I encourage you to read 2Kings 13:14-20 carefully. In these verses, we find the prophet Elisha’s final prophecy before he dies, as he encourages King Joash to fight back against Syria and utterly consume them. There are several lessons we can learn from these verses, and hopefully we can apply them to our lives and not make the same mistakes Joash did.
First, we see in vs. 14 that Elisha was on his death bed. It’s probable his sickness was just old age, seeing he was around 85-90 y/o. King Joash, a young, stubborn, & idolatry-tolerating king, goes to pay his respects to the dying prophet. He wept over the prophet, saying to him exactly what Elisha had said to Elijah when he was taken up to heaven decades before “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof". We cannot know Joash’s heart, but it is likely he only wept because he knew this man of God was probably the only reason the Syrians hadn’t totally destroyed them yet.
A couple of lessons from this verse are: 1. You can be used of God right up to the end. There is no “spiritual retirement” for Christians. We hadn’t heard about Elisha for the last 45 years, after he anointed Jehu king. However, here we find him still faithful and still serving God. Never stop living for Jesus! 2. The saint will be missed! Worldly people may not listen to you, or even like you while you’re here; but know there are always those who will appreciate your stand for righteousness after you are gone. Often we do not know what we have until it’s gone, and you come to appreciate later what these righteous people tried to do.
In vs. 15 & 16, Elisha tells Joash to "take his tools" (bow & arrows), and place your hands on them. Then Elisha placed his hands on Joash’s hands. What a great type of Jesus! Jesus places His hands on your hands. He makes his word in your mouth powerful & effective. When you lay hands on people in Jesus Name, He lays His hands on yours. Whether the tool in your hand is a sword, or hammer, or pen - through faith and prayer, know God's hands lay on your hands! He will bless, and cause what you put your hand to to prosper.
In vs. 17, we learn that God will not give you another instruction until you have obeyed the last one. “Grab your bow. Open the window. Shoot. Smite the ground.” Had Joash not obeyed the first instruction, he would have not received a second. If you are “stuck” in your walk with God, perhaps you need to obey what He told you last.
We also see that God's will is complete deliverance & complete victory! We are the ones that hinder God's will (Lk 13:34, Ps 78:40-41, Prv 1:23-25)! God’s plan for the ages will come to pass - but you can hinder what God wants to do in you and through you through disobedience and unbelief. Elisha said Joash would smite Syria until he had consumed them. But this did not happen, because of Joash!
In vs. 18 we see that, practically speaking, sometimes you may be asked to do something that doesn't make sense to you at the moment, but the person asking you to do it may have a specific purpose in mind. God is also like that (dip in Jordan 7 times? Smear blood on your door posts? Offer your promised child on the alter? Wash the mud off in a specific pool? Build a giant boat out in a field?). Perhaps Joash thought the instruction to smite the ground with his arrows was silly. I mean, what’s the point? Well, God had a point! If God tells you do something, do it to the fullest, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense at the moment.
Finally, in vs. 19, we see that Elisha was angry because Joash didn't persist! Should he not have at least asked Elisha "How many times should I smite? What are you trying to show me?". He was weak in faith. He didn't trust completely. Not inquiring of God, not persisting in faith, and not following through will cost you dearly. Joash would defeat Syria three more times, but not completely. Seek God with all of your heart; trust Him completely; ask for wisdom and understanding; desire His perfect will for your life in all things.
We must expect and pray for great things, for we serve a great God! His Holy Arm is not shortened, that He cannot deliver. He will bear His Holy Arm, and do great things - but can we believe for great things? Can we - will we - inquire of Him and trust Him? We must not just believe to slay the giant, but to cut his head clean off! We must believe for complete and utter victory! God’s will is victory. He is looking for someone to believe Him - I mean really believe Him! When the Son of God comes back to earth, will He find any faith? Nothing is impossible with God! Why do we often live and pray as though this is not true? Start believing God for things so great, there can be no doubt it is Him when it comes to pass! Don’t worry about asking for too much - that is never an issue with God. He can do exceedingly, abundantly above all we ask or even think! Don’t limit God! Selah.