Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
The ministry of Elisha is found in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. He was a prophet of many miracles after he received the mantle from Elijah. Most of Elisha's miracles recorded in the Bible go against the laws of nature. That's what proves they are miracles.
- Elisha healed Jericho’s polluted waters with a dash of salt. (2 Kings 2:19-22)
- Elisha multiplied the widow’s oil. (2 King 1:1-7)
- The prophet raised the widow's son from the dead. (2 Kings 4:32-37)
- The prophet salvaged some spoiled stew with a handful of flour. (2 Kings 4:38-41)
- Elisha healed Naaman of leprosy. (2 Kings 5)
All of those miracles carried a deep message. So what about the story and the deeper message of the floating ax head?
The Story of the Floating Ax Head
The story of the floating ax head is found in 2 Kings 6:1-7. A group of students lived with Elisha so they could be trained by him to be prophets themselves. So many men wanted to be prophets under the training of Elisha that the number grew, and they needed a bigger place.
The students asked Elisha to go with them to the Jordan river to cut down trees so they could build a bigger place. When one of the students began chopping down a tree, the ax head flew off and landed in the river. He immediately cried out to Elisha for help because the ax was borrowed.
Elisha did not run into the river to locate the iron ax head. Instead, the prophet cut down a stick and threw it into the water. Suddenly the ax head came to the surface and floated there. Elisha told the man, "Take it up!" and the man put out his hand, and took the ax head up out of the water.
An iron ax head was very valuable during that time. To lose it in the river was devastating to the one responsible. The sons of the prophet didn’t have much. That's why they had to borrow an expensive ax. They would have to work a long time to replace something that was lost in just an instant.
The student prophet was upset and frightened because he was responsible for the loss of something that belonged to someone else. The ax head was at the bottom of the river and probably buried deep in mud. According to the law of nature, the ax head was lost forever.
Notice that Elisha did take time to scold the prophet or question him. He immediately asked, "Where did it fall?" After the student showed Elisha the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in the exact spot. Then a miracle happened. The iron ax head floated to the surface (2 Kings 6:6-7).
Elisha did not take a stick and poke around in the water for the ax head. Instead, through God’s power, Elisha was able to “make the piece of iron float.”
The Deeper Message of the Floating Ax Head
Some people can't understand why the story of the floating ax head made it into the Bible. They consider it to be trivial. They wonder what a floating ax head has to do with God and what biblical lesson they can learn from that particular story. What does a floating ax head have to do with spirituality or a person's intimate relationship with God? There is actually more to that short story than what meets the eye. So, what is the deeper message of that floating ax head story?
The whole point of this story is that there is nothing too hard for God. The ax head was made of iron. Under ordinary conditions, iron cannot and will not float.
The plan of God was set in motion for the rescue of the ax head ahead of time. That's why it was necessary for Elisha to go along with the company of prophets. God makes plans for us also long before we need them.
Elisha asked the man who caused the accident to pick up the floating ax head. It was an act of faith, obedience, and a point of contact. Therefore, the student prophet participated in his own blessing by getting relief from the accident he had caused.
Lessons from the Floating Ax Head Story
God never does miracles just for the sake of performing miracles. He always has a purpose. Each miracle carries a deep message that cannot always be explained initially. However, every miracle is a revelation of God’s glory.
The miracle of the floating ax head shows that God is indeed concerned about what we consider to be small things in our lives.
Do you have any floating ax head problem that requires a miracle?
- Losing your job is a floating ax head problem!
- Being in a mountain of debt is a floating ax head problem.
- Having a failed relationship is a floating ax head problem!
- Failing health is a floating ax head problem.
Can God rescue your floating ax head? Elisha proved that God definitely can rescue your floating ax head.