Floating Ax Head

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about one of the miracles that’s recorded in II Kings chapter 6:1-7. It seems that there was a person who was cutting a tree down and the ax head come off of it’s handle and fell into the water and sank out of sight. My first thought is what’s up with the ax head? Second thought is why is it included in the scriptures? Could the ax head be that important? So I started digging to see what I could find.

It seems that Elisha was with what was referred to as the sons of the prophets. They were staying there for the purpose of learning about God and God’s ways from Elisha. They were the students and Elisha was their master or teacher. The number of the students had increased and the place where they were staying had become cramped, too small. So they sought his advice and asked his permission to go to the valley of Jordan and cut some trees to use to build a bigger place for them to stay in. He said to go and he went with them. Then the tree cutting started.

Suddenly one of the men had a problem with his ax. The handle broke and the ax head went into the water and sank out of sight. To make things worse, it was an axe that he had borrowed. That meant that he would have to replace it. (Exodus 22:14) He then called out to Elisha and said master it is gone. Elisha asked where did it fall in and they showed him the spot where it fell. He cut a stick and threw it in where the axe head had gone under and the ax head floated back to the top.

I can see the scene now. Just as he took a big swing back with the ax, the head came off and found the river. His heart probably sank quicker than the ax head as he realized that it was going to cost him to replace it. I’ve been there and done that. Borrow a tool and then it breaks. That puts you in a bad position. Some commentary I read pointed out that this was a picture of what Christ does for us. We owed a sin debt that we couldn’t pay and he paid it for us on the cross. Another I read made the point that when we fail and fall into the mud of this world, God is very capable of lifting us up out of the mud of our failure and restoring us. I like both those thoughts.

But the application that I like draws a comparision for us when we are working with God and problems arise. Sometimes when we are being faithful and we’re working and we’re learning about God, things will go wrong without any warning or without any real cause. We’re trying our best to be what it is that we’re supposed to be and then the enemy throws something at us trying to distract us or trying to slow us down, we can be assured that God is still there and that He will help us. The reason the ax head went down in the river is because it was heavier than the water. That being the case, gravity took over and down it went. But when the man of God acted with faith that God would help, he suspended the law of gravity and made the ax head float. For me, reading about this ax head reminds me that He is in charge of everything, even making iron float which we all know is impossible.

 Not one concern of ours is small,
If we belong to him;
To teach us this, the Lord of all,
Once made the iron swim.

from the borrowed axe by John newton

The verse above is from a song by John Newton. Here’s a link to the rest of the verses.

I hope you have been encouraged in some small way with this post. Have a great day and know that God loves you!

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