Keep Swinging!

“Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice. And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.”
– 2 Kings 13:14-20

 

The text before us is simply what I would like to expound on for the majority of this article; however, before I begin let’s do a little recap of what led up to this moment. God had allowed Israel to be conquered and turned over into the hands of its enemies due to it not being faithful and keeping His word. So, many kings have come and gone and many battles have come and gone but one thing remained, a godless people under the leadership of a godless king and all are practicing sin by worshipping idol gods. Now, was that all the sin they were doing? Most likely not, but that is the focus of what’s going on here. So, one king comes to Elisha and seeks his help for an upcoming battle. However, it was not done out of faith rather it was out of fear. How do I know this? Based on what happens in the text. Elisha gives the king instructions concerning the first arrow. He places his hand over the hands of the king and says open the window eastward and release the arrow. Elisha then proclaimed that this represents the arrow of the Lords deliverance which is thereby the arrow of deliverance of your land from Syria. The proof of fear is here: Elisha then tells the king to take the rest of the arrows and shoot the ground, but the king only shoots three arrows of the quiver. This angers Elisha so much that he told the king that he would not get the victory over Syria; instead, he would only strike them three times with a mighty blow.

How many times do we do this in our lives? How many times do we pray for God to intervene and help us in our fights for destiny and victory, but only do some of what He told us to do? How often does God say go full steam ahead, but we hold back some out of fear of failure or just in case? That is pretty much what you see the king do in this text; despite being given a word from the prophet he allowed fear to set in and hold back what he should have released to reap the breakthrough. We’ll come back to that in a moment. Believe it or not, no matter how crazy it may seem when God gives you something to do, Do It! I know it seems like it doesn’t make sense, but Do It! I know it seems like the two don’t add up to make victory, but Do It! I know it seems that you may not have enough for this over here or that over there, but Do It! I know the people are talking about how crazy and out of your mind you seem to be, but Do It! I know you don’t completely understand the way that He is taking you right now, but Do It! I know that you may not even know how it’s going to work out, but Just Do It! Why? There is power and eventually, victory in your obedience to resolve in your mind to Just Do It! Allow me to digress for a moment.

Another way we can view the people from our text is a type of people that only turned to the I Am God when they needed something from Him. They didn’t have that daily walk with him where they offered up continual praise to Him for all the marvelous things He had done. They didn’t have that relationship with Him that causes one to realize that He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, or that He is Omnipotent (possessing all power) and Omnipresent (God who is present in a places at the same time). Allow me to insert my opinion if you will. I believe that they were the kind of people who saw God as the God of convenience. What do you mean by this Kean? They saw God as someone whom they could get stuff from instead of Him being the God they should serve. They saw God as a Burger King, meaning they thought that they could have it their way and still live victorious. In other words, God was not their “all in all”, He was their “just in case.” “Just in case” I get into trouble let me make sure there is a prophet around to tell me what thus saith the Lord. “Just in case” what I had or have in mind doesn’t work out let me ensure that I have someone I can fall back on. “Just in case” my situation doesn’t get any better by me doing what I want, when I want, and how I want, let me make sure that there is someone I can turn to for help. “Just in case” this plan doesn’t succeed let me run to Him and see if He has any other suggestions. When God is your “all in all” there is no room for “just in case,” because the mindset of this person is different. The “all in all” person has a made up mind that my trust, confidence, and entire being is in His hands; therefore, I don’t move until He says move. Quick question: Is He your “all in all” or “just in case?”

What would lead a people to become this self-centered or out of sync with the one and only God? Can I give you the short answer? Idols! When we think of idols we often think of the golden cafe, some type of statue, or an image designed and built to be a representation of a god, as mentioned in the Old Testament. However, in today’s society there are many forms of idols in existence that people tend to worship. Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down then. Idol is defined in many ways, but here are a few of the most common. An idol is something or someone that is considered to be an object of deep affection or worship, having a likeness or outward appearance as something but lacking substance, an object of extreme devotion, and a false conception or identity given to an image. With this extensive amount of definitions it becomes easy to see how many things can be classified as an idol, but let’s name a few so that we are all on target. Idols can come in the form of people (be it celebrities we admire), things (stuff we strongly desire to acquire for the “betterment” of our lives), dreams (what we hope to one day become or see in our lives), or nature (our deep affection and/or respect for things in the world or the world itself). Now, in this list we can easily give many different specific representations of idols, but as you begin to examine each of them there is one thing in common between them all. Our desire to have it, be it, obtain or attain it, and possess it. Thus, when we have set our hearts more on these things than the things of God, we have entered into what the Bible calls idol worship.

