One year when I was in college, I cut, stacked, sold, and delivered firewood. It was a hard job, so I have empathy for the hapless logger in the 2 Kings 6 story.
Elisha’s school for prophets had prospered, and their meeting place had become too small. Someone suggested they go into the woods, cut logs, and enlarge their facilities. Elisha agreed and accompanied the workers. Things were going remarkably well until someone’s axhead fell into the water (v. 5).
Some have suggested that Elisha simply probed in the water with his stick until he located the axhead and dragged it into sight. That would hardly be worth mentioning, however. No, it was a miracle: The axhead was set in motion by God’s hand and began to float so the man could retrieve it (vv. 6–7).
The simple miracle enshrines a profound truth: God cares about the small stuff of life—lost axheads, lost keys, lost glasses, lost phones—the little things that cause us to fret. He doesn’t always restore what’s lost, but He understands and comforts us in our distress.
Next to the assurance of our salvation, the assurance of God’s care is essential. Without it we would feel alone in the world, exposed to innumerable worries. It’s good to know He cares and is moved by our losses—small as they may be. Our concerns are His concerns.
Most of Israel had turned against God, but a faithful remnant of seven thousand had not worshiped the pagan god Baal (1 Kings 19:18). These included at least three schools of prophets. Scholars believe these schools (perhaps the equivalent of Bible seminaries today) were started by Samuel (1 Samuel 19:20). At the time of Elisha, “the company of the prophets” could be found in three cities: Bethel (2 Kings 2:3), Jericho (v. 5), and Gilgal (4:38). In 2 Kings 6:1–7, Elisha was teaching the students who were training for ministry. Because their meeting place was too small, they decided to build a bigger classroom (vv. 1–2). While cutting a tree, the iron ax fell into the Jordan River. The loss of the borrowed ax would be extremely costly for that student because very few tools at that time were made of iron. Elisha saved that man from debt, if he were unable to compensate for such a huge loss, and possible servitude.