Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”15 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. 16 “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.17 “Open the east window,”he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.” 18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 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.” 2 Kings 13: 14-19
Jehoash, who ruled in Israel for 16 years, had never consulted the prophet Elisha until this occasion. When the prophet was about to die, Jehoash came to see him because he feared that Israel mighty lose in battle after Elisha died. He cried at Elisha’s bedside. I can just imagine the crocodile tears. Elisha had compassion for the people and asked Jehoash to do two simple things. First, he shot an arrow through the east window, which symbolized victory over the Arameans. Now Jehoash should have been pleased and excited to do the next task. This time Elisha told him to strike the ground with the arrows. Jehoash took the arrows and tapped the ground three times. Can’t you just imagine the puny little taps? I wonder if they did the eye roll thing back then. I’ve seen that attitude. I know it!
Elisha could tell that Jehoash had not put his heart into the task. Jehoash’s attitude spoke volumes about his real concern for the people of his nation. Therefore, Elisha predicted that the victory over Aram would be incomplete. Besides his
half-hearted effort, Jehoash revealed his lack of spirituality by believing that victory would come through Elisha rather than God. He sought human help instead of seeking God’s help.
When we face challenges, how often are we tempted to find human help first rather than going to God first? When we do receive instruction from God through His word, do we do what is required whole-heartedly? If we don’t follow His will completely, we should not be surprised when we miss the full blessing of God. Seek God first, and then do whatever He asks with your whole heart.