Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 24


2 Kings 24

 

-In the days of Jehoiakim, the world scene had a power shifting taking place, which took the Egyptians, who practically ruled Judah, out and Babylon, under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar, became the dominant force in the region. In 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the Egyptians and assumed power at Carchemish. Thus, Babylon took control of all Egypt’s vassals (including Judah), which lead to Nebuchadnezzar invading the land of Jerusalem in order to establish his rule by force. Jehoiakim became his servant for three years, and then he rebelled against the foreign oppressor (2 Kings 24:1). But, because he was evil (2 Kings 23:37), the LORD sent against him and Judah all sorts of local bands of raiders according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken through His servants the prophets (2 Kings 24:2). “Surely at the command of the LORD it came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all he had done, and also for  the innocent blood which he shed, for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; and the LORD would not forgive (2 Kings 24:3-4).” Jehoiakim passed into eternity and was replaced briefly by his son Jehoiachin, who also did evil in the sight of the LORD, before Babylon laid siege on the city. Jehoiachin eventually came out to Nebuchadnezzar with his mother and servants and captains and officials. At this point he, along with his family, was taken captive by the king of Babylon only three months into his reign of Judah. Babylon ransacked Jerusalem at this time taking from there all the treasures of the house of the LORD (The Temple) and the treasures of the king’s house (2 Kings 24:5-13). So, all the captains, the mighty men of valor, craftsmen, smiths, and everyone of any value were deported to Babylon for exile. None remained except for the very poorest of the land (2 Kings 24:14-16). This was the time of Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Mehach), and Azariah’s (Abed-nego) deportation (Daniel 1:1-7).

-Then, the king of Babylon made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Mattaniah (whose name was changed to Zedekiah, he was another son of Josiah), the new puppet ruler of the Judean region. He was allowed to reign for eleven years as the last king of the somewhat autonomous Judah as a son of David’s line. But, he also did evil in the sight of the LORD, and he incurred more of the anger of the LORD. Zedekiah eventually rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon with the remnant that was left in the land (2 Kings 24:17-20).

-*Application* God hates the shedding of innocent blood. He has control of all world powers by His sovereign, over-arching will. God will bless those who bless Him and keep His commands. He is against those individuals, and nations, that continually transgress His ways, disregard Him, and do things their own selfish, false way. We personally, and as a nation, must conform to the almighty standards of God if we want His blessings. There are conditions for favor. At the heart of all this is love and faith. If we love and trust our Creator with all our heart, He will rescue. If we shun Him, He will eventually give up on us just as He did with Judah. However, remember this: He always keeps His promises and did bring His people back to the land according to all that He had decreed in the end. He is faithful even when we are not. What an awesome God of grace, mercy, and compassion!

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 24:3-4

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 23


2 Kings 23

 

-The radical and complete reforms of Josiah to straighten the land of Israel out are chronicled in this unique and informative chapter of Scripture. Josiah makes a covenant before God and the people of Judah and Jerusalem “to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant (2 Kings 23:3).” What happens next is a tirade of breaking down all the idols and false gods that could be found in the land (2 Kings 23:4-20). In this remarkable turn of events, Israel is revived from all the paganism that had infiltrated and dominated in so many ways during the era of the kings. Josiah fulfills prophecy in burning the bones of these false prophets in Bethel on the foreign alters that Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made (1 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 23:16). He reinstates the Passover to celebrate to the LORD their God. Josiah removed the mediums, the spiritists, the teraphim, the idols, and all the abominations that were in the land of Judah and Jerusalem. He followed through with what he committed to the LORD (2 Kings 23:21-24). The Bible states, “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him (2 Kings 23:25).” So Hezekiah was known for his unsurpassing faith (2 Kings 18:5), and Josiah was said to be the greatest in following the law of Moses in obedience.

-*Application* These were the two greatest kings in Judah because of their reverence to the LORD their God. They were leaders who feared God rather than being worried about pleasing men. Their strong stand incurred the favor of God during otherwise lean times in the national history of Israel. Be that king of servant of your King!

-The key contrasting term “however” starts off the 26th verse of the chapter. The LORD did not end up turning “from the fierceness of His wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh (Josiah’s grandfather) had provoked Him (2 Kings 23:26).” He began events in the nation which would cast Judah from His sight for a time and Jerusalem was cast off as His city for Temple worship. The time of the Gentiles, as prophesied, was now coming and soon Egypt was allying with Assyria to combat the rising power of Babylon, who would end up taking Judah captive. Egypt is the first captor of Judah in part as Josiah is killed in battle at Megiddo (the place of the battle of Armageddon in Revelation). His son, Jehoahaz, is anointed king in Jerusalem, but is carried off to Egypt as a prisoner only three months later. He did evil in the sight of the LORD as many of his fathers had done. Egypt began to take gold and silver from the government and the people in Judah during this time. After Jehoahaz was taken away, a puppet king, Eliakim (or Jehoiakim by Egyptian naming), who was another son of Josiah, was set in the place of rule in Judah. He continued the process of supplying Egypt with funds of gold and silver by taxing his people. Jehoiakim also was known for doing evil in the sight of God. The spiral downward to exile had begun (2 Kings 23:26-37).

-*Application* When God’s patience runs out, it becomes painfully evident. Remember, there are always consequences for disobedience. The prophecies had been made in a time of rebellion against God in the days of Manasseh, and when His prophets speak, not a word will fail. Be careful to live in obedience to the LORD and serve only Him. He is wonderfully patient, but He does have His limits as we see in the text of Scripture.

