A Floating Axhead and a Foiled Army
In this text, we have two stories of woe. Two of the main characters in the story—the student and Elisha’ assistant—use the same words when confronted by trouble. They both say “Alas” (cf. vss. 5, 15), an exclamation indicating pain. Something unexpected has happened that is causing anxiety and concern, and there does not seem to be any solution.
In the case of the student, he’d lost something valuable that he’d borrowed. The concern for him was that this loss would cost him a lot of money that he didn’t have. In the case of Elisha’s servant, the concern for him was the potential loss of life. The Syrian army surrounded the city, and it looked like the end was near.
So the concerns here are the loss of money and the loss of life. Do these things ever concern us today? Have you been watching the news lately? Do we have any reason to fear the loss of money or the loss of life? Certainly. Many people have recently lost either money or life or both. We live in perilous times, and during such times it’s easy to become worried or anxious over events that we cannot control.
This passage shows us that God provides solutions for both personal accidents and public emergencies. God intervenes directly to help individuals and to help entire communities. God is with us and will help us solve our problems, whether they are fairly mundane ones or issues of life and death. God is both powerful and compassionate to work on behalf of those who fear him.
Elisha’s servant said, “Alas, my master; what shall we do?” This passage shows us what to do when accidents and emergencies happen to us. In such times, we trust God, obey his word, and we look to him for deliverance. God is powerful and can provide unusual solutions to our problems.
Let’s see what we can learn about God’s provision for our problems from these two episodes in the life of Elisha.