Summary: The sin that weighs us down is like the weight of iron that made the axe sink. The power of the Cross is that "wooden stick" that helps us float again.
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Pastor James May
Tonight I want to relate to you one of the strangest, and in reality, one of the least mentioned miracles of the Old Testament. I have been in Pentecostal churches for over 50 years now but I cannot remember more than a very few times that this incident was referred to in a message behind the pulpit. Perhaps its because, on the surface, this miracle doesn’t seem to have much meaning for our modern society.
I must admit that I have read this story a number of times and I have never been led to minister on the subject until now. It seems that the Holy Ghost has opened my eyes to see just a little of what this story has to say to us right now. The Holy Bible is truly the living word of Almighty God and there are times when we are ready to receive what it has to say and other times when the meaning just simply evades us.
It’s not that God hides His word or makes it a secret in any fashion for it is His perfect will that we know and understand His Word. The problem is that we are not always spiritually awake and our heart and mind is not focused enough to grasp what is being taught to us. Even when we do grasp it, there is so much more that remains somewhat obscure and we can learn multiple lessons from every passage each time we read it.
So why do we read passages from the Old Testament anyway? What do things that happened with Israel and the Prophets from thousands of years ago have to do with us right here and right now?
1 Corinthians 10:6, "Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted."
1 Corinthians 10:11, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
So let us begin. Open your Bibles to the Book of II Kings chapter 6, verses 1 thru 7.
2 Kings 6:1-7, "And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it."
Isn’t this a strange story? It seems out of place but, of course, we know that God’s Word always has a design and He knows exactly what He wanted written and when He wanted it written.
Why does this seem out of place? After all, we have just finished reading the story of Naaman’s healing in the previous chapter. II Kings chapter 5 ends with the faithful servant of Elisha, named Gehazi, who has greatly sinned and accepted gifts from Namaan after Elisha had refused to be paid for the miracle of healing of leprosy.
Because of his sin, Gehazi was judged and the leprosy the Namaan had lost was then transmitted to him. He received the sentence of death from leprosy and went from the presence of Elisha to live out his remaining days in separation from the presence of the prophet and from the presence of the Lord.