The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.” – 2Kgs 13:19 NIV
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Just as Elisha was a prophet in Israel, King Jehoash was a king too within that period and was the last king during the prophetic years of Prophet Elisha. He was recorded to have been an evil king who operated well in the ways of the evil King Jeroboam (2Kgs. 13:11) but even in his evil world that he operated in, he had enough in him to pay a compassionate visit to Elisha whom the bible revealed was sick with an illness that eventually claimed his life.
Likely out of appreciation for this visit, Prophet Elisha decided to make prophetic declarations into his life and started out by telling him to shoot an arrow through His opened East window with Elisha placing his own hand on the king’s hand. He did this once and Elisha declared that the arrow was the arrow of the Lord and arrow of victory over the Aram adding that King Jehoash will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek – 2Kgs. 13:15-17. He then proceeded to tell him to take the arrow and strike the ground which the king did also on three occasions but this time there was an issue.
Despite the fact that he was not told the number of times he was to shoot the arrow through the East window and strike the ground, King Jehoash had gone ahead to shoot only one arrow through the East window and struck the ground three times – 2Kgs. 13:18. The first act earned him full declaration but the second act had a hitch. He was going to defeat the Arameans only on three occasions but will not be able to destroy them completely which would have been the case had he struck the ground five or six times. The declaration played out for him after the death of Prophet Elisha as he was indeed only able to defeat the Arameans on three occasions (2Kgs. 13:25) and recaptured all the towns that had been captured in earlier wars with the Arameans but could not destroy them as previously declared by Prophet Elisha.
The following points arise from today’s devotion:
1. Despite his evil way of living, a single act of compassion provided him an opportunity for glory. Christians need to understand that no matter how bad they may be in terms of sin, God remains compassionate and will return their act of soberness and repentance with instant forgiveness and restoration. The tag you are given will not matter. What will matter will be your new state with the Lord. Several times Christians allow the devil to tie them down in their transgressions by making them focus on the gravity of their sin and not seeing the greatness of the mercy of the Almighty God. No matter how bad sin may have made you, God is able to wash you clean in the blood of Jesus Christ and restore you. Never allow your sin to keep you down, look up to the merciful God and you will rise again.
2. Showing compassion positions one for compassion. Despite the fact that Elisha and the king may not be on the same page in the way they operate, with the king very steep into evil while Elisha retains his position as a prophet of the most high, the king still had the good thoughts to not only appreciate the positive contributions of Elisha but also show compassion by weeping and describing him as the chariots and horsemen of Israel. He saw Elisha as the major contributor to the victories of Israel. He accepted him as God’s prophet and just as the bible says, he got the gift from the prophet – Matt. 10:41-42.
3. Make full use of every opportunity. Every opportunity available to man must be utilised maximally and the best way to do this will be to view every opportunity with the spiritual eyes. That is the best way to see the limit of each opportunity and also have the ability to stretch the advantage. This is because a lost opportunity may not be available again. The king had the opportunity to destroy the Arameans but all he ended up with was the declaration to defeat the enemy on three occasions. Although Israel defeated the enemy they never stopped getting discomforted by the constant harassment from the Arameans. You may also have been able to banish the image of that opposition from your life if you had taken your opportunities when they came.
In summary, always know that nothing including that great act of transgression that keeps hounding you should hold you back from approaching the throne of Grace in order to receive mercy – Heb. 4:16. Approach it with boldness but realise that he who wants mercy must always show mercy. Maximise all your opportunities in the Lord and you can be sure that you will be freed from that stress that is hounding you and your family. May God accept all supplications in Jesus name. Amen.