The Axhead Floats
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you posses eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me. John 5:39
It is recommended that you read through an entire pattern before you begin your first stitch. In my class as we discuss how to read a pattern I ask the student to read the pattern out loud one row of instruction at a time and then to translate what that instruction means. This shows me she understands the direction given and helps her to visualize what to expect from her pattern.
This same principle works very well with Scripture. During a recent Bible Study there was a discussion about listening to audio versions of the Bible. Many of the ladies commented they absorb the message more when they hear the word than when they read it to themselves. Reading out loud even proves more comprehension that reading silently.
Whether it is a pattern or scripture, "hearing" and then "restating in your own words" is an effective learning tool. Let's apply that strategy to a passage in 2 Kings 6:1-7.
The company of the prophets said to Elisha, "Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for you. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to live."
And he said, "Go."
Then one of them said, "Won't you please come with your servants?"
"I will", Elisha replied. And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. "Oh, my lord," he cried out, 'it was borrowed."
The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there and made the iron float. "Lift it out," he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.
When you read a pattern for a complex article, perhaps a cardigan, or one with an elaborate design in it, you wrinkle your nose at parts of it and wonder 'what is that and why is it in here'. That is what I thought when I read this passage. Then I read it out loud and restated it in my own words. I am going to restate this 'pattern' to you.
The part of the prophet cutting trees to build a place to sleep is played by you. You are knitting a blanket. You are working hard to provide for yourself. In Genesis 3 we learn of the curse given to man through the fall of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:19 reads: By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.
You are working hard with borrowed knitting needles when you are startled. You drop one of the needles fall into the sewer. This now creates a debt you cannot pay. You don't have the financial ability to purchase one yourself, that is why you borrowed in the first place. And now you not only cannot complete your task of the blanket which was to provide you with funds, you owe the person your borrowed from the cost of the needles which you cannot afford!
In your sinful nature you fall short of the glory of God. Satan lays claim to you because you cannot pay the debt required by God. Along comes Jesus Christ with the cross (Elisha and the stick in the story). Jesus goes to the cross for you and as the axhead floats to the top (you dive into His Word).
Now let's look very closely at verse 7 of our story. "Lift it out," he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it. God has provided a way to reach him, Jesus Christ. You reach out and accept His gift of Salvation and your debt is paid. Your soul (the axhead) is not lost. It has been retrieved! Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25 Jesus went to the cross, he took the beating, the humiliation, the crucifixion. He hurt so bad he sweat blood according to Luke 22:44.
Your debt is paid! The axhead is within your reach. But you must "reach out and take it". I have notebooks and magazines and digital files full of many patterns. Owning the patterns does not provide a finished project. I must actively follow the pattern with the necessary tools and work to make the item.
If you do not reach out and accept the Salvation of God offered through Jesus Christ, you have turned away from God. Salvation sits there, like the pattern for the most beautiful shawl you have ever imagined.
Let's retell the story now using our new actors. You live your life trying to be good. You are a good person, you are kind. You attend church regularly, serve at the local food pantry. You knit or crochet hats, gloves, mittens and blankets for the homeless shelter. You give financially to your home church and several missionaries as well.
One day you approach the gates of heaven but you cannot get in, the gate is locked and you do not have the key. No amount of good works, and best intentions will get you into heaven. I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 Jesus comes alongside you and says he has the key. He holds the it out toward you.
Do you turn and walk away? Or do you reach out and take the key that will allow you access to God's glory?