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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Stopping Short

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

In 2 Kings 13:14-19, the prophet Elisha was suffering with the illness from which he was to die. Jehoash, King of Israel, went to visit him in one final audience, weeping over him. As one of his last prophetic instructions, Elisha told the king to get a bow and some arrows and when the king did so, Elisha put his hands over the king’s hands. He then instructed him to open the east window and shoot the Lord’s arrow of victory over the enemy, declaring complete destruction of Aram. The ancient custom in that day was to shoot an arrow toward or into the enemy’s country as a statement of intent to invade and as a symbol of coming victory. Next, Elisha instructed him to take the arrows and strike the ground. To Elisha’s dismay, the king only struck the ground three times, stopping short of the five or six times that would have ensured complete destruction. We later see the fulfillment of this in verses 24-25 where the king had three victories over the Syrians. His victory over his enemies was curtailed.

This passage underscores our need to move from a “just enough” response and instead bring our full hearts to the Lord every time, every assignment he gives us. His desire for us is not partial victory, but fullness because he is already victorious. There are strategic moments in partnering with him when our faith and our directed action open the door for that victory. Spurgeon said of this passage: “Reflect what great things may lie in a man’s hand.”

Our choices have such potency when we direct our will to the will of the Father. When Elisha placed his hand over the king’s hands we see a picture of God’s powerful engagement with us. As we take up the instruments he instructs us, moving by his Spirit in the way he indicates, his presence covers and empowers us. Our full engagement brings us to great possibilities. Our half-hearted responses bring us to only a measure of what he intends. So let’s move forward and not stop short of our victory!


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