Never Give Up!
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
One of the greatest virtues we need in our lives is persistence. Persistence is staying at something for a long time. It is not throwing in the towel and giving up early. It is staying in the race, even if you are in agony. It is doing what you do with maximum effort until it is complete. Spurgeon said, “By perseverance, the snail made it to the ark.” This morning, let us see why persistence is a vital necessity.
We see the concern.
Elisha the prophet is deathly sick. King Joash of Israel becomes fearful and anxious. Without Elisha, he knows that he and the kingdom will be vulnerable and weak. He comes to Elisha and confesses to him that the strength and confidence of the nation rests on him. It is a good reminder for us that we must always be dependent upon God for our success. Without God, we are complete failures.
We see the cooperation.
Elisha tells the king to take a bow and arrows. Next, he tells the king to place both of his hands on the bow. As he does so, Elisha places his hands upon the king’s hands. He next instructs the king to open the window and to shoot an arrow. As the arrow is shot, Elisha tells him of the arrow of God’s deliverance from Syria. When we place our dependence upon God, we have acknowledged our need for His power to help us. God’s hand on what we do and on our life is the secret to success.
We see the complacency.
The next thing that Elisha tells Joash is to take the arrows and smite them on the ground. Joash takes the arrows and smites the ground three times. Elisha is very angry with him and asks him, “Why did you only smite the ground three times? You should have smitten the ground five or six times so that you could have made sure that the Syrians would be completely defeated.” Joash became complacent in a matter of minutes. He did the minimum when he should have done more. When we only do the minimum, we get minimum results. We need to pray more, exercise more faith, work harder, work longer hours, fast more often, tell more people how to get saved, and give more to the offerings. Instead, we take God for granted and do the minimum, when we should be doing more.
We see the caution.
Think of the last words to Joash: “Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it.” Don’t fall into the trap of becoming complacent. When God places His hand on your life, do more than what is expected of you. Don’t take God’s power for granted or think that it is an entitlement. Be persistent in exercising faith, winning souls, giving your offerings, and the things that require hard work. More praying gets more done. More faith gets more done. More soulwinning builds the church. The window of opportunity for Joash died when Elisha died. God tests our faithfulness and persistence at extrem