Making Music and Digging Ditches…
And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, (Jehoram, king of Israel) nor see thee. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. (2Kings 3:14-16)
BACKGROUND: Elijah’s dynamic ministry took place in the northern ten tribes known as Israel. (Judah remained intact in the south and functioned with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.) Elijah prodded Ahab to command the prophets of Baal to meet with Elijah on Mt. Carmel for a contest with God and His prophet.
When Elijah’s turn came to pray, he repaired Jehovah’s altar that was broken down, laid on it wood, an offering, and in the time of great drought, ordered precious water to be poured on the altar, and prayed a short prayer. Fire fell from heaven and devoured the offering, wood, water, and even the stones of the altar.
Clouds gathered and the first rain in three years fell in torrents. Israel went through a little emotional fidget, saying they would serve God and renounce the idols of Baal and Jezebel’s priesthood. Their revival toward God was barely skin-deep.
And now, Elijah has gone to Heaven and his understudy, Elisha, has taken his place. Wicked King Ahab has died and his son, Jehoram, is king. Moab has rebelled against him to get out from under the yoke of Israel. The people of Moab were having to pay Israel a hundred thousand lambs and a hundred thousand rams every year. The king of Israel is between a rock and a hard place so he appeals to Jehoshaphat the king Judah to come and help him fight Moab. "Yeah, I'll go with you."
After Elisha had briefly chewed on the King of Israel he recovered his own composure and said, “bring me a minstrel.” King Saul, Israel’s first king, relied on music to soothe his tortured soul. David brought his hand-held lyre (a small harp) and Saul would relax. Good music can do that, even today. But there is today some “music” that to me sounds like a cat caught in a screen door and I don’t care for it. I don’t have a verse of Scripture for it. I just don’t like it. If it brings you close to God, then that’s between you and the Lord. It does nothing for me but grate my nerves.
As the minstrel ministered to Elisha with music the Spirit of God moved on Elisha and told him what to do. “Make this valley full of ditches.” Well, now, is that any way to attack an enemy? Just…dig a lot of ditches? There’s a principle here. Do you remember when young David ran out to fight Goliath, the Philistine? David said to him, just before he killed him with his sling and a stone: And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands. (1Samuel 17:47)
“The battle is the Lord’s.” In another place we are told: … Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19) I have known about this verse a long time but sometimes I want so bad to help the Lord do His work of “repaying” His vengeance. The battle is the Lord’s. This has been hard for me to embrace sometimes. I started out “taking care of it” in the second grade and always ended up with a bloody nose and bruises. I was a slow learner. All the boys in my class were bigger than me. “The battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.” “Make this valley full of ditches.”
Is there anything more important or more crucial to the outcome than to “play the guitar” and wait on the Lord?” The music soothed his soul and helped Elisha to concentrate on talking with God and listening to Him. Our God is an awesome God and He is the God of infinite variety. Let’s don’t try to figure out what He will do or how He will do it. Just obey everything He shows you.
Nobody else was digging ditches; just these people that God told to dig ditches. If you can be still and wait on the Lord to tell you what to do, you’ve got it made. I believe that God’s people ought to connect with Him more than we do. I’m not a good example, but I do intend to practice what I preach.
When I wake up in the morning, if I look over at the clock in the dark and if it’s about time to get up, I just lie there and see if He wants to give me an idea or put something in my mind that I need to do that day. Sometimes, the Lord shows me things when I first wake up. That’s the time to be still and listen and wait. Don’t start your day telling the Lord a bunch of stuff right off. Just be quiet for a while and if you need to say something, just say: “Good morning Lord. Is there something you want me to think about this morning?” Then be quiet. When it’s time to pray, begin by thanking Him.
Sometimes it’s to know which one of two things you’ve been thinking about. Sometimes it’s a matter of waiting until things line up and He gives you the green light. Whatever you need, you can depend on this: Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalm 46:10) Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalm 27:14) Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
October 24, 2017 - TUESDAY
A.M. Jeremiah 11-13 P.M. 1Timothy 4
(BIBLE GATEWAY will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. (Hebrews 4:2)
Song for Today:
Near the Cross (2:54) (Dailey & Vincent – Acc. Quartet)
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making music and digging ditches
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Dan Carr is a "retired" pastor, writer, teacher and continues to write at this website. This blog and other articles are e-mailed free to anyone who wants them. Go to: