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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Fallen Axe Head

"And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us. Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go. So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood. But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim. Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it." (2 Kings chapter 6:1-7) 

 

In this story, a borrowed axe head plunges into the dark depths of the river Jordan, lost.  The man of God, Elisha, whose name means "God is salvation," asks a very important question, "Where fell it?"  Where did it fall?  He then cuts down a stick or a branch and casts it into the Jordan River right at the place where it fell, and by the power of God the properties or nature of the branch were imparted to the axe head, and, as the Bible says, "the iron did swim."  It came to the surface, buoyed up by the power of God. And then it was taken up.

Just like that borrowed axe head, our lives are not our own, but are borrowed from God. Through the transgression of Adam, we have fallen, plunged into the dark depths of sin.  Then God asks a very important question, "Where did they fall?"  He takes a branch, the righteous Branch, Jesus Christ, and sends Him right where we fell. 

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots."  "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." (Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; see also Jeremiah 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; Zechariah 6:12)

Just like the axe head, we naturally sink down into sin.  There is nothing we can do of ourselves to float.  But Jesus Christ came where we fell and through the union of divinity with humanity, Jesus imparts to us the divine nature.  Through His connection with the Father, Jesus imparts to humanity properties that did not exist there before.  Just like the properties or nature of the branch were imparted to the axe head, the divine nature is imparted to us that we may float.

"Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, the base resting on the earth, and the topmost round reaching to the gate of heaven, to the very threshold of glory. If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made 'in the likeness of sinful flesh' (Rom. 8:3), He lived a sinless life. Now by His divinity He lays hold upon the throne of heaven, while by His humanity He reaches us. He bids us by faith in Him attain to the glory of the character of God. Therefore are we to be perfect, even as our 'Father which is in heaven is perfect.'" (DA, 311-312)  "It was a solemn reality that Christ came to fight the battles as man, in man's behalf. His temptation and victory tell us that humanity must copy the Pattern; man must become a partaker of the divine nature." (1SM, 408)

There is a passage found in Romans chapter eight that presents the same message as this Old Testament story:

"For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, …"

Because of the nature of the axe head (i.e. its shape and the material it was composed of), the natural laws - the law of surface tension, of gravity, of displacement, etc. - could do nothing to make the axe head float.  There was nothing wrong with these laws, but when it came to the axe head, they were weak or powerless.  So with us, because of Adam’s fall and our fallen natures, the law of God cannot make us righteous, it is weak through the flesh.

"…God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, …"

Sending Jesus where we fell.

"…and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh…"

Jesus did not sink when He came but condemned sin in the flesh; and by coming where we fell, He imparts to us the divine nature so that we may no longer sink but float, as the passage concludes:

"…that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:3-4)

It is then, when we as a people are partakers of the divine nature, partaking of the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, rising above the Jordan River of sin and iniquity; it is then that the command will be given, as we read in the last verse of the story of the lost axe head, "Take it up to Thee."  This is what we read in the book Christ’s Object Lessons as well:

"'When the fruit is brought forth, immediately He putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.' Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." (COL, 69) 

"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

Satan's charge against God, and the cry of most of Christendom is that God's law cannot be kept.  But through the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, we as fallen axe heads will do that which axe heads cannot do of themselves.  We will represent to the world the power of God, we will represent to the world that through Jesus Christ axe heads CAN float.

One final important point: in the story we read that one of the individuals asked Elisha to go with them (2 Kings 6:3).  What if he had not asked Elisha ("God is salvation") to go with them that day?  The same is true for us.  Daily we must ask God OUR salvation, "Be content, I pray Thee, and go with thy servant."  Then when situations arise in which axe heads sink by nature, we may float, for Emmanuel, God is with us.  We have His nature imparted to us (2 Peter 1:4); we bear His image.

(This blog is taken from the message entitled, "Dissolved," which you'll find on this website.)

Blog written by: Lee Folkman

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