Poverty of Faith Ensures But Partial Success
2 Kings 13:15-19
And Elisha said to him, Take bow and arrows. And he took to him bow and arrows.…

We may take this closing incident in the life of Elisha, as an illustration of the warfare between the soul and its enemies, and the conditions upon which complete victory is achieved.

1. Israel. Redeemed out of Egypt, in Canaan, where they might have lived in the enjoyment of triumph over all foes. Not in absolute exemption from conflict, but trusting in God and obeying Him, they would never have known defeat. They disbelieved, disobeyed, and as a consequence, there was failure and defeat. Type of a soul which has passed out of death (Egypt) into life (Canaan). But it has left its first love, in which it might have abode in the joys of continuous victory.

2. Israel's enemies. Syria in particular. We find ourselves attacked from different quarters at the same time.

3. Promised deliverance.

(a)  A definite deliverance — "from Syria."

(b)  A Divine deliverance — "The Lord's deliverance."Spiritual deliverance is promised us. Definite promises of deliverance from the dominion, love and pollution of sin.

4. The king's error. He erred in not resolving on, and expecting, complete success. "He smote thrice, and stayed." He, as it were, "limited the Holy One of Israel." He certainly manifested a lack of faith and of courage. In the spiritual life we should aim at, and expect, complete success. Be satisfied with nothing short of this. Not to rest while a single foe has a footing in the territory which belongs to God. We are to be "more than conquerors."

5. The king's partial success. Elisha would not have been "wrath" had there not been good cause. Elisha was God's messenger. As when he declared that there should be plenty in Samaria within a given time, and the lord of the court was held guilty for not believing the message, so here. On account of weak faith, we are often only partially successful against our spiritual enemies. Would Naaman have been cured of his leprosy had he dipped in Jordan but thrice, and then stayed?

6. The king's loss through unbelief. He was not aware, possibly, of the grandeur of the opportunity. Perhaps he treated the prophet's simple message with contempt — obeying him merely to indulge the whim of an old and dying man — failing to look beyond the prophet to God who sent him. Perhaps we stumble sometimes at the message because we look no farther or higher than the messenger. He is not talented, famous, but coarse, etc. The king suffered. So do we when this spirit is indulged.

(J. E. Robinson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.

WEB: Elisha said to him, "Take bow and arrows;" and he took to him bow and arrows.

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