Preaching, Teaching, and Notes

Diligence

Diligence is eager, earnest doing; till the job is done.

2 Kings 13:14 “And 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.”

Elisha was a prophet of God to Israel.  

And the king of Israel came down to him,  to get some sorely needed help.

Assyria was their bitter enemy,  who had destroyed most of their army;  and had taken cities away from Israel.

Israel’s king was not godly;  he had followed the sins of Israel’s kings before him, and kept the worship of two golden idols.     

God had not forsaken Israel,   yet.      He had a remnant in Israel, under Elisha, called the sons of the prophets, who still followed Him.

But the king needed help, and what he was doing was not working.

So the king came down to seek the help of Elisha.

2 Kings 13:15-17 “And Elisha said unto him,  Take bow and arrows.   And he took unto him bow and arrows.

                               And he said unto the king of Israel,  Put thy 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 Apek,  till thou hast consumed them.”

Hurrah, a promise of deliverance!  And it was so simple.  Just shoot an arrow; a very manly, kingly thing to do! 

But wait;  God was not yet through with this king.

2 Kings 13:18 “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.”

This was not very manly, or kingly;  and he had gotten the promise already.   What was he doing  hitting the ground?     

Well, he would humor the old guy,  but why do this, he could not see.

His lack of diligence (the eager, earnest doing, till complete) cost him.

For God was going to require subjection to His Word from this king.

One arrow shot, with his hands covered with the hands of the prophet, was enough for the promise of victory.  

(Wasn’t that what Elisha had been doing for the whole nation?  Covering them from complete judgement from God, for their idolatry?)

But now,  something more was going to be required from the king and his nation.   Elisha was dying, and with him, a great deal of “covering” was gone.

Would the king subject himself to God’s Word and do what seemed tedious?

Would he pound the ground with the arrows, like he was fighting the Syrians?

Diligence is eager, earnest doing; till the job is done.

But the king had no real diligence.   He wanted promises from Elisha’s God, not instructions in perseverance.   

He had not come to learn that God was going to require something from his hand.

Oh sure,  he would fight the battles which God would give him victory in;  but pound upon the ground in obedience to God’s Word?   

No,  that was not for him.    After all he was a king. 

(How often we are the same way.   We want promises:  which God is glad to give.   But to do the work of praying for them, and being obedient everyday for them;  we would rather not.   How often our enthusiasm disappears!)

2 Kings 13:19 “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 hast consumed it:  whereas now thou wilt smite Syria but thrice.”

Think of it!   Two or three more times, was all he had to do to get complete victory.

But now,  he would have victory—as God promised;  but only three times.      The amount of times he hit the ground.   

The effort he showed there,  would be the victories the Lord would give!

(Remember, it was only his hand on the arrows which were to strike the ground.)

How important our diligence is,   in our walk with Christ Jesus.

We are not kings,  yet,   are we  like Joash here,  incomplete in what God has given us to do?

You could say he was not diligent   because of unbelief,   or not wanting to humble himself under the Word of God.             Or for a number of reasons;  but in the end,  God would not honor him, more than he was willing to be diligent.

Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence;  for out of it are the issues of life.”

In other words,  with your own hands,  hold on to the affections and emotions which come out of your heart, like the reins of a horse—so they will not run away with you.

The Lord will give us victory,  He will empower us.     But we must use it;    the diligence comes from our hand.

We must take God at His Word, and diligently “keep” our hearts for Him.

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