The living quarters were too cramped. Even preachers training in the school of the prophets appreciate some comfort. They asked Elisha if they could relocate their headquarters to the banks of the Jordan where there would be a bit more room and the requested was granted.
The students went to work clearing the land and cutting down trees (2 Kings 6:1-7). One man, laying his axe to the work, ended up laying his axe in the bottom of the river. The Jordan was a muddy river and there wouldn’t be much of a chance swimming and finding a piece of iron at the bottom. The worst part was this was a borrowed axe. This might not be such a big deal for some people. I knew a man who asked his neighbor if it would be all right if he came over to his garage. He said, “Sure, you don’t need to ask, but did you need something?” He said “I was working on a project and wanted to borrow some of my tools from your garage.” This young prophet was evidently that rare sort of man who actually takes care of borrowed items with the mind to return them when finished. May his tribe increase. The iron sinks — immediately he thinks of losing the borrowed axe, and that law, righteousness, and honor would require him to replace it. That would in turn reminded him he needed to borrow the axe because he couldn’t afford to buy one, let alone replace.
Elisha asked him where the axe fell and the young man pointed to the water. Elisha cut a stick and threw it in the area of the axe head. Bubbling up from the depth came the axe! It popped up and began to swim over to the shore. Now that’s amazing! On the banks of the Jordan, away from the multitudes, in the middle of a work day, God came and showed His great power to this band of prophets. In the grand scheme of things, a lost axe head isn’t really that big a deal; and yet God was concerned with his problem. There are no issues too small or too insignificant for God. That’s one glorious aspect of God’s omnipotence and omnipresence. God’s attention is not divided and his power is not limited. He can hear your most earnest plea, and sympathize with your smallest request. There is nothing insignificant to our Father in the life of His child. There is also nothing too difficult for God. In hopeless predicament with the loss of a borrowed tool that he could not but, could not repay, nor retrieve, the man was without hope. But God comes in mercy and does what only God could do. That is what we all need, God’s saving grace. We are in the dire condition of having a sin debt that we cannot pay and our only recourse is to cry out unto a merciful God who is able to deliver us.