“Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.” (2 Kings 6:1-7)
While the account of Elisha and the floating axe head is an interesting one, there is also an application to be made to us today. Elisha did not make that axe head float by his own power, but by the power of God as a prophet.
Spiritually speaking, we are very much like that axe head. We are weighed down with sins and by ourselves we sink to the bottom in the trials, troubles, and burdens that this life brings. But just as Elisha was able to make that axe head to float by the power of God, so we also, by God’s grace and mercy, can be made to float spiritually.
We have no ability to save ourselves by good deeds, for the weight of sin is too great. But we can be raised to the surface of spiritual life by an obedient faith in God’s grace and mercy. Just as Elisha threw the stick into the water and the axe head floated, so there are things that we must do to be brought to the top. The actions themselves are not the direct cause of the effect, but they bring about the effect by being actions of obedient faith.
God says those actions required are: faith (Hebrews 11:6), repentance (Acts 2:38), confession of Christ (Matthew 10:32), and immersion in water for the remission of sin (Acts 22:16). Is your axe head floating or sinking?