“Why Just Three Arrows?”
Are we limiting what the Eternal would do?
There’s an old, lesser known story in the Scriptures about Elisha and one of the kings which has intrigued me for years. Elisha was old and about to die. Joash, one of the righteous kings of the northern ten tribes of Israel, had come to pay his last respects apparently. Elisha asked King Joash to shoot an arrow out of an east window, and then explained that arrow symbolized victory over Syria at a future battle. Now let’s read what happened.
2 Kings 13:14-19
14 Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, "O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!"
15 And Elisha said to him, "Take a bow and some arrows." So he took himself a bow and some arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, "Put your hand on the bow." So he put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king's hands. 17 And he said, "Open the east window"; 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 you must strike the Syrians at Aphek till you have destroyed them."
[So Elisha had explained what the arrow symbolized.]
18 Then he [Elisha] said, "Take the arrows"; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, "Strike the ground"; so he struck three times, and stopped. 19 And the man of God was angry with him, and said, "You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times."
We can’t get into Joash’s head and see what he was thinking. Perhaps he didn’t understand what his action was depicting. Perhaps he lacked faith and wondered how he could crush Syria. We just don’t know. We do know this: instead of vanquishing Syria once and for all, he limited himself to three victories.
The point of this blog is simple: when Yahweh opens a door for us, let’s not be timid or small-minded in our thinking. Let’s not limit our true God who knows no limits. We can all fall into that trap at various times of our lives. We are His children, who are part of His HOUSE. My children are bold about claiming what I have, what I offer. So should we be.
Are we limiting the one Living God and what He wants to do in us, through us, with us? Remember even Yeshua could do virtually no mighty work in Nazareth, his home town, because of their unbelief (Mark 6:4-6). God works through faith, trust and belief. He often holds Himself back if we don’t believe mightily in His power (see Hebrews 4:2).
When you ask for something from Yahweh – especially when it’s for someone else and your request is being totally selfless – do we ask in a small way? For example:
If we’re asking Father to open up a job for an unemployed brother or sister, do we just ask for a job, or do we ask for a fabulous job with wonderful benefits and a great group of people to work with?
If we’re asking God our Healer to deliver someone from the bonds of illness, are we just asking for that specific condition? Do we ask boldly, or fall back to ―whatever your will is—and keep ourselves from a bold request? Remember when Jesus spoke those words in Gethsemane, He knew the divine purpose and will was that He be the sacrifice for all sin. Why not ask Father to heal anything else that isn’t quite right in that person’s body, to imbue him/her with untiring energy, a bright spirit and powerful health that could bring glory to our Father? Be bold, ask big.
I’m sure you can think of many more examples. Don’t limit God. He is limitless.
In Psalm 78:12-16, we read of some of the most astounding miracles ever seen by mankind, such as the waters of the Red Sea standing in a heap on either side, providing water from a split rock, providing shade and light in the pillar overhead. But Israel still questioned Yahweh’s ability to provide and this angered God. In Ps. 78:17-20, they got into the ―yeah, buts. ―Yeah, he parted the Red Sea, but can He provide food for this many people?. This was limiting the Eternal God. You can read all about it as you continue in Ps. 17:21-32.
It came down to limiting God, not having faith in His power or in His desire to use His power in our behalf. Do we ever see a miracle and then go into the ―yeah buts? We know He can work wonders and did do miracles here and there, but then doubt, limit and wonder if Yahweh would intervene in the same way for us? Doubting and limiting God go hand in hand.
How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, and grieved Him in the desert!
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
42 They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy,
That’s what I mean by limiting God.
When we have our open window of opportunity as King Joash had, don’t just strike the earth three times. Let’s not limit our request to three arrows. Let’s use all our arrows. Let’s think large. Let’s ask for big things. Believe Father really does want to do beyond what you can even imagine or conceive. Yes, even for you and me.
Can you imagine what God’s children could be involved in, if all of us would learn not to limit God – and watch Him work powerfully, to HIS glory? Ponder your prayer requests. Are they bold, and big – or timid and just going through the motions? Beware we’re not limiting our Maker, who knows no limits!
Let’s go for it! Going forward: don’t use just three arrows, when you have a whole quiver full of arrows you could use to release God’s power and glory.