Go The Distance for God 2 Kings 13:4-6, 14-19, 24-25 (HCSB) July 18, 2004

4 Then Jehoahaz sought the Lord's favor, and the Lord heard him, for He saw the oppression the king of Aram inflicted on Israel. 5 Therefore, the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, and they escaped from the power of the Arameans. Then the people of Israel dwelt in their tents as before, 6 but they didn't turn away from the sins that the house of Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. Jehoahaz walked in them, and the Asherah pole also remained standing in Samaria.

14 When Elisha became sick with the illness that he died from, Jehoash king of Israel went down and wept over him and said, "My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!" 15 Elisha responded, "Take a bow and arrows." So he got a bow and arrows. 16 Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, "Put your hand on the bow." So the king put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king's hands. 17 Elisha said, "Open the east window." So he opened it. Elisha said, "Shoot!" So he shot. Then Elisha said, "The Lord's arrow of victory, yes, the arrow of victory over Aram. You are to strike down the Arameans in Aphek until you have put an end to them." 18 Then Elisha said, "Take the arrows!" So he took them, and he said to the king of Israel, "Strike the ground!" So he struck the ground three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times. Then you would have struck down Aram until you had put an end to them, but now you will only strike down Aram three times."

24 King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became king in his place. 25 Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz took back from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the cities that Hazael had taken in war from Jehoash's father Jehoahaz. Jehoash defeated Ben-hadad three times and recovered the cities of Israel. (HCSB)

Introduction
Do you see people today professing faith in Christ one week, and then not seeing them in church until several weeks later? I really like to see people make a commitment one Sunday and then witness them showing up hungry to receive from the Word the very next time the church opens. Some seem to only want a part time commitment, and they do not want to go with the Lord all the way. Too few have seen the kind of commitment the Bible calls for us to give. It is possible for us to demonstrate the proper kind of commitment. The lesson emphasizes a commitment to the Lord that will Go The Distance.
 

1.    The . . Paradox Toward Going The Distance for God. Vs. 4-6

        A.    A Paradox In God's . . Mercy. Vs 4-5

            1.    A Paradox In The . . Abundance of God's Mercy. v 4a
                    4 Then Jehoahaz sought the Lord's favor, and the Lord heard him,

            2.    A Paradox In The . . Awareness of God's Mercy. v 4b
                    "for He saw the oppression the king of Aram inflicted on Israel.

            3.    A Paradox In The . . Appointment of God's Mercy. v 5
                5 Therefore, the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, and they escaped from the power of the
                Arameans.  Then the people of Israel dwelt in their tents as before,

        B.    Paradox In The People's . . Morality. s 6

            1.    Paradox In The Morality Involving The People's . . Sins. v 6a
                6 but they didn't turn away from the sins that the house of Jeroboam had caused Israel
                to commit.

            2.    Paradox In The Morality Involving The Asherah . . Standing. v 6b
                Jehoahaz walked in them, and the Asherah pole also remained standing in Samaria.

    Our God remains a merciful God, even if we are indifferent. The text tells of an unfaithful king who never the less sought God's mercy. Since God is abundant in mercy He granted it to the king. God's awareness of the need certainly proceeded the kings request, but God prompts us to ask, and works accordingly. Included in His mercy He appointed a deliverer. I see a paradox as our Lord responded in spite of the people's indifference. Then there is a paradox in the people's actions after God gives victory. The morality of the people did not reflect appreciation for God's deliverance. The Asherah were left standing as a symbol of idolatrous worship and all kinds of sexual perversion. How does this relate to our day? Have you heard some Christian people talk of how they will vote on August 3rd? To me it seems some today do not Go The Distance.
 

2.    The . . Prophecy Toward Going The Distance for God. Vs. 14-19

        A.    The . . Commendation of the Prophet Behind the Prophecy. V 14
            14 When Elisha became sick with the illness that he died from, Jehoash king of Israel went
            down and wept over him and said, "My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!"

        B.    The . . Custom Behind the Prophecy. Vs 14-18
            15 Elisha responded, "Take a bow and arrows." So he got a bow and arrows. 16 Then Elisha
            said to the king of Israel, "Put your hand on the bow." So the king put his hand on it, and Elisha
            put his hands on the king's hands. 17 Elisha said, "Open the east window." So he opened it.
            Elisha said, "Shoot!" So he shot.  Then Elisha said, "The Lord's arrow of victory, yes, the arrow
            of victory over Aram. You are to strike down the Arameans in Aphek until you have put an end
            to them." 18 Then Elisha said, "Take the arrows!" So he took them, and he said to the king of
            Israel, "Strike the ground!" So he struck the ground three times and stopped.

        C.    The . . Commitment Behind the Prophecy. v 19
            19 The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or
            six times. Then you would have struck down Aram until you had put an end to them, but now
            you will only strike down Aram three times."

    Some commentators indicate a period of forty to fifty years between this encounter with Elisha and the previous time he was mentioned (Life Application Bible says at least 43 years). The king wanted him to be alive so he could come to him when he needed him. Elisha does not seem to be flattered by the king's remarks. The shooting of arrows into someone's country represented a threat, or promise, of war. Elisha prophesied the future victory of the Israel's king over Aram. To strike the ground represented how pronounced the victory would be, and the king of Israel responded meekly. A failure to deal several blows in a symbolic manner affected the prophecy related to the future conquering.
 

4.    The . . Performance of the Prophecy Toward Going The Distance for God. Vs. 24-25

        A.    Prophecy Performed Through The . . Changing of Kings. v 24
            24 King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became king in his place.

        B.    Prophecy Performed Through The . . Conquering of Kings. v 25a
            25 Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz took back from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the cities that
            Hazael had taken in war from Jehoash's father Jehoahaz.

        C.    Prophecy Performed Through The . . Counting of Kings. v 25b
            Jehoash defeated Ben-hadad three times and recovered the cities of Israel.

    God caused the victory to take place through the changing of kings. God can remove any obstacle He
deems necessary in performing His prophecies. The prophecy continues to be performed as the king counts the times he defeated Ben-hadad, and then recovers the cities of Israel. This illustrates for all of us the benefits a commitment to the Lord that will Go The Distance. Amen? Amen!