The sons of the prophets needed a larger place to live, so they went to the Jordan to get beams with which to build a dwelling place. Elisha went with them, and they cut down trees. In the process, the iron ax head fell into the water, and the one cutting the tree cried out in distress, for the ax was borrowed. Elisha asked where it fell in, cut off a stick and threw it in the water, and the ax head floated. Elisha told the man, “Pick it up for yourself,” and he did.
After this, the Syrians sought to make war against Israel. He gave his battle plan to his advisors, and God led Elisha to tell the king of Israel not to go to the place the Syrian army would be camped. It troubled the king of Syria that he could not catch the king of Israel and bemoaned the fact, thinking that there was a traitor in his army. However, one of his servants said that Elisha knows what you say, even in your bedroom. The king of Syria sent for Elisha in Dothan. He sent horses and chariots and a great army, and they surrounded Elisha. His servant arose early and went out and saw the army surrounding the city. He ran back in to Elisha distraught, but Elisha just told him, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed that his eyes may be opened. The the young man saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. Elisha prayed that the Syrians be struck, and they were blinded. He then led the blinded soldiers into Samaria, where he prayed for them to see again. The king of Israel asked if he should kill them, and Elisha told him to feed them and send them home. When they did, the Syrians raiders no longer came into the land of Israel.
What powerful stories these are! The story of the ax head speaks to me in a few thoughts. First, it appears that Elisha so influenced the land that the sons of the prophets grew in number to the point that they needed a bigger dwelling place. Are we, as Christians and ministers, replicating ourselves by winning new souls and training the called for ministry? Raise up a new generation behind you that can fill you spot when you are gone, and can minister alongside you while you are here. Secondly, don’t freak out when adversity hits you or your house. God can make the ax head float if necessary to provide for you. God can work a miracle in your life if you believe and obey. Many Christians that I have known personally have seen miraculous hearings, deliverances, and provision come in a time of crisis. God is able!
The story of the blinded Syrian army is a picturesque story of protection and victory that reminds us of two things: we do not fight in our own strength, but in the strength of the Lord, and His power is miraculous and unlimited. When the enemy comes against you, will you be the frightened servant, or the bold prophet? May the spirit of Elisha rise up in every man or woman of God and cause us to see that the human eye cannot see. Help us to see the angel army with chariots and horses of fire camped on the mountain of our battle!