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15 But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him. 16 He said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ [NASB] 17 For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’ 18 This is a light thing in the sight of the Lord. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, 19 and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water and ruin every good piece of land with stones.” [ESV]

Part of growing up, at least for me, was full of learning to do what I’m told.  I had chores to do, as well as helping my dad with the house and car when it was necessary.  Whenever I helped dad, I learned the ‘how’ portion as well as the ‘do,’ so much so that the process I use today at work in accomplishing my job is largely due to the way dad taught me to obey.  Listening to what dad said, and then doing as he taught has helped me get the job done every time.

Likewise, the three kings listen, as the music played in the background, as Elisha tells them what God wants them to do.  God will do his part by sending water their way.  But, they need to do their part by taking whatever’s at hand and dig trenches.  Earlier scripture describes their running out of water in their trek towards battle, described by some as being through a desert.  They’re thirsty, it’s hot and dusty, and the animals are also thirsty, meaning they might shut when thirst becomes critical.  Seems digging’s in their immediate future.

They do get the trenches dug and God fills them with water the next morning.  Thirst is quenched for all concerned, human and animal alike.  However, for their thirst to be satisfied, and to experience victory over the Moabites, their obedience had to be immediate and thorough.  They couldn’t cut corners or trench half-way.  If they had, their result might have been similar to king Joash’s (2 Kings 13:15-19).

15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” So he took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow,” and he drew it. And Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 17 And he said, “Open the window eastward,” and he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot,” and he shot. And he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Syria! For you shall fight the Syrians in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 18 And he said, “Take the arrows,” and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them.” And he struck three times and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” – 2 Kings 13:15-19

Elisha has the king perform with a bow and arrows, with Joash doing some of what he’s asked to do, and then skimping on the rest.  Perhaps Joash thought the request to beat the ground with the arrows was a little ‘weird,’ so he only strikes the ground three times before stopping.  This incurred the wrath of Elisha, who seems to have wanted a tunnel to the South Pacific.  Obedience is something God values above sacrifices (1 Samuel 15:22), and the heart of the believer should be in a place where we obey until we’re told to stop.  Our obedience to God needs to be abundant and full.  Practice this obedience on a calling to you from God that might seem risky.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Rich Obrecht  

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