God is Always Enough and You Must Trust Him
King David said of God “The Lord is my Shepherd - I lack nothing” (Psalm 23). He learned that God was always enough for him.
King Jehoash by contrast lived his life failing to learn that lesson. His life in a tweet is summarised in verse 11: “He reigned sixteen years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat.”
Immediately, we’re forced to face what’s really Important in life: Our relationship with God and how we respond to his Word. We must be wary of living our life full of so many important deadlines, relationships, priorities that we miss what is truly Important.
He wasted his life chasing idols. He didn’t turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, who had instigated a system of idolatry, leading people to worship golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
Jeroboam might have been seen by some as “progressive”, breaking away from past worship traditions. Jehoash was a “traditionalist”, refusing to turn from practices of past generations. Labels don’t matter - it’s obedience to God that counts.
When God isn’t enough for you you flip flop between trusting him and trusting other stuff.
Verse 14: "Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
This is no pastoral visit to poor Elisha! Jehoash is grieving the state of Israel’s army, reduced to only ten chariots (1 Kings 13:7)! He wants Elisha to “do something”. He wants a quick fix, a “sticky plaster” to sort out his problem. At heart he is still an idol worshipper. How often we can be like this. We come to God on our terms, when we have a desperate need of him!
You may well have expected Elisha to pronounce judgment on him. But Elisha demonstrates God’s wonderful grace to inconsistent people (like Joash, like us). Elisha speaks God’s promise over him, the undeserving idol-worshipping king.
God doesn’t look for perfection in us before He speaks to us and directs us. He looks for receptive hearts that He can change. God doesn’t simply give “reassurances” to people; He speaks life-change and a call to trust Him.
God’s promise brings life!
God gives an amazing promise of victory. Elisha tells him to shoot an arrow and announces victory. It was a celebratory moment, a holy moment, a moment of divine grace freely given. Then Elisha tells him to shoot his other arrows at the ground. Why? I think to symbolize that God’s promise was enough, he didn’t need any spare arrows. He’s calling the king to wholehearted belief in the promise.
John G Paton was a missionary to a cannibal tribe in the New Hebrides. They had no word in their vocabulary for “trust/believe” which caused a problem when translating John 1:12. After asking a local to describe what he was doing as he sat on chair with his legs lifted high, he used the phrase, “To put your full weight on”. That’s what trust looks like.
Have you put your full weight on Jesus to take your sins at the cross? Are you trusting in your own goodness and self-effort?
Are you still leaning on him? Christ’s victory is final and decisive. “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live even though they die.”
But for the Christian he’s calling you to apply that victory again and again in your life.
We fight the world the flesh and the devil, all who seek to stop us trusting God. Trusting comes at high cost. It’s hard to let go of other things we put trust in, but it’s vital for our discipleship. Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
This works itself out in highly practical ways: choosing Jesus over the idolatry of unhelpful relationships, over more lucrative (but distracting) job opportunities.
Revelation is full of promises to “the one who overcomes.” In each case you could summarise the battle in remarkably simple terms:
- Keep loving Jesus
- Keep faithful through adversity
- Keep believing the Bible
- Keep holding on
- Keep yourself alive in God
- Keep persevering
- Keep following Jesus.
It’s also highly rewarding. There’s a promise of scripture for those who trust: “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:11)
In this life, we find joy even when we seem to be losing. For example, in Acts 5:41 “The apostles left the Sanhedrin [having been flogged], rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
In the life to come, our sacrificial trusting deeds will be judged. And the result? You won’t be embarrassed or ashamed! Your choice to believe will be proved to be the best choice you could have made, and totally worth it.
Focusing on the Really Important. Why do we get so easily distracted from the Important priorities of relating and responding to God.
Traditionalists vs. Progressives. Do you tend to default to embracing tradition or change? What are the dangers with each position?
Sticky plaster Religion. God doesn’t meet us on our terms but his. Can you think of a time when God mercifully met a need you were facing, but then showed you something bigger about himself?
Learning to trust God entirely. What lessons of trust are you learning at the moment (that you’re willing to share?)
Elisha got annoyed at Joash’s lackluster response. What different ways can we help one another to live a life of trusting God entirely?