How do we come out of this form of worship? Most people believe this to be a hard task, and it really is not. Believe it or not, the hard part is staying out and not falling back into it again. However, the way we come out is to begin to put God in His rightful position in our lives, which is the head, and seek ye first the Kingdom of God (watch this) and His righteousness. Many forget this or overlook this particular part of the scripture and truth be told it is key to having all that God desires for you. Why? Idol worship begins as a result of our worry or fear about tomorrow or the future. It is at that moment that we begin to look for other things we believe will help us maintain or sustain our lives, our mindsets, or our dreams and ambitions. We allow worry and fear to be the driving force of our hope, so we begin to look upon stuff or kings to give us our desires, when in actuality we should be more focused on our service to the kingdom as our destination. Yeah, allow that to marinate for a moment. While it’s marinating think on this, who in the Bible has ever served God for stuff and desires? Which one of Jesus’ disciples entered into service simply on the merit of getting what they wanted from him and actually achieved it? Somebody said well there’s Judas. Did he achieve it or did he perceive that he had achieved it, thereby causing him to be deceived by it? Allow that one to marinate also. I know you have a lot going through your mind right now, but what I’m trying to get across to you is that doing the will of god is not about you getting stuff from the kingdom, but it’s about you giving service to the kingdom.

Basically, once we begin to seek Him first, then we realize that our first and primary mission or focus in life is to do what He requires of us to do. Watch this. He didn’t say that you will be doing it for free. He added in something to show that He takes pleasure in us doing His will for us in the earth. He comes around and says “…and all these things shall added,” which means that as we begin to walk in the will of God for our lives, God takes it upon himself to bestow His blessings upon our lives. That is why David wrote in Psalm 35:27 “…Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” A servant is someone who submits to and chooses to serve the will of another for their lives. Being a servant of God is not your position but rendition, meaning what are you rendering to Him? Once we have taken on this mindset our way of thinking begins to shift. What do you mean Kean? We only desire to have what He wants for us, who He wants for us, how He wants for us, and most importantly when He wants for us to have those things or people. Kingdom prosperity doesn’t come by doing what you want to try and make a way for yourself. It comes by doing what God wants and trusting that He will not only make a way for you, but He will sustain and maintain you through it, in it, and even when you come out of it. Simply put, Kingdom prosperity is God’s blessing being placed upon you to show that no matter what you’re in, no matter what you’re going through, and no matter what the odds may say about you, God’s got you and will never forsake you.

Brother Kean, this is all good and well, but how does it relate to the topic, Keep Swinging? I’m glad you asked. I made a statement earlier that I said we will come back to. I said, “…despite being given a word from the prophet he allowed fear to set in and hold back what he should have released to reap the breakthrough.” I’m talking about King Joash and his release of only three arrows. Now, in those days the arrows used were kept inside what is called a small quiver. This quiver could hold between five to seven arrows. The Bible says that Elisha told the king to take the arrows and shoot the ground; however when the king smite the ground only three times Elisha got mad. Why? Elisha told the king you should have smitten the ground five or six times. You missed it. A full quiver had between five and seven arrows in it. They both shot one arrow through the window which left between five and six arrows in the quiver. Elisha says shot the arrows into the ground and the king only shoots three. Elisha got mad and said you should have smitten the ground five or six times and you would have consumed or totally defeated Syria. In other words, Elisha was trying to tell the king take whatever arrows is left in the quiver and use them to smite the ground. Can I give you the shout cue? Elisha was using the arrows to prove a point to the king. What’s the point? God will give you the victory over whatever enemy you face, but He’s not interested in you offering to Him only a portion of yourself or the portion that you think will be enough. He wants it all. You missed it! Okay, let me break it all the way down for you. God is saying in this text that in order for you to live the victorious life and defeat whatever enemy you may face, it’s going to require you to give me (not a portion) WHATEVER you have left. “Whatever it is that I required of you; Don’t hold nothing back, but give it all to me!”

