Read 2 Kings 6:1-7
The prophets had outgrown Elisha’s dwelling place and proposed the need for new construction. Elisha agreed and they went to the Jordan where the lumber was abundant. “But as one was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, ‘Alas, master! For it was borrowed’” (2 Kings 6:5). Not a big deal, right? Why was this man so upset? It was only an ax head!
Here’s the key: it was borrowed! The young man did not have enough money to purchase his own tool, so he borrowed one from someone else. Losing it meant he would have needed to replace it, but if he didn’t have the money to purchase one in the first place, how could he replace it? In that day and age, he could have been sold into slavery because he had lost someone else’s property and owed a debt, however minuscule.
The prophet Amos described the wretchedness of such actions. “Thus says the Lord: ‘For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes’” (Amos 2:6). Such mistreatment of the poor was condemned in Amos’ day, and God still cares about those who are in physical need today.
Jesus described the great scene of the coming of the Son of Man: “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one for another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:32). Those on the right hand are the ones who cared for the ones in need; the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned. Those on the left hand neglected those needs. God cares for the less fortunate, and He cares how people treat the less fortunate!
How did He show His care in the incident with the ax? Seeing the young man’s distress, Elisha threw a stick into the water where the ax head had fallen, “and he made the iron float” (2 Kings 6:6). The young man was able to recover what he lost and avoid slavery!
Whatever difficulty you are facing in life, no matter how minor, God cares. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7).