“Elisha told him, ‘Go and get a bow and some arrows.’ The king brought him the bow and arrows. Then he told the king, ‘Put your hand on the bow.’ He put his hand on the bow. Then Elisha put his hand over the hand of the king. Elisha said, ‘Now open the east window.’ He opened it. Then he said, ‘Shoot!’ And he shot. ‘The arrow of God’s salvation!’ exclaimed Elisha. ‘The arrow of deliverance from Aram! You will do battle against Aram until there’s nothing left of it. Now pick up the other arrows,’ said Elisha. He picked them up. Then he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground.’ The king struck the ground three times and then quit. The Holy Man became angry with him: ‘Why didn’t you hit the ground five or six times? Then you would beat Aram until he was finished. As it is, you’ll defeat him three times only’.” 2 Kings 13:15-19 (MSG)
Have you ever been so close to something but missed out on it? A few years ago on a trip to Los Angeles, we wanted to make sure to see all of the landmarks, including the Hollywood sign. Through a series of events, two hours at night were spent driving around trying to find it. We ended up driving up near the actual sign but never saw it. Looking back, we were probably so close that we could have gotten out of the car and walked to it, but we didn’t know. In life, sometimes we give up on the victory even though we are closer than we realize.
The King of Israel came to Elisha, as Elisha was approaching the end of his life. The King of Israel had not been obedient to follow God through his reign as King. Yet, when the King came to visit Elisha, Elisha had specific instructions for him. He was to shoot arrows out the window and strike the ground with them. The arrows represented God’s deliverance from their enemies. When the King was instructed to strike the ground with the other arrows, he did it three times and quit. The moment that he quit was the moment that the complete victory against Aram was forsaken. What would God have done if he hadn’t quit? And, what can God do in your situation if you don’t give up? I wonder how many times we are at the edge of seeing a miracle happen in the battles that we face but instead we lay down our arrows and quit. Maybe we tried to trust God for that job, that family member to come back to the Lord, or the provision we needed. Yet, instead of letting our faith increase, it has been tossed around by the realities of the circumstances. Maybe it even seems that it is all over, that the battle has been finished, and you are on the losing side. It is time to pick up the arrows and keep fighting. Maybe part of the victory lies in not giving up. So, as you struggle to make sense of your situation, don’t quit. The victory God wants to give you might be closer than you realize.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.