Have you ever been in the middle of a terrible situation? Have you ever been part of a huge movement that had too many problems? In this story Israel is in the middle of panic as a country attacks them and raiders from other countries keep coming into Israel. It’s not one of Israel’s brightest historical moments. King Jehoash experienced a series of emotions that some of us are all to familiar with: uncertainty, disaster, then panic. One of the prevalent themes of the Scripture is that God is present and acting for us in these moments. We may not see it, but God is always on the verge of doing something profound within our moments of doubt.
King Jehoash was scared for Israel. So he goes to see Elisha, who is at his final moments of life. After a series of seemingly pointless tests, Elisha goes on to tell Jehoash what is going to happen in a nut shell. However, he points out that a little more action on the King’s part would have allowed for him to have a stronger victory. As that story goes on, Elisha’s dies and his proclamation is upheld. It has to be one of the strangest moments for Jehoash. In the midst of tension and doubt about if God will be acting on his behalf. Even the proclamation made by Elisha made it seem that there would be some victory and then trouble, perhaps even death. At the end of the passage God still protected Israel despite the proclamation. His love for Israel wins out. He wanted to bless them and not destroy them. (There is even a resurrection story wedged in here, but we’ll avoid details about that story here.) I’m sure Jehoash still had some questions about God, as most people seem to in this story, but God was still there while he questioned and panicked.
It’s peculiar for most Christians to think about this being Elisha’s last recorded act as a prophet. This was a moment when people were doubting God and disobeying Him. Being part of God’s mission means acting in faith, but faith has always been messy. Faith deals with the unknowable and the unseen, so its easy to doubt and not God seriously. In the midst of faith, we might see some moments of struggle or even oppression that lead either to thinking God is apathetic towards us or does not exist at all. It’s at this kind of moment that God is still be faithful. He has promised to rescue His people regardless of the people who mislead it or make it something wretched. He is always in the act of rescue despite the doubts that His people have. He even is in the business of saving those outside the realm of His Kingdom through Christ. This God does not care if you are completely aware of Him or fully certain about His plan, He will act to save you and benefit you anyways.
In the end, the King gets back the land for his people due to God being with them. Heroic faith can sometimes be weathering the storm in hopes of the better future. That is the nature of hope. The one thing that can bring you through doubt is hope. It does not mean that you will not doubt. That is going to happen regardless of whether you hope or not. What does matter is the hope that God will do something for us. He will not leave us hanging. He will rescue in the end.