2 Kings 13:15-19
And Elisha said to him, Take bow and arrows. And he took to him bow and arrows.…
How the spiritual drama repeats itself year after year! Again and again we see young people come up full of enthusiasm, full of the memory of the great things that noble lives have done, lamenting the glory that has departed from the earth, feeling a sudden impulse, which like an arrow is shot forth from the soul, essaying to do some great and noble work; and in that moment the prophetic voice is heard saying, The arrow of the Lord's deliverance; there lies the work of your life. This sudden impulse that takes possession of you in your youth, and causes you to shoot forth the arrows of the aspirations of your soul, — these are the things, that show you the way of the Lord. It is God's purpose that you should be the deliverer of His people in the particular path that He has opened before you. How that is going on every day! How every day at college men are lifting up their hearts, and setting open the windows of their souls, and looking out, shooting forth the thoughts and hopes and desires of their soul into this great unknown world! And then what? Then says the prophetic voice again, Smite upon the ground, Take these arrows and bind them together, and in a Divine frenzy devote yourself, soul and body, to the work that God has revealed to you to do. Then comes the critical moment in a man's life. He smites thrice, and stays. He says to himself, I need not do my best; I can do about as well as other men and not be wearied by my work; I have gifts that will enable me to live, and enable me to attain, perchance, a fortune, and yet I need not give up the things that make life pleasant; I need not turn aside from my self-indulgence; I will smite thrice, and stay. So it comes to pass that this great multitude, surging out into the life of the world year after year, equipped, crowned as kings for the work of life, smite the Syrians but thrice. The work of life is but half done. They remain failures, when they might have triumphed gloriously. Or take another illustration of the same thing. Here is a woman who has given herself up to a life of frivolity and vanity. Perhaps she is not to blame for that; perhaps she has had no ideal of noble things set before her. But some day the casement is thrown open, and she sees a new life before her, — a life which shall be devoted to husband and Children and home, a life which shall for the first time remember the great forgotten who dwell among us. The hand of the prophet is on that woman, and her soul shoots forth the arrow of a new desire. And the voice says, It is the arrow of the Lord's deliverance; there lie the glory, and splendour, and nobility of your life; there is the path on which God would have you walk, and you may deliver yourself and deliver those who live about you from the slavery and misery of the false ideals that thus far have dominated them. Smite, says the voice of the prophet. Devote yourself, soul and body, instantly, to the new work that has been revealed to you. .And she smites thrice. She goes to see some poor stricken soul, and she finds it tiresome; she turns aside from some gathering of frivolity, and her soul is parched. She undertakes some noble work of self-denial, and she is tired. She smites thrice, and stays, and goes down with the great multitude, worthless, useless, bringing no fruit to perfection Listen to one more example of the same thing. Here is a man or woman who has come on through life, and suddenly awakes to the consciousness of his ignorance of the Divine revelation in Jesus Christ. It smites upon him. Sometimes for one cause, and sometimes for another, it comes to pass that men and women living here in this city suddenly for the first time have a revelation of the glory and beauty and power of the life of Jesus Christ. And they say to themselves, Is the thing a myth? How has it come to pass that people have dreamed of such a life? How is it that men and women gather week after week, and day after day, to hear of the Lord Jesus Christ, and desire to serve Him? That man shoots forth the arrow of his desire for knowledge, and the voice says, It is the arrow of the Lord's deliverance. There lies the path by which you shall walk into the kingdom of truth and be saved from your enemies. And he begins to read. He reads a little, and he talks a little, and he thinks a little. But he learns before long that there is opening up before him a great and tremendous work, and the scepticism of the time finds voice, and whispers, Why waste your energies to learn that which cannot be known? Devote the energy of life to something that is practical; turn aside from vain dreams. So he, like the others, smites thrice and stays, and enters the great company of sceptics, — or, as they like to be called to-day, agnostics, — ignorant of God's eternal truth.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.