The slowness of God’s processes against sinners must be construed to the honor of His mercy,
not to the impeachment of His justice (v. 23).
It is of the Lord’s mercies, that they are not consumed.
II Kings 1
1 In the three and twentieth year of Joash the son of Ahaziah king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned seventeen years.
2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.
3 ¶ And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael, all their days.
4 And Jehoahaz besought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them.
5 (And the LORD gave Israel a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime.
6 Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)
7 Neither did he leave of the people to Jehoahaz but fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing.
8 ¶ Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
9 And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead.
10 ¶ In the thirty and seventh year of Joash king of Judah began Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz to reign over Israel in Samaria, and reigned sixteen years.
11 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD; he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin: but he walked therein.
12 And the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, and his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
13 And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat upon his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.
14 ¶ Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.
15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows.
16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.
17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed.
19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.
20 ¶ And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
21 And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.
22 ¶ But Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz.
23 And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.
24 So Hazael king of Syria died; and Ben-hadad his son reigned in his stead.
25 And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. Three times did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel.
II Kings 1 – J. Vernon McGee
2 Kings 13:1-9 – Inglorious Ends
Disaster after disaster befell the nation. They had to learn that they had been chosen for a special service in the world and could not be as others. Yet amid these dark days, what gleams of light there were! The Lord hearkened (v. 4); he gave Israel a saviour (v. 5); he was gracious and had compassion and would not cast them from his presence (v. 23). Even when the Lord chastens us sore, he does not give us over unto death (Psalms 118:18). There is a “need-be,” but there is also a “thus-far-and-no-farther.”
2 Kings 13:10-25 – ”The Arrow of the LORD’s Deliverance.”
A good man is a great defense to his country. Mary, Queen of Scots, dreaded the prayers of Knox more than the armies of the king of France. Perhaps the king expected that Elisha also might pass home to God in a chariot of fire, as Elijah had done.
Notice how much Israel missed through the unbelief of her king. If only he had smitten five or six times, Syria would have been consumed; but he was content with striking ony three times. Let us not ask small things of God, or be content with a partial deliverance. Nothing pleases him more than to be greatly trusted. For those who ask and expect the most, he will always go beyond all that they ask or think. Strike on the ground, child of God, nor stay thy striking. Claim the absolute overthrow of the power of Satan, which antagonizes and resists the coming of the Kingdom. Claim the salvation of your fatherland from the tyranny of drink, gambling, and impurity! Open the windows heavenward and Godward; strike within and shoot without. It is not enough to do either without the other. And remember that unseen hands are empowering and guiding thine (Genesis 49:24)!
2 Kings 13:18—He smote thrice, and stayed.
A striking spectacle. The dying prophet, with his thin hands on the muscular hands of the young king, as he shoots his arrow through the eastern window; the exhortation to smite the remaining arrows on the ground; the bitter chiding that the king had struck thrice only, instead of five or six times! What lessons are here? The Lord Jesus put His hands upon ours. Here is the reverse to the incident referred to. Ours are weak, His are strong; ours would miss the mark, His will direct the arrows, if only we will allow Him, with unerring precision. We shoot, but the Lord directs the arrow’s flight to the heart of His foes.
Our success is commensurate with our faith. If we strike but thrice, we conquer but thrice. If we strike seven times, we attain a perfect victory over the adversary. Is not this the cause of comparative failure in Gospel effort? Souls are not saved because we do not expect them to be saved. A few are saved, because we only believe for a few. It is one of the most radical laws in the universe of God, and one which our Lord repeatedly emphasized, that our faith determines the less or more in our own growth, and in the victories we win for Christ. Do not stay, O soul-winner, but smite again and yet again in the secret of thy chamber, that thou mayest smite Satan, and compel him to acknowledge thy mite.
Let us not stay, though the energy of earlier days may be ebbing fast. The sanctified spirit waxes only stronger and more heroic, as Elisha’s and Paul’s did, amid the decay of mortal power., The Lord will say to us, as He did to Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9), “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
When men thought him dead, one of Elisha’s bones was worth a whole army of ordinary men. So, if we live with God, and for God, we, too, shall possess a deathless influence, and a spiritual immortality. Our lives will not cease with our funerals, but when men are saying, “He is dead” here, voices shall be calling yonder, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13). (Moody)