darker days will certainly come, but let’s exercise faith in God while He is near.
— MB