"Take the bow in your hands," he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king's hands."Open the east window," he said, and he opened it. "Shoot!" Elisha said, and he shot. "The LORD's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!" Elisha declared. "You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek. "Then he said, "Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped.The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times." 2 Kings 13:16-19
Arrows were carefully crafted. Carved out of wood, straightened with oil and heat, and fitted to the bow. With no Walmarts in Biblical days, it was certainly a resource to be used wisely. Opening a window and symbolically shooting an arrow (to the world that looks like a wasted arrow) would require some faith. First, the king of Israel had to be humble enough to do something that didn't make logical sense. I like to imagine Elisha giving this instruction to the king and it being followed by a long pause. The king would raise his eyebrows and look questioningly at Elisha as if to say, “Seriously?”. Placing God's wisdom above his own, he had to trust that this was God's instructions and that God had His reasons, even if the king didn't know what they were. Today God certainly still calls us to things, each according to our individual identities and purposes. Our first test is trusting that doing what God asks has a purpose, even if it seems pointless or like a waste of resources to our natural minds. Only after the king followed through and was obedient in faith did Elisha tell him the reason why God asked him to shoot the arrow. He would be given victory! A deep desire of the king's heart would be fulfilled.
Next Elisha tells him to symbolically strike the ground with arrows. This seems even sillier than the first command. BUT this time the king had already had the experience of shooting the arrow. Each time God calls us to the next thing, we must REMEMBER before we act. Remember how God led His people in the past. Remember all the ways God has personally come through for us in what seemed like hopeless solutions. Our remembering should pump us up!
Being called to write my first book, the publishing quote was more than our paycheck to paycheck life could even fathom taking on...essentially another mortgage for a quarter of a year. It made no logical sense to take this on. There was no guarantee of the outcome of publishing, and I have no insight on God's purposes for this book other than knowing that He called me to write it now. In remembering, however, a few short months ago I was facing a different financial mountain. I knew the Lord was calling me to join Missions.Me on their Nicaragua mission and had no idea how I would come up with multi-thousands of dollars. There were several little steps I had to take that were like the king shooting the arrow. I had to commit (still unsure of how it would come together). I had to resolve not to do it by my own power. I couldn't get a credit card or figure out an “earthly” way to accomplish it. I had to just trust God. I also had to act. The money did not just show up on my door until I took the step of being VULNERABLE (which is almost everyone's worst fear) and telling everyone I knew that I was going and to pray for funding to come in or even see if God put it on their heart to donate. Within days after a series of what can only be described as miraculous occurrences, I was fully funded. In remembering that experience, when God calls me to new daunting tasks, I remember with faith how God got me through the last one.
Faith will always take action- even if that action is waiting or praying- it is behaving as if we believe what God has said is true and will happen. Whenever we ACT or DO something in line with a calling, and it is uncertain HOW what God said will come to pass, the enemy comes in with the nasty doubting whisper of “What if you don't make it?”, “What will people think of you?”, “What will people think of God?”, or “Are you sure this is what God said?” (same argument he used with Eve in the Garden in Genesis 3:1).
As the king knelt to the ground to strike the ground with the arrows, I can't help but wonder if he was paying more attention to the whispers of the enemy or the remembrance of God. He DID strike the ground, but he only struck it three times. It's like Peter walking on water. He stepped out in faith, but then a shift of focus to doubts immediately made him start sinking (Matt 14:30). We want to dip our toe in the water, but not go so far out of the limb of faith that IF it doesn't work we sink. I can relate all to well to this. God is gently coaxing us. When He says strike the arrow, go all in. Strike it with passion until He says stop. When He says step on to the waves, step all out. You can trust your Creator is GOOD. When you follow His voice (and make sure it IS His voice), you stand to gain miraculous experiences. EXPECT good things. When we expect to fail, we do not step out in faith. Expect the miraculous. Expect God to show up.