I. In the Old Testament we have an interesting story about an iron ax head that actually floated in the water. Cf 2 Kings k6:1-7

II. Here, we have the story of an iron ax head that was borrowed, then was lost, and later recovered.

A. The setting for the story was probably inGilgal, where there was a school of the prophets. 2 Ki. 4: 38

1. Gilgal was very close to Jericho, and only a few miles from the west bank of the river Jordan.

2. There was a problem of housing for ll the sons of the prophets and something needed to be done about it.

B. Now let’s look at the story, and see what we can learn from it.


I. 1st, we observe that the ax head was BORROWED because it was NEEDED.

A. The real NEED was a new place to live, and wood was needed to build it, and an AX was needed to cut the the wood, so an ax head had to be borrowed, as they had none of their own. v. 5

B. Now let’s examine the need further.

1.The prophets faced their situation. v.1

a. They were wise enough to SEE the need, rather than have to live in crowded facilities.

b. Today, the church often has the need to enlarge its facilities because of its growth, or adverse conditions.

2. The prophets we re willing to put forth the needed effort, as they where there was enough wood to build new housing, which was near the water. v.f 2; cf Gen. 2:9-10; Jer. 17:7-8; Psa. 1:1-4

a. There was unity of spirit as they were all willing to work together, as they said,”let us” do it. v. 2

b. Then, there was individual willingness to work, as they wanted “every man” to do his part. v. 2

C. Then, the men asked Elisha the prophet to go with them in getting the wood and the building of the facilities for the prophets.

1. The word “go” is found 4 times in verses 2 and 3.

2 .The workers wanted Elisha to “go” with them—not FOR them, but to go WITH them.

3.Today, when we have a great responsibility, we should always want GOD to go with us, and if we do not want Him along, the effort should be abandoned.

a. We need Him to go with us in carrying the gospel to the lost. Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:18-20; 2 John 9; Psa. 127:1; Amos 3:3

b. We need God to go with us when we travel, go on vacations, or on special mission efforts for God.

c. We need God to go with us in the exercise of church discipline, to keep the church pure, and save the erring.

d. We need God to be with in our marriages, and if we don’t want Him to be with us, we cannot expect the marriage to last and give glory to God in our homes.

II. 2nd, we oberve that the AX HEAD WAS LOST.

A. As the men began cutting trees, a mishap occurred, as the ax head came off the handle and sank to the bottom of the water nearby. 2 Kings 6:4-5

1. The man cried to Elisha, for HE would know what to do.

2. He cried out because the ax had been “borrowed”. v. 5

a. He obviously felt it was his moral duty to make it good. Cf Ex. 22:14

b. But, he knew that he could easly replace the lost ax, for he was obviously limited in abilities, for he had to “borow” the ax in the first place.

B. Because the ax head was lost, the work would be hindered.

1. He had the “handle”, but it was of no value without the iron head.

2.Anything that keeps any one of US from doing our part in the kingdom today, should be a cause of concern, and perhaps sorrowful.

III. 3Rd, the ax head was finally RECOVERED.

A. First of all, human agency was involved. v. 6

B. Next, we observe that there was the divine action, as Elisha, with the power of God, was with him, and initiated a plan. v. 6

C. Then, there was the good result, as the ax head DID swim. v. 6

1. This was a miracle, as the ax head defied nature’s law of gravity.

2. The man had to do HIS part, by picking up the ax from the water. v. 7


I. In this story, we see the plight of sinful man today.

A. Man is LOST, and cannot save himself, just as the man with the borrowed axcouldnot recover the ax by himself. Jer. 10:23; Tit. 3:5

B. Man must GO TO THE MASTER Jesus for guidance, as this man went to Elisha, the man of God—for help.

C. Man must FOLLOW DIVINE INSTRUCTIONS of faith, repentance, confession and baptism to BE saved, just as this man had to reach out and pick up the ax when it began to swim.

D. The obedient person will be blessed with salvation and spiritual life, just as this man in our story recovered the floating ax head. Mark 16:16

II. Won’t you let your life be recovered for God—RIGHT NOW?

Don Tarbet

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Author: bible

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