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2 Kings 6:5-7
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
6 And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it. KJV
The axe-head: --
Introduction: When we look at the prophets of God in the Old Testament, we see their stories filled with miracles from God as is in the case here of the axe-head that fell into the Jordan River. In the New testament, Jesus also used stories that He called Parables to show the answers to problems Christians would face. The similarity of both Old and New Testament stories are under 2 different covenants. In the Old Testament, God’s people had The Ark of the Covenant, with sacrifice being through a lamb sacrificed on the altar of God. Whereas in the New Testament we have the covenant of Jesus Christ as our sacrifice. Still a blood sacrifice is needed for forgiveness of sin in both cases. But, unlike the Old Testament where sacrificing a lamb was an ongoing process for the forgiveness of sin, Jesus had only to die once and then was raised from that death for us to have a sacrifice for our sins, and thus the emergences of Grace hit the scene for us. Let’s take an Old Testament story here and put a new Testament meaning to show its meaning.
1. The first thought presented is, when Christ dwells in the hearts of His people there is a deep inward conviction of our own narrowness. The sons of the prophets dwelling with Elisha are conscious of the straightness of their dwelling, and earnestly long for enlargement. So it is with every true child of God. The soul that dwells in Christ and Christ in it is conscious of its straightness. It longs for enlargement. More room for Christ -- this is its intense inward breathing. And this yearning cannot rest with inaction. Its course is always onward. "Let us go, we pray thee, to Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, "Go ye." "Let us go" -- that is its motto. This is the only form in which the yearning within can find rest. It carries the soul with it into higher aims and holier aspirations. It lays hold of everything that would lift it nearer to God.
2. But observe, there can be no onward movement, no enlargement of soul, without God's presence with us. "And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go." The language of this unknown one is that of every true child of God, under all circumstances. The believer knows that God's abiding presence with him can alone assure growth in grace, or security against evil. Without the constant presence of the Lord he has nothing to keep him from lapsing into coldness or deadness, nothing to meet the powers of evil that lie so thickly in his path. The presence of the Lord is his joy, his pavilion in trial, temptation, and danger, his light in darkness, and his life in death.
3. We see these remarks confirmed by what happened in this narrative. "So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe-head fell into the water." Here at this critical moment, the very weapon needed most of all for carrying on the work -- the axe-head -- suddenly and unexpectedly fell into the water. Alas, alas! how is the wood to be cut down now? How is the building to go on? What are we to do? All is over now! At one sudden stroke everything collapses, and there is a cry of despair. If Elisha had not been with them in this crisis what could they have done? They would have wrung their hands in unavailing sorrow, and the work must have ceased. And are there not such crises in the history of every believer? Has not the Church of Christ, in her passage through this world, volumes of such to record? Some great work of the Lord is prospering when, suddenly, the one who is the very centre of it, on whom it all seems to hang, is taken away by death. Happy for those who have with them the presence of the true Elisha. They "sorrow not as others who have no hope." Their hope is in God.
4. But notice another truth in the reason given for this sorrow here: "Alas, master! for it was borrowed." The axe-head was not this man's own. It belonged to another. See how this applies to the believer. Like these sons of the prophets dwelling with Elisha, he dwells with Christ. Abiding in Him, he fully realizes that everything he possesses is only lent. It belongs to another, even God. It is just given him to use for his Master's glory, and nothing else. It is but the axe-head which is "borrowed."
5. But now observe what "a very present help" Elisha was: "And the man of God said, Where fell it?" This was all. All the responsibility now was Elisha's. So is it in the Christian's life. In all our circumstances the Lord is saying, "What is it? Tell Me." He is ever asking us to lay before Him these emergencies. He sends them for this purpose that we may "show Him the place." When this is done He will "undertake for you." You cannot bring up from the deep that that will fill your soul with joy, but He can. So it was here: "And Elisha cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim." The axe-head -- that which your soul needs, that which can alone enable you to make your way, the true Elisha can bring back to your soul. It may seem to you to be hopeless, lost in the fathomless deep; and a world that can see nothing beneath the surface may pity, and write despair on your hopes. But Elisha, Jesus, is with you. "Is anything too hard for the Lord?... I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm: and ye shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed." Oh, trust the Lord! With such assurances as these how can you doubt? He will undertake for you, and the lost hope shall "swim" again before your eyes. You shall "eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God."
6. Here is presented a picture of death and resurrection. In the axe-head down in the waters, we see man "dead in trespasses and sins," "far off" from God, a lost and ruined sinner. Who shall go down into the waters of death and bring him up? Jesus, He has done it. "All thy waves and thy billows have gone over Me," was His cry. Thus He went down to the depths, and brought up the poor lost one. In His death the sinner has died. In His resurrection the believer has "risen again from the dead."
7. "And he put out his hand, and took it." Faith is the hand. Have you indeed put it forth, and taken hold of Jesus for your soul? Is it religion with you or Jesus? Which?
Conclusion: I fathom to say it is Jesus, because religion cannot within itself save you. If you are depending on religion you will come up short every time, but, with Jesus and His grace your soul finds salvation. I’m sure that this is probably something you may never have thought of when reading this story in 2 Kings 6, but, God’s word has a scarlet thread that leads us to Jesus, and salvation.
Let’s pray: “Lord, please allow your Holy Spirit to speak to us through your Scriptures, and lead us to your will. Throughout your word we see your salvation, and your covenants, first in the Old Testament, and then a new covenant in the New Testament. Thank You for your grace, and saving knowledge, and also leads us in the paths of your righteousness. Lead us not unto temptations, and forgive of our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. I pray for your soon coming Kingdom. Use this as a witness for You, that souls may be convicted of their sins, and seek forgiveness from You. These thing I pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, and our Savior. Amen!”
Rev. Zack Martin Sr.