Have you ever heard about the battle that was won by an army of men with shovels? Well, you see, it was like this. A long time ago in a land far away, three kings decided to join forces and go fight against another king. They thought they could surprise the king by sneaking up on him from the back way. When they stopped to make camp, they realized there was no water for themselves or their animals. Two of the kings and their people were serving idols, but one king, named Jehoshaphat, served God. The two kings who didn’t serve God started thinking that maybe there was no water because God was punishing them. Jehoshaphat decided that instead of sitting around thinking God was punishing them, that they should find one of God’s prophets and ask him what they should do. Because Jehoshaphat served God, the prophet said he would help them, but first he had a musician come play a song for him. While the song was playing, Elisha told them that God wanted them to dig ditches.
What do you suppose the kings thought would happen when they heard that? Do you think maybe one of them thought, “Well, I guess if we dig ditches, God can make it rain and fill them up, and then we’ll have water”? Maybe one of them did, because Elisha told them that there wasn’t going to be any wind or rain, but that the place where they were would be full of water with enough for the people and the animals, too. Do you know what else Elisha told them? He told them that providing water was just a little, easy thing for God to do, and that he was also going to help them overcome the king they were going to fight against. He told them that they would overcome cities, destroy trees, stop up wells, and fill up the good farmland with rocks.
Those kings left and went back to their army. They put the men to work, and they shoveled and shoveled and shoveled, and made ditches all over that place where they were staying. Early the next morning, God filled all those ditches with water. If you’ve ever been through a desert place, and have seen irrigation ditches, that’s essentially what this was.
As the army of the king they were going to fight against came and looked at the place where the other armies were, the sunlight shining on the water made it look like that place was all bloody. They thought that everyone had been killed and they could just go take what was in the tents. Because they thought this, they weren’t very quiet or careful when they came down into the camp, and the armies in the camp were able to overcome them easily and win the war.
You know, reading this makes me think… how sometimes we get into spots in our lives where spiritually speaking it’s dry and it might seem like we’ve been brought to that place to be destroyed. If we go to God and ask for water, he may tell us to do something that really doesn’t make much sense to us. Do you suppose those guys who were digging the ditches were a little confused about what they were doing and why they were doing it? Do you think some of them thought, “Moving all this dirt is just making me thirstier? What good is it going to do to dig a ditch?” When those guys were digging, they were removing obstacles to allow the water to flow through. Maybe God gives us some work to do, or puts us to digging in his word. It might just make us thirstier for a short while, but in the end, after we get things moved out of the way and get a channel opened for it to flow through, he’ll bring water, and probably not in the way we expected it. But satisfying our spiritual thirst is an easy thing for God… he’ll go beyond that and help us to overcome the enemy that seems ready to destroy us.
Note: These were just a few thoughts I had when I was reading through the third chapter of 2 Kings last night. I hope it’s a blessing to you.
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