Rather than expecting God to barely meet a need, or even moderately supply what you hope for, ask and expect him to meet all of your needs—and then some. St. Paul wrote, “My God will supply all of your need according to his glorious riches by Christ Jesus in glory.” (Phil. 4:19) Did you catch that? “According to his riches,” which in the Greek text means a lot! Actually, abundant provision isn’t just something God can do, it’s something he wants to do. So in your prayers, ask bigly. Push God to the limits, and way beyond. And as you do, remember that God has no limits. So what are you asking for? Double it! Triple it! Go for broke. God has a big heart and unlimited resources.
Going Deep // Focus: 2 Kings 13:15-19
Elisha told him, “Get a bow and some arrows.” And the king did as he was told. Elisha told him, “Put your hand on the bow,” and Elisha laid his own hands on the king’s hands. Then he commanded, “Open that eastern window,” and he opened it. Then he said, “Shoot!” So he shot an arrow. Elisha proclaimed, “This is the Lord’s arrow, an arrow of victory over Aram, for you will completely conquer the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Now pick up the other arrows and strike them against the ground.” So the king picked them up and struck the ground three times.But the man of God was angry with him. “You should have struck the ground five or six times!” he exclaimed. “Then you would have beaten Aram until it was entirely destroyed. Now you will be victorious only three times.”
Old Testament prophets did some strange things sometimes. God told them to. One shaved half his beard, another named his children really horrible names, another ate locusts—and those are some of the mild cases of prophetic weirdness. If God called you to the office of Old Testament prophet, you were in for earning a degree in the bizarre. But it was not bizarre for bizarre sake. You see, God is a communicator, and he is always looking for ways to make an unforgettable point. Such is the case with Elisha and King Jehoash in 2 Kings 13.
The king was not a godly man, but he felt a certain comfort in having the man of God, Elisha, speaking into his life. When Jehoash found out that the prophet was in his final days of life, he was shaken. So he went to visit Elisha, and wept over his impending death. Perhaps his sorrow was more for himself, but nevertheless, he was a broken and distraught king. Elisha sensed that Jehoash was having a melt down, probably over the subjugation of Israel at the hands of the Arameans, given what followed.
And what followed was weird. Elisha told Jehoash to shoot an arrow out the window. That act, a well know object lesson at the time, represented the victory God would give Israel over Aram. Then he was to take the leftover arrows and smash them against the ground. The king did—three times. That is when Elisha went back into his surly prophet mode and rebuked him for only smashing them three times instead of many. The kings restrained action meant that Israel would only have three more victories against Aram instead of multiple, total domination.
Now how was the king to know that? We don’t know for sure, but the Quest Study Bible notes on this interaction offers this interesting possibility:
Ancient people often saw the flight of arrows as omens of the future. Shooting an arrow out the window was a sign Jehoash would have understood, especially when Elisha explained that it meant victory over his enemies (v. 17) Striking the ground with the arrows should have been an obvious connection to the Lord’s arrow of victory over the Arameans (v. 17). Jehoash’s halfhearted response demonstrated a lack of faith in Elisha’s promise of victory.
Don’t miss the point: God was making a point. Perhaps there were several points he wanted us through Jehoash to remember, but the one that stands out to me is that we should always lean into the generous nature of God when we are asking something of him. Rather than expecting God to barely meet a need, or even to moderately supply what we hope for, we should ask and expect him to meet our needs—and then some. Paul reminded us in Philippians 4:19.
My God will supply all of your need according to his glorious riches by Christ Jesus in glory.
According to his riches! In the Greek text, that means a lot, much bigger than you can even conjure up in your dreams. Actually, abundant provision is not just something he can do; it is something he wants to do. Jesus told us in John 15:8, that as we stay in a right relationship with God through him,
Ask for whatever you wish, and it shall be given to you. It is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit.
So in your prayers, ask bigly. When you are requesting, push God to the limits, way beyond. And as you do, remember than when it comes to provision, God has no limits.