One wonders at the relationship between Jehoash and Elisha. Jehoash, according to this passage did evil in the eyes of the Lord and continued the idol worship of his father and the kings before him.
But still, there seemed to be some respect and even love for Elisha. As Elisha lay dying, he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel.” These were in fact the same words that Elisha had used when Elijah was taken from him. (II Kings 2:12)
One would think that if Jehoash had truly respected and loved Elisha, he would’ve followed his advice completely. But he didn’t.
And now, Elisha told him to shoot out an arrow, and as he did, Elisha said, “This shows that you will have victory over Aram.”
Then he said, “Strike the ground with the arrows.”
One wonders how Jehoash responded when he heard this. Perhaps he was puzzled as to why Elisha said this, and so he may have just hesitantly struck the ground three times. And Elisha got angry with him, saying, “You should have struck it 5 or 6 times. Then you would’ve completely destroyed Aram. Now you will only defeat them three times.”
And that’s what happened. Jehoash, with God’s help, was able to defeat the Arameans three times and recapture some of the towns that his father Jehoahaz had lost.
But Jehoash’s response to Elisha mirrored his attitude toward God. There seemed to be some respect there. Perhaps even some affection. But he refused to give his whole heart to God and his Word. If anything, there was a half-hearted obedience to God’s word. And the result was a reign and a life that was far less than what God desired for him. He could’ve accomplished a lot more had he committed his whole heart to God, but he didn’t.
How about you? Have you given your whole heart to God? Have you committed yourself to obeying him completely? Or is your commitment limited to a kind of respect for God and his Word. A respect that says, “Well, I agree that what God says is probably good, but it’s not for me.”
Let us not be half-hearted in our pursuit of God. Let us give everything to him, loving him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
As the old hymn goes,
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.