2 Kings 3
-As Jehoram (sometimes called Joram) takes over Israel, as Ahaziah’s brother and Ahab’s son, he still walks in evil in the sight of the LORD, but not to the degree of his father and mother, Jezebel. He at least put away the sacred pillar of Baal, which his father had made (2 Kings 3:1-3). There is trouble in the land because of a rebellion from Mesha, king of Moab, which is south east of Israel to the east of the Dead Sea. Moab’s king was a sheep breeder and had paid tribute to Israel with massive amounts of sheep and rams. When Ahab died, Mesha perceived weakness and saw the opportunity to end this practice with defiance. This made King Jehoram go out from Samaria and muster up all Israel to fight against the Moabites. He gathered together not only Israel, but also Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and the king of Edom to join in the conquest of Moab. The three kings partner together, and Jehoshaphat desires to consult a prophet of the LORD before their engagement with the enemy. Elisha, son of Shaphat, is solicited, and he rebukes Jehoram telling him to go to his father and mother’s prophets. However, Jehoram tells him that the LORD has called these three kings together to give them victory in Moab. Elisha replied, “As the LORD of host lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you.” After calling for a minstrel to play, the Spirit of the LORD came upon Elisha, and he prophesied some things beneficially. First, he predicted they would have water (they had taken the wilderness route to the south of the Dead Sea by way of Edom where it is complete desert with no water for the troops or their animals, 2 Kings 3:8-9) as they were instructed to make the valley full of trenches. Second, he predicted that the LORD would give the Moabites into their hand. The instruction was to strike every fortified city and every choice city, fell every good tree, stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. All of this happened as the LORD provided water from the mountains into the valley by the way of Edom making it look like blood to the Moabites who thought the three nations had turned on one another and made war with each other. As the reckless Moabites went in for the plunder, they were attacked and fled before the allied armies. Israel, Judah, and Edom advanced into the land slaughtering the Moabites, destroying the cities, throwing stones on every piece of good land filling it with ruggedness, stopping all the springs of water, and felling all the good trees. They left the stones in Kir-hareseth (an advantageous city overlooking the Dead Sea on a mountain), but the slingers went about it and struck it. When Mesha saw that the battle was too fierce for his people to handle, he took 700 men and attacked attempting to break through the lines to the king of Edom, but they could not. At this point the king of Moab took his oldest son who was to be the next king and offered him as a burnt offering sacrifice on the wall of the city. This incited the Moabites with great wrath against Israel from a desperate state and probably with demonic force. With this occurring the Israelites departed from King Mesha and returned to their own land (2 Kings 3:4-27).
-*Application* Israel’s wayward ways lead them into difficult circumstances and wars with their enemies. Judah sometimes came into to help and got the blessing of the LORD as in this circumstance. It is interesting to see the prophet’s response towards Jehoshaphat, who was a man of God and righteousness (1 Kings 22:43). We should be like Jehoshaphat and Elisha and stand before the LORD in humility for His abundant blessing. The other lesson that should be learned here is to withstand the wrath of the enemy in the battle. The last verse of this chapter is perplexing. In the throes of battle with the victory essentially assured, Israel withdrew because their enemy got enraged. This is capitulation to a weaker foe and makes no sense really. The prophet had given them the word of God that they had the power to overcome, yet they retreated at the point of total victory. We can do this sometimes in our own lives. When we experience God’s favor in a battle, yet do not carry it through to its completion, we forfeit what we had gained. Don’t let that happen in your life. Complete the conquest over sin or whatever the LORD has you fighting.
Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 3:14