07/18/10 Where Fell It?

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Sunday, July 18, 2010

Text: 2 Kings 6:1-7 (HCSB)

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

Intro: One might see this scripture as a reference too; how to deal with unexpected circumstances, opportunity to grow and mature, How to achieve maturity and even how to achieve God, speaks of conquest with a strong focus on the simple idea that every circumstance in life is a test. So is every circumstance in life a test? Whether good or bad, the circumstance gives us a unique opportunity to grow stronger in character and fruitfulness of life. Good circumstances give us - among other benefits - the opportunity to joy and rejoice in the Lord, giving thanks to God for the privilege of life. For every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights, the Lord Himself.

In contrast, bad circumstances give us the unique opportunity to be a good testimony to others, especially unbelievers. It is during theses times that we learn to conquer, rise above, and be victorious over whatever bad or evil thing has happened to us or is confronting us. In dealing with the bad circumstances of life, we must remember one truth: the power to permanently conquer is found in God Himself. The Lord alone has the power to infuse within us the strength to overcome any circumstance, no matter how devastating or evil. The Lord will even deliver us from the bondage of death itself, immediately transferring us into His presence to live with Him eternally in the new heavens and earth that is to come. God's power to help and defend His people through all the troubling circumstances of life is the practical subject of this Scripture. There is an astounding miracle in this text that demonstrates God's amazing power. This is: The Lost Ax Head Miraculously Recovered.

We read in 2 Kings Chapter 6 where Elisha visits the school for the prophets, while there he must deal with growing pains. The number of students had outgrown their building; interestingly enough there are some who are willing to head out to the forest for building materials (they were volunteer’s) one of the student workers has an accident, the borrowed axhead he had flies off the handle and lands in a stream and Elisha’s question: “Where fell it?”

Where fell it in your walk!

1. Do it with Diligence: Do it with attentiveness - “Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord.” Romans 12:11 (HCSB)

Do it well! Whatever we, as believers, do, we are to do it well and do it diligently. Whenever we undertake a task, we are to be faithful and complete the work. In our jobs and employment, we are to be committed. We are to be hardworking, conscientious, and steadfast, doing the very best work we can. It is a privilege to have a job and to have the health to perform the job - a privilege for which we should be thankful, a privilege that demands our very best. Yet think of all of the lazy, apathetic workers and all the sloppy work that goes on around us - all the people who think that society and others owe them a livelihood. Then think what a different society this would be if everyone were hardworking and did his or her very best, if every worker was diligent and steadfast at his or her employment. But it is not only our jobs and employment that concern God: it is every task we undertake in life. No matter what we put our hands to - whether employment or volunteer work or an activity that we freely undertake for our own benefit - God cares about how we approach the tasks. Never are we to be slothful, slacking and doing tasks halfheartedly. On the contrary, we are to be attentive and take an active interest in whatever task we undertake: we are to be industrious and persistent, pressing on until the work of our hands has been completed. And once the task has been finished, God will give us a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Listen to what God says about being diligent and hardworking: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23 (NLT)

“The slacker craves, yet has nothing, but the diligent is fully satisfied.” Proverbs 13:4 (HCSB)

Where fell it in your walk!

2. Do it with Dignity: Do it with self respect - he lost it but found it again. Elisha wasn’t only a traveling preacher and a miracle-working prophet, but he was also the overseer of several schools of the prophets where young men called to ministry were trained and encouraged.

But new growth brings new obligations, and the facilities at Jordan
had to be enlarged. Schools today would do fund-raising and hire architects and contractors, but in Elisha’s day, the students did the work. Not only that, but the leader of the school went with them and encouraged the work. Elisha had a shepherd’s heart and was willing to go with his flock and share their burdens. The Jewish people didn’t have hardware stores stocked with tools such as we have today. Iron tools were precious and scarce, which explains why the student had to borrow an ax so he could help prepare the timber. Not only were tools scarce, but they weren’t constructed with the strength and durability of our tools today. In fact, Moses gave a special law relating to damage that might result when an ax head flew off the handle, “If someone kills another person unintentionally, without previous hostility, the slayer may flee to any of these cities to live in safety. 5 For example, suppose someone goes into the forest with a neighbor to cut wood. And suppose one of them swings an ax to chop down a tree, and the ax head flies off the handle, killing the other person. In such cases, the slayer may flee to one of the cities of refuge to live in safety. Deuteronomy 19:4-5 (NLT)

So it must have happened frequently. If the law of borrowed animals also applied to borrowed tools, then that poor student would have to reimburse the lender for the lost axhead, and that would probably upset the budget for weeks to come. Without the axhead, the student couldn’t work and that would add to somebody else’s burdens. All in all, the sunken axhead caused a great deal of trouble. The student was quick enough to see where it fell and honest enough to report the accident to Elisha. The Jordan isn’t the cleanest river in the Holy Land and it would be very difficult for anybody to see the axhead lying at the bottom. The prophet didn’t “fish out” the axhead with a pole. He threw a stick into the water at the place where the axhead sank, and the Lord raised the iron axhead so that it floated on the surface of the river and could be picked up. It was a quiet miracle from a powerful God through a compassionate servant.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” Romans 12:11 (NLT)

Where fell it in your walk!

3. Do it with Dependence: Do it with confidence - “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17 (HCSB)

There are some spiritual applications that we can learn from this incident, and perhaps the first is that whatever we have has been “borrowed.” Paul asked, “And what do you have that you did not receive?”, and John the Baptist said: “John responded, “No one can receive a single thing unless it’s given to him from heaven.” John 3:27 (HCSB)

Whatever gifts, abilities, possessions, and opportunities we have are from God, and we will have to give an account of them when we see the Lord. This student lost his valuable tool while he was serving the Lord. Faithful service is important, but it can also be threatening, for we might lose something valuable even as we do our work. Moses lost his patience and meekness while providing water for the people, and David lost his self-control while being kind to his neighbor. God’s servants must walk carefully before the Lord and take inventory of their “tools” lest they lose something they desperately need.

The good news is that the Lord can recover what we have lost and put us back to work. If we lose our “cutting edge,” He can restore us and make us efficient in His service. The important thing is to know that you have lost it, and when and where you have lost it, and honestly confess it to Him. Then get back to work again!

Conclusion: While we’re on the subject of axes, Ecclesiastes offers some good counsel: “If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen its edge, then one must exert more strength; however, the advantage of wisdom is that it brings success.” Ecclesiastes 10:10 (HCSB)

The modern equivalent is, “Don’t work harder - work smarter.” Wisdom tells a worker to sharpen the tool before the work begins. But our text from Kings reminds us further to make sure that the sharp axhead is firmly set into the handle. Don’t work without a cutting edge and don’t lose your cutting edge.

Simply asking where the ax head had fallen into the river, Elisha set out to demonstrate God's power to help the faithful, diligent worker. He then cut a stick from a nearby bush, threw it into the water, and watched it quickly rise again to the surface, showing (symbolizing) what he wanted the ax head to do. Miraculously, the ax head floated to the top of the river just as the stick had done, and Elisha instructed the student to grab the ax head and lift it out.

SO! Where fell it in your walk!

Diligence
Dignity
Dependence

“Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (NLT)

Where fell your love, where fell your relationship with Christ? This stick can also remind us of a cross that was placed at Calvary and the person who was crucified on it and rose from the grave!

Let the power of God pick you up and place you in a position of work for the glory of God!



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