Devotional Week 4 Wednesday
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.
Psalm 138: 7
“It is very helpful to make a habit of offering, morning by morning, the troubles of the day just beginning, to our dear Lord, accepting His will in all things, especially in all little personal trials and vexations…Some such habit as this is a great check to that terrible hindrance of the spiritual life which, terrible though it be, is so apt to steal upon many good and earnest souls – a complaining, grumbling, self-pitying spirit.”
H. L. Sidney Lear
Today’s Study Text:
“And Elisha said, ‘Open the window to the east.’ And (King Jehoash) opened it. Then Elisha said, ‘Shoot.’ And he shot. And (Elisha) said, ‘The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria. For you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek till you have destroyed them.’”
II Kings 13: 17
“Of Bows and Arrows” Part 3
“The Arrow of Victory”
“We live on a broken planet, fallen far from God’s original intent. It takes effort to remember who we are, God’s creation, and faith to imagine what we someday will be, God’s triumph.”
Why do I think Elisha was able to speak the prophetic words over the wayward King Jehoash, ‘The Lord’s arrow of victory’?
What was it that Elisha saw that the king could not see?
“The victory lies not with us, but with Christ, who hast taken on Him both to conquer for us and to conquer in us.”
“God’s victories are won only on the battlefield of the human heart.”
With bow and arrow in the possession of the King of Israel, Elisha instructed the young man to open the window in his room. Interestingly, the Bible provides us with a specific detail. Elisha told the king to open the window “to the east.” Potentially there may have been other windows on the other walls in the room. Why was it the window which provided an eastern view was the one to be opened? In studying about this particular event, I found it enlightening to learn that the view out the eastern window faced toward the Jordan River and beyond to the cities which had been captured by the Syrians. The fact is that God was using His faithful prophet Elisha, even in the sunset years of his life, to deliver a message of hope to King Jehoash. In all the commentaries I dug through, no one lays out this experience as well as author Matthew Henry: “Elisha gave the king great assurance of his success against the Syrians, Israel’s present oppressors, and Elisha encouraged the king to prosecute the war against the Syrians with vigor…The king looked upon Elisha as the great bulwark of the kingdom of Israel. The king depended upon Elisha for his blessings and prayers in his designs against Syria. ‘Well,’ says Elisha, ‘if the Syrians be the cause of your grief, let not that trouble thee, for thou shalt be victorious over the Syrians when I am in my grave…To animate the king against the Syrians, Elisha give him a sign…shoot an arrow towards Syria…because the arrow now to be shot was to have its significance from the divine, the king received the words of command from the prophet…Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands, to signify that in all expeditions against the Syrians he must look up to God for direction and strength. The king must reckon his own hands not sufficient, but go on in a dependence upon divine aid…The Syrians had made themselves masters of the country that lay eastward, therefore the arrow was directed east. (This was) a commission to the king to attack the Syrians, not withstanding their power and possession…It was the arrow of God’s deliverance from Syria. It is God that commands deliverance; and He will effect it, for who can hinder?”
What a tremendous blessing this story from long ago is in your life and mine today. In the battles of our lives, when the “Syrians” are encamped around us or have seemingly captured some “city” in our life, if our deliverance was dependent on our human strength, I don’t think a one of us would be able to do battle effectively on our own.
Thank God that victory in the spiritual warfare in this world is not reliant on my individual strength for if it was, I’d have to throw in the towel before I entered the battle. How I love the words of the Apostle Paul to the Christian Church in Corinth: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15: 57, K.J.V.).
King Jehoash and his weak, unprepared army were no match for the Syrians with their chariots and horses. The Israelites at the Red Sea, trapped between the water and Pharaoh’s immense army, didn’t stand a chance from all outward appearances either. But hold on! God says to us, “With just a minute! You aren’t the Deliverer, I am. And when victory comes, you will be down on your knees, glorifying Me!” These words penned by Brother Andrew make me want to shout for joy: “God is neverdefeated. Though He may be opposed, attacked, resisted, still the ultimate outcome can never be in doubt.”
You may feel that the problems you face will completely overwhelm you. I encourage you to open the window of faith in your own life and take up what God has put in your hand to do. Then ask for those strong hands of victory to be placed upon your weak hands of defeat. Feel that strength? It’s your Father’s strength – and your victory and mine is assured as we rest in His power. In the words of William Ward, “God wants us to be victors, not victims; to grow, not grovel; to soar, not sink; to overcome, not to be overwhelmed.”
“Elisha said, ‘Now open the east window,’ He opened it.
Then (Elisha) said, ‘shoot!’ And he shot!
‘The arrow of God’s salvation,’ exclaimed Elisha.
‘The arrow of deliverance.’”
II Kings 13: 17
The Message Bible
“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41: 10,
“For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.”
I John 5: 4
Our Affirmation today contains a “backstory.” John Henry Yates penned the words to what was to become a well-known old hymn, “Faith Is The Victory” inspired by the passage above – 1 John 5: 4. John Yates had several jobs over the years – a shoe salesman, a newspaper editor and hardware store manager. Finally in 1886 he accepted his calling as a pastor. It was after this point in his life that he met Ira D. Sankey, the song leader for Evangelist D. L. Moody. It was Ira Sankey who encouraged John Yates to spend time writing gospel hymns. Pastor Yates would pen words and then send them off to the musically talented Ira Sankey who wrote the accompanying music. As a young girl I can remember my dad singing our Affirmation with his melodic tenor voice. The combination of the words and music makes this particular old hymn an inspiration indeed.
Faith is The Victory
“Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies;
Against the foe in vales below,
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.
His banner over us is love,
Our sword the word of God;
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod;
By faith they, like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field,
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.
On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array;
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray;
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble beneath our tread,
And echo with our shout.
To those that overcome the foe,
White raiment shall be given;
Before the angels they shall know
Their name confessed in heaven;
Then onward from the hills of light,
Our hearts with love aflame;
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus conquering name.
Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory;
O, glorious victory,
That overcomes the world.”
Reverend John H. Yates
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus