“And he said, ‘Take the arrows.’ And he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground with them.’ And he struck three times and stopped. Then the man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it. But now you will strike down Syria only three times.'”
-2 Kings 13:18–19
There’s a lot to explain in this chapter, in these two verses. But the bottom line is that God would give to Joash, the king here, God would give to Joash according to Joash’s faith and obedience. What Joash does is, he strikes the ground three times. And this prophet says to him, “If you would have struck the ground five or six times, you would have been given complete victory over Syria. But because you didn’t, because you stopped short in your faith and obedience, you will miss out on the fullness of the blessing God desired for you.”
Can I just repeat that again, as we think about that picture in our own lives? Because Joash stopped short in his faith in God and obedience to God, he missed out on the fullness of blessing from God. This is a reality we see all throughout Scripture: according to our faith and obedience, it will be given to us. And so we pray, in light of Second Kings chapter 13 verses 18 and 19, God help our unbelief. Lord, help us to believe, to trust in you fully, to ask for the fullness of your blessing, to believe you desire to give it, and to obey you in anticipation of it. God, we pray that you would help each one of us in our relationships with you not to stop short of all that you are calling us to do, of all that you are calling us to trust you with.
I think about different circumstances specifically in my life over the last week, where you have been calling me to deeper faith, to deeper trust and to deeper obedience. God, I pray for this in my life, in my family, in the church I’m a part of, God, help us to trust you completely and to obey you fully. God, I pray for this over every single person listening right now. Lord, help us to live by faith today, help us not to trust in ourselves, help us to trust in you with all our heart, lean not on our own understanding, in all of our ways to acknowledge you, in all of our ways to abide in you, in all of our ways to obey you. And we pray that you would make our paths straight, that we would experience the fullness of your blessing in our lives. Oh God, may we not miss out on your blessing because of lack of faith, lack of trust in you, may we not miss out on your blessing because of a lack of obedience to you. God, please help us, as the old hymn says, to trust and obey fully.
God, even as we pray for unreached people around the world, we pray for Swahili Arabs, God, we believe, we trust, you have sent your son to purchase people from the Swahili Arab people group. God, we pray that you would draw them to yourself, that you would send out laborers, we’re asking in faith, send out laborers to work among them, particularly those in Oman, where there are no followers of Jesus. God, we pray that you would bring salvation. We ask this in faith and we pray that you would lead us, guide us in our lives, our families, and our churches, to however you want to use our lives and families and churches to make the gospel known among people who’ve never heard it.
God, help us to live with faith in you and obedience to you today in all that you call us to do, in all that you call us to believe about who you are and how you will provide. Oh, God, help us to experience the fullness of your blessing, to lead others to experience the fullness of your blessing, your grace, your mercy, through faith in you, trust in you, in obedience to you. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.