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Arrows

Do you consider yourself to be hardworking? Tolerant? Persistent? Every time I must do something hard or taxing, I have a mantra that I say to myself " I am a woman, I can do this!" Women must do hard things all the time and many times they are juggling multiple hard things simultaneously.


The gift of persistence is something we should all strive for. I see it a lot in athletes they keep at it until they perfect the art of the sport. Same thing with musicians, they keep at it until the sound mimics their vision. So, I will ask again dear reader, are you persistent?


King Jehoash (Joash) was not a persistent man. In 2 Kings 13, he meets with Elisha because the Syrian army had destroyed the Israel army to a few thousands. Out of fear, he cries out to Elisha saying the following. " O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof" 13:14. This was because according to verse 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." What was once a great army had been destroyed to a mere 10,000 soldiers.


Elisha hears him out and says to him,


"Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. 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. 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" 13:15-17.


What a promise! The interesting thing about this entire scenario is the fact that the reason Israel was in this predicament was because of idol worship. The chapter states that Joash did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So much so that there were Asherath poles and altars to other deities erected all over Israel. Because of this great evil the Lord handed them over to their enemy. I find it interesting that rather than Joash and the nation of Israel repenting and turning away from their wicked ways, they want the victory of God while maintaining their idols. We can read the prophecy Elisha gave Joash and claim it for ourselves. But God will not be mocked. He is a God of love and a God of righteous judgement. He has promised life to those that choose it and death for those who choose it.


We see the state of Joash's heart in the verses that follow. The bible says, "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. 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" 13:18-19.


There is a difference between someone that wants victory and someone that just does not want to lose anymore. The person that wants victory will stop at nothing until he has gained it. The one that just does not want to lose anymore will do exactly that - the bare minimum. This is the person who is okay with becoming second last because he is not the last.


When I read verse eighteen, I asked myself why did he only strike three? Elisha's anger tells me he had many more arrows left in the bow. The instructions were to smite the ARROWS - plural. He did it only three times? Why did he leave some in his quiver? Why did he stop? Truth be told, we are the same. I remember praying for God to break the soul tie I had with a boyfriend and tapping out when the soul tie existed after a few prayer attempts.


The instructions were to smite the arrows. That tells me I need to empty the quiver. Why was it important that he emptied the quiver? Because it determined whether he would be victorious or whether he just would not lose. Joash was given according to his faith. You, dear reader, will receive according to your faith. Deliverance will come according to your faith. The only admonition I have for you is, do not stop until each arrow has been struck to the ground.


This prophecy Is fulfilled we read, “And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad 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.” 13:25. He did not destroy Syria, but he was able to recover the cities of Israel. This is wonderful in itself. However, in comparison to total victory, it does not shine a candlelight. Why would you settle for recovery when you can annihilate the problem once and for all?


Keep at it. Be persistent. In Luke 11:5-8 Jesus says,


"And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth."


That word "importunity" is translated from the Greek word "anaideia" which means shamelessness, impudence, and persistence, especially to the point of annoyance. That is the requirement when it comes to exercising persistence in faith. We cannot afford to care what it looks like to others. We cannot be afraid to be termed fools. Do not be content with capturing a few cities when the enemy is still alive. He will take them into captivity again. Follow the instructions......smite the arrows.












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