The company of prophets talked among themselves complaining that the meeting place was too small. There weren’t enough seats for everyone if everyone was present.
“We need somewhere bigger to meet. An auditorium or something, with surround sound and a big screen to project the words onto.”
“Elisha is the leader…He is the one that makes those decisions.”
Eventually one of them brought it up in a meeting. Elisha frowned.
“Come on lads. It wasn’t so long ago that you were hiding in caves. I admit that there’s quite a crowd…but the numbers will drop when the novelty wears off. Besides, the Jordan River is not safe. Those woods are full of wild animals. Let’s not bite off more than we can chew.”
The prophets looked a little downhearted, but Elisha was the boss.
“Oh all right then,” said Elisha, “Go build your bigger meeting place. But don’t expect me to come with you…it’s your idea…you run with it. Personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea…but…I mean, have you really prayed about it? Are you sure this is the direction God wants you to take?”
In the end, Elisha did go with them. He thought he should be there to pick up the pieces when everything began to fall apart. He wasn’t going to take an axe though. Cutting down trees was not his ministry. He had not been commissioned to do that.
The auditorium turned out to be a bad idea. They didn’t have enough money to hire a builder. That meant they would all have to chip in with the work. They weren’t really builders either, but how hard could it be to build a big shed?
And then it happened – as Elisha predicted it would. An axe head fell off the end of a handle and into the deep water of the Jordan River.
“Oh no, my lord!” someone cried out. “It was borrowed!”
The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha asked if anyone had some string and a magnet on them. “We could tie the string to the magnet…” but no one had string or a magnet.
“What about wading into the water then?” They looked at the rushing river, deep and churning and decided it might be a little dangerous.
Elisha wondered if this was the time to look for a miracle…but it wasn’t that important. It wasn’t a matter of life or death. It was just an axe head.
“It looks like the axe head is gone. Maybe your friend won’t ask about it if you keep quiet. You could say someone stole it. Ah well…I guess that puts paid to building a meeting place. I guess it wasn’t God’s will after all.”
The prophets sadly nodded their heads in agreement. They decided that they weren’t really all that good at hearing the voice of God. That kind of thing was Elisha’s gift. They should have listened to him from the start.
With drooping heads they went back to Gilgal.
It's sad that for many Christians my version of the story tends to be their reality - and mine too. Much better to live in the reality of the orginal story in 2 Kings 6:1-7