Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from August 24-30 are provided by Kate Moon who serves as a missionary in E. Asia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
2 Kings 13:18-19: “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.’”
When two people are on the same wavelength, communication doesn’t happen in so many words. It’s almost not even communication; they’re just thinking the same way. We see this happen particularly among awesome teams playing Pictionary or Guesstures: They draw one line and their team guesses “Flagpole!”, make one motion and it’s “Periscope!” We think, How do they do that?” since not much communication seemed to have taken place. But what is actually happening is a history of relationship coming into play–all the shared experiences, inside jokes –and at a critical moment, it all comes together.
In the passage above we can imagine the king saying, “Why didn’t you tell me it took five or six times?” He seems to have a point. How could Elisha expect the king to know? This wasn’t something you asked someone to do every day; there was no precedent to go by. Elisha would have had no grounds to reply, “Who strikes the ground only three times and stops?” Yet somehow he had just expected the king to know.
Earlier we see that the king probably didn’t have the greatest relationship with God (v.11) – most likely no regular communication or life experiences where he got a sense of who God was, how God spoke to him, how He worked in certain situations, and what were His ways. He had no experiential knowledge of God. Neither would Bible knowledge have helped the king to know how many times was enough. The culmination of a history of doing what was right in God’s eyes—this was what had been required at that moment. But he couldn’t sense the Spirit’s nudging, “Keep striking the ground, keep striking . . . no, not yet, don’t stop, yet,” because he hadn’t had a regular practice of listening and obeying. And in the end, he could not fully step into God’s true desire for him and the nation, which was the complete and total victory over Aram (v.17).
Directions for how to handle many things we face in life are not spelled out explicitly in the Bible, and often when God asks us to do something rather big, there are no precedents. Yet if we’ve cultivated our relationship with God, when the moment comes, we’ll find that we’ll know just what is required. It will be because we’re in tune with Him, because hearing His voice and responding to it in obedience has become a habit of ours—almost reflex. So take heart and continue to make building your relationship with God the highest priority; at a critical moment, it is what will help you make the right choice and step into all that He has for you.
Prayer: Lord, I determine to make You my highest priority in life. Even though I may be busy, help me to persevere in building my relationship with You by having a regular time of reading Your word, praying, and obeying Your voice. And give me wisdom to make the choices that honor You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 7