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. He lived in a time of wickedness. But there was still some which worshipped the Lord. He would travel around and gather them and preach to them. But now, after years of ministry to Israel, Elisha is dying.
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.
(Notice the wonderful names he calls Elisha! Had he really thought that way, this would not have been his last call,….but the first.)
God had not forsaken Israel,…….yet…..for God knows when enough is enough.
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 get the help of Elisha. Maybe Elisha would seek God and get deliverance for Israel.
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 through with this king. God was going to require subjection to His Word, from 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.
One arrow shot, with his hands covered with the hands of the prophet, was enough for the promise of victory, from God.
(Wasn’t that what Elisha had been doing for the whole nation? Covering them from complete judgement from God?)
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 was humbling?
Would he pound the ground with the arrows, like he was fighting the Syrians because God said so?
Bending down and striking the ground? What good would that do?
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 finally submit to God, but to get something from Him.
God was telling him to do something which seemed demeaning.
The king had said the right words, he had finally come to the right place; wasn’t that honor enough?
No. Real honor to God is doing what He says, no matter how it looks.
Oh sure, he would fight the battles which God would give him victory in; but pound upon the ground with arrows, 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 soon 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 over his worst enemy!
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, only his hand was on the arrows, which were to strike the ground.)
How important our diligence is, in our walk with Jesus Christ.
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.
What about us, as Christians?
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 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, but the diligence to obey Him, comes from our hand.
Do, and I will strength you.
Speak, and I will give your words weight.
Stand with Me, and I will encircle you with peace and courage.
We must take God at His Word, and diligently “keep” our hearts for Him.