Can I close this thing out? I think I can! Shout Swing! Swing is the action you take as you begin to give and offer up to God the thing that He has asked of you. Whatever it is, I’ve decided to I’m going to give it up. Whoever it is, I’ve decided that I’m going to give them up Lord. Wherever it is, I’ve decided that I’m going to give it up also Lord. Shout Swing! Swing is your complete resolve to continue to offer it up, in spite of what you may be facing. It may be a great sacrifice, but here it is God. It may be something I wanted to hold onto, but here it is God. It may be something I didn’t feel was needed, but here it is God. It may be my very last piece of myself, but here it is God. It may be able to provide me with a little comfort, but here it is Lord. It may be able to give me a little leverage, but here it is Lord. Shout Swing! Swing is furthermore your act of continuing to do what He says do in spite of. I know I’ve been doing it for a long time, but I’m going to continue in it. I know it may seem like things are not working out, but I’m going to continue in it. I know that the road gets hard and rough sometimes, but I’m going to continue in it. I know the way is not as easy as I would like it to be, but I’m going to continue in it.

Can I go higher? Reach brother. I think I will! Shout Swing! Swing is the very act of you giving your mind over to Him. It’s your profession of Him being the mediator and stabilizer of your entire mental being. It’s you professing that I don’t want to think about that thing no more, this thing no more, or even about this person any more. Instead, here’s my mind Lord. Purge it! Until every thought that goes against your will is gone. Purge it! Until thoughts of suicide, depression, stress, and anxiety are gone. Purge it! Until every negative thought is gone. Shout Swing! Swing is in your ability to continue to present your body as a living sacrifice to be holy and acceptable unto Him. So, here’s my body Lord. I know what’s right from wrong. I know what acceptable and unacceptable. Purge it! Until every sinful bone comes into agreement with your word. Purge it! Until I no longer desire to lust. Purge it! Until I no longer desire to sleep around any more. Purge it! Until I no longer desire to be unfaithful any more. Purge Me Lord! Until I no longer am willing to defile my temple an exploit your tabernacle.

I’m going higher, just one more time. Shout Swing! So, I’ve given you my mind Lord, and I’ve given you my body. Why can’t I just seem to get this thing right. Can I make a suggestion? It’s because you haven’t truly given Him your entire life. Sure you tell Him I give myself away. Sure you tell Him I’m yours Lord. Sure you tell Him that He can use anything, including you. But do you mean it? When He tells you to give this up or give that up, do you ask Him to help you or do you try to negotiate with Him? Shout Swing! It’s time to give him your entire being, and trust that He Is and He Is a rewarded to those who diligently seek Him. Therefore, Swing represents your unwavering position of submission of your entire life and being over to the master. It’s your resolve to continue coming boldly before the throne of grace. It’s your resolve to continue cleansing until all that’s left is a little bit of you and a whole lot of Him. It’s your resolve to continue to take up your cross and follow Him. Guess what’s next? Purge Me Lord! Until I fully and wholeheartedly trust in you. Purge Me Lord! Until I’m totally souled out for you! Purge Me Jesus! Until my desire is to walk like you, talk like you, live like you, and be just like you. Purge Me Jesus! Until there’s nothing left for the enemy to have a connection to. Purge Me! Purge Me! Purge Me!

Somebody needs to begin to make this declaration over their life. Say, “Lord, I come as humble as I know how. I present myself and my entire being over to you. I’m asking that you accept my offering of sacrifice, and that you would cause me to be pleasing in your sight. Lord, my mind I give it to you. My heart, I give it to you. My body, I give it to you. All of me, I give it to you. Lord, withholding nothing but releasing everything I submit my life into thy hands. Mold me! Make me! Build me! Fill me! I’m tired of being overcome by the enemy. I’m tired of being manipulated and abused by the enemy. So, from this day forward I declare and decree No More and No Longer will I continue to walk in my ability and thinking. Instead, with everything I have left and without holding anything back, I submit and commit my entire being into thou hands. Use Me! Use Me! Send Me! Command Me! I’ll do it. In Jesus Name, Amen!” Somebody ought to give Him a real good praise right there! Praise Him for a renewed and made up mind that from now on, I’m not holding anything back but I’m going to give him my all and Keep Swinging! Be blessed and stay encouraged!

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