Greater Than ThreeWeekly Posts
2 Kings 13:8-19 “Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
How far do you go before you give up? To what length do you persevere with things before you stop?
The reason why Elisha was angry with the King was because he only struck the ground three times. Not four, not five, not six…but three times. Three is the number of completion. Three is the number of comfort. Three grants an excuse that allows you to quit, to give up, to try another day.
Think about it, we live up to this little rule all the time. Three chances and your gone, three knocks at the door before you conclude they aren’t in, three phone calls until you realise they aren’t going to pick up. You see, when we do anything three times and it fails all three times, there is a part of us that says; “You tried hard enough, you’ve had a go, you deserve to stop”. The phrase ‘third time lucky’ actually comes from English law, where anyone who survived the third attempt of hanging would be set free. It’s even a written rule!
3 is the number of complacency.
The reason why Elisha got angry was because the King was complacent. The King stopped at a comfortable number, the King just wanted to give ‘good enough’, the King did not persevere to get his reward. Elisha wanted to see the King thrash the floor five or six times, anything greater than three really, to grant him deliverance from his enemies. What I know to be true is that God does not reward complacency, God does not reward ‘good enough’. He is searching for whose hearts are diligent, sacrificial and tenacious.
Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”. Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times”
Different number…same principle. Peter was looking for a number where he could stop at, where he could claim ‘good enough’, but Jesus was wanting him to persevere continuously, to never stop forgiving people no matter their number. Is your heart counting up the numbers, looking for a place to stop and be excused? What have you given up on that God is still calling you to continue? What have you thought has failed too many times to be worth continuing?