So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:16
Why did Joash only strike the ground three times? Some commentators believe that he thought the whole scenario was foolish. Some liken it to Naaman’s initial reaction when Elisha’s servant told him to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River. Naaman thought that would be foolish and was angered by the command. Some believe that Joash had a similar reaction to the instructions Elisha gave him.
Others point out that it represents a spiritual lukewarmness. Instead of recognizing it as an opportunity to receive God’s blessings, Joash responded apathetically and just “went through the motions.”
But it wasn’t just Joash who was apathetic to the commands of the man of God. Many professing Christians treat the commands of Scripture the same way. For example, many professing Christians treat prayer the way Joash responded to Elisha’s command to strike the ground with the arrows. They pray a few times, and that’s enough. The same type of prayer is lamely offered before each meal, and perhaps before turning in for the night, but enthusiastic, fervent prayer isn’t offered because there is that same spiritual lukewarmness.
Each one of us must look at the response of Joash to the man of God and ask ourselves how fervent we are in our response to the Man of God whom Elisha foreshadowed. How fervent and responsive are we to Him, in our prayer life, and in all the other aspects of our day to day living? By God’s grace, may our response be fervent, faithful obedience always!
Suggestions for prayer
Ask forgiveness for lukewarmness and pray for an ever-increasing hunger and thirst after righteousness.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Ted Gray has served as pastor of First United Reformed Church in Oak Lawn, Illinois for the last 15 years.