This is a fascinating story wherein the three Kings of Israel, Judah and Edom were joining to fight a war which they thought they could win easily. But things did not go as they planned. They were not aware that they can make all the plans but in the end it is still the Lord’s purpose which will prevail. And so as the story goes, they all went to see Elisha and ask for help. The answer they received was not the one they expected. What Elisha told them was to dig ditches and that God will fill the ditches with water which will nourish the troops and their cattle. If they comply then God will deliver Moab into their hands. Most probably the kings found Elisha’s answer to be funny and strange; but they chose to believe in God and they did as they were told. The ending was a success for God was with them.
This narrative is all about our faith in God. Although sometimes it may seem to be ridiculous, we have to just trust in Him and believe in all of God’s promises. We can ask anything in prayers and supplication but we have to believe, claim and act on our beliefs. Then that is the only time we can receive all of the answers to our prayers. We have to always remember that according to our beliefs it will be done to us ( Matthew 9:29 “According to your faith be it done to you.” ).
But we have to do some work to exercise our faith for faith without works is dead (James 2:17 “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead). The kings following God’s instructions to dig ditches is faith coupled with action, while waiting for the water they dig ditches. When we ask God for something let us do our part and prepare for the things that we are praying for. Even before there is water, the ditches should have been there in preparation. Preparation is faith in action. When we act on our prayers doing the best we can to do something for God to know that we are preparing in anticipation to Him answering our prayers, we are making Him happy. When we have active faith, we are pleasing God.
It is impossible for us to please God without faith. Pleasing God will only happen when we marry faith and action. I would like to share a few quotes from Florence Scovel Shinn, one of my favourite authors:
“All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” You must act as if you had already received.
“Hope looks forward, Faith knows it has already received and acts accordingly. In my classes I often emphasize the importance of digging ditches (or preparing for the things asked for) which shows active faith and brings the demonstration to pass.”
“Man must prepare for the thing he has asked for when there isn’t the slightest sign of it in sight.”