Don’t Limit God

Let’s talk about the possibility of lost opportunities for service to and for God. In 2 Kings 13, there’s a situation involving the king of Israel, Joash (a different Joash than the one from chapter 12 of Judah) where he seeks guidance from the aged and dying prophet Elisha. He wants God’s help and blessing for some military needs and thinks Elisha can give them away.

Up to this point Joash has basically ignored God and was doing things his own way, even worshiping false gods. But he’s desperate now. Verses 14-19 tell us all about this situation. To summarize, Elisha tells Joash to shoot arrows out the window into the ground. Joash stopped after only three arrows. Elisha became angry and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have defeated [the enemy] completely. As it is, you will defeat [them] only three times” (verse 19, CJB).

In contrast to Joash’s actions, back in 1 Kings 17 we are told of a woman who was told by the prophet Elijah to gather as many jugs as she could and she gathered many. Then Elijah told her to take the little jug of oil she had left and from it fill the other jugs. She was able to fill every one of the gathered jugs. She ended up with enough oil (and flour) to last long enough for the severe drought to be over and for there to be crops.

The difference between these two people had to do with their trust and dependence on God, along with the sincerity of their prayers to God. The woman believed God would do big things, while Joash questioned everything God said or did. Joash was foolishly relying on himself to overcome the enemies of Israel, and failed to accomplish everything God wanted him to do. Eventually the woman’s trust in a limitless God gave her, her son, and God’s prophet, Elijah, everything they needed to stay alive in the midst of great suffering around them, while Joash’s lack of trust and dependence on God eventually led to the exile of Israel from the land God had promised them through Abraham centuries before.

God’s sovereign will determines what will happen in our world. He has plans for us to be part of the victories is waiting to happen. I know that sometimes my prayers or my actions are too small. I know I need to be bolder in prayer and actions to see bigger blessings and be used by God as effectively as He would like. I’m guilty of limiting the work God can do in me and through me because my vision is not big enough.

For my application this week, I’m going to focus on praying big – even long-term requests for my family and my writing influence. I’m going to pray that God will show me His BIG will for me and for events all around me, many of which I’m not even aware of because of the limits I consciously and subconsciously place on God. I need to ditch the ideas that God won’t act, or God hasn’t acted so it must not be His will, or God’s done the best He can. He may answer my prayers in ways I don’t expect or see, but I need to keep praying, even if I pray for some things the rest of my life. I will pray and wait expectantly to see God work.

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