Before his death, Elisha predicted that Joash would defeat the enemy Assyrians. He told the kind to shoot his arrows in the direction of the Assyrian Army and he said these are the arrows of God against your enemies. I imagine Elisha, a prophet with great passion like his predecessor Elijah, directing Joash to take his arrows and point them toward the enemy and let them fly. “Strike out against God’s enemy,” he would shout to the King. “Strike out!” The king, with little enthusiasm it seems, did so. He didn’t have the passion and the excitement and the thrill of wielding symbolic victorious blows against God’s enemies, yet he did what he was told. But he stopped too soon! After only three symbolic thrusts, he ceased his attack.

One commentator writes, “He lacked perseverance and determination. He was content with half measures and incomplete achievement, and therefore the future victory over Syria would be a limited victory. If he had continued to “strike” with the arrows, Israel’s victory would have been absolute (v. 19).” Elisha was angry over the King’s lack of enthusiasm.  He hesitated instead of charged full strength ahead.

One of my favorite speeches was delivered nearly 100 years ago by Theodore Roosevelt. You’ve probably heard parts of it. This is the best part:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually try to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

“When He comes on that day, He will receive glory from His holy people – praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believe what we told you about Him.”  2 Thessalonians 1:10