“Then he said, ‘take the arrows’; so he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘strike the ground’; so he struck three times and stopped. And the man of God became angry with him and said, ‘you should have struck the five or six times; then you would have struck Syria till you had destroyed it! But now you will strike Syria only three times'” – 2 Kings 13:18-19
In this chapter, Elisha the prophet is dying. King Joash is crying over him because Elisha is a strong man of God and Joash is mourning over the fact that Elisha will be gone and will not be leading the people spiritually any more. That is why it is so important for us not to look at a man to lead us but look to Jesus only.
Elisha is giving Joash specific instructions about a war that is coming. He tells Joash to strike the ground. He did say how many times to strike the ground. Joash strikes the ground as instructed but stops at three. Then we are told that Elisha becomes angry with him. Why would Elisha be angry with Joash when he did what was commanded of Him? Because he gave up too early! It was a sign that he would give up in battle too early and he would be defeated.
Today, as Christ followers, we are in constant spiritual battle and are instructed to put on our spiritual armor daily. The problem we face is that many times we experience a small victory or even a defeat and then we give up. We settle in and go back to what we know or what we feel to be comfortable when we are supposed to keep striking the ground and shooting our arrows at the enemy. The battle is won through Jesus, but while we are on this earth, Satan will always be attacking our hearts and minds.
Many of us in the church today have had a recent victory or maybe even a recent defeat. How will you respond today? Will you strike the ground three times and then give up? Maybe you have already given up and feel defeated? If so, get back up put on your armor and join the fight! Don’t give up prematurely!