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 23:3, 25

Monday, July 29, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 22


2 Kings 22

 

-We read about a great reformer in the land of Judah when we read about King Josiah, who came to the throne as a youngster at the age of 8 years old. He had a heart that was completely yielded to the LORD as his ancestral father David, doing right in His sight, not turning to the right or to the left. He kept a straight course for love, mercy, justice, peace, and obedience in his kingdom during his reign, and he was blessed. His heart was tender and he humbled himself before the LORD. He tore his clothes in anguish when he learned of his people’s rebellion and sin and interceded for them before God. Truly the LORD heard this man and turned His attention to him for favor in his time (2 Kings 22:1-2, 11, 18-20).

-In the eighteenth year of his reign when he was 26 years old (a young and strong man by this point) he instituted a program for repairs on the LORD’s Temple. It was in this process that Hilkiah, the high priest, found the book of the law in the house of the LORD (2 Kings 22:8). As the book was read in the presence of the king, he repented for his country and was sorrowful upon all sorrow. He sent his officials for a prophetic word to inquire about this wrathful word given by God towards a people of disobedience, which was found in the book of the law (2 Kings 22:12-14a). They found Huldah, a prophetess who was the keeper of the wardrobe living in the Second Quarter of Jerusalem. She gave discouraging news concerning the plight of Judah because of their forsaking the commands of their God and the burning of incense to idols, which provoked the Living God to wrath and anger. In fact she related that His anger would not be quenched (2 Kings 22:14b-17). However, a promise was given to Josiah because of his righteousness. God heard his confessions and supplications and would allow him to go to his grave in peace, thus not having to see all the evil which the LORD would bring on the earthly kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 22:18-20).

-*Application* When our heart is right, like Josiah’s was, we will seek out the things of God and dig deep into what He commands of us and expects from us. What we will find, as Josiah and Judah did, is that adjustments through confession, repentance, and faith must be made to bring us back into right standing with God’s Kingdom culture. It is at this point that we can expect our merciful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to have mercy on us and forgive us from all iniquity and sin (1 John 1:9). He takes us from where we are at and transforms us into something better in righteousness as we turn to Him with a tender heart, a humble spirit, and genuine remorse. He gives the promise of peace to us when we are pliable enough to act upon His offered grace. Obey God completely and rest in His forgiveness. Stay wayward and expect His jealous wrath.

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 22:2, 19

Saturday, July 27, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 21


2 Kings 21

 

-An indictment comes on Judah in this chapter as Hezekiah’s son takes the throne and does abominable evil in the sight of the LORD God. Manasseh assumes authority and control of the kingdom of Judah as a twelve year old and promptly takes Israel back into abhorrent sin and idol worship as he rebuilt the high places that his father had destroyed and erected alters to Baal and Asherah in the most holy places imaginable even as Ahab, king of Israel, had done with Jezebel. Manasseh served the hosts of heaven and worshipped them instead of the God of his father, the True and Living God. He made his sons pass through the fire (sacrificed them in pagan worship), practiced witchcraft, and used divination dealing with mediums and spiritists. “He did much evil in the sight of the LORD provoking Him to anger (2 Kings 21:1-6).” God was infuriated because He had chosen Jerusalem from all the tribes of Israel to put His Name forever, and this insubordinate king was defiling His holy Name and disgracing His Temple. He had promised longevity and stability in the land as long as they observed His statutes and laws that Moses had commanded them, “but they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the sons of Israel (2 Kings 21:7-9).”

-Now the LORD spoke through His servants the prophets to warn and rebuke. The prophets reported from the Heavenly Father that He was bringing incredible calamity to the point of making whoever hears of it have tingling ears on both sides (a tangible emotional reaction). Jerusalem will be wiped as a dish by her enemies becoming a plunder and spoil to them because they had done evil and shed innocent blood in the sight of their God provoking Him to anger (2 Kings 21:10-16). Manasseh passes away, but his son Amon is just as bad. He was killed by his servants in a conspiracy and Josiah became king after this assassination (2 Kings 21:17-26).

-*Application* We see the things the LORD detests from reading this passage. The thing for us is to abide by His decrees and commands, which center around a supreme love for Him above all else. We must submit to His authority and obey for our benefit and well being. God only has our best interests in mind as He did for Israel. Don’t be stubborn and stiff-necked in rebellion against the good things God has planned for you. Give Him glory and whole hearted devotion instead of idolatry. The other thing to consider here for those of us who are parents is to raise our children up in the nurture, admonition, and fear of the LORD. Somehow Hezekiah failed his LORD, his nation, and his family by raising a son who departed from his own devout faith. This can often happen if we are not diligent to train and instruct our children properly in the ways of the LORD, praying for them and laying them before God to discipline and correct. Train up your children in the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart (Proverbs 22:6).

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 21:9

Friday, July 26, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 20


2 Kings 20

 

-Hezekiah’s miraculous healing and his showing of the king’s treasuries to the king of Babylon are detailed in this historical chapter featuring the ministry of the prophet Isaiah. Hezekiah finds himself mortally ill and receives word from the prophet Isaiah that he needs to set his house in order in preparation for departing this physical world. Hezekiah again cries out to the LORD, as he had done before in times of distress (2 Kings 19:14-19), relating to God how he had walked before Him in truth and with a whole heart doing good in His sight (2 Kings 20:1-3). The LORD relents and alerts Isaiah as he is going out of the court area, and he returns with this word from the LORD, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake (2 Kings 20:5-6).” A cake of figs was taken and laid on the boil of the king and he recovered (2 Kings 20:7). Hezekiah asked for a sign that the LORD would completely heal and a miracle of moving back the shadows was given through the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 20:8-11).

-At that time Berodach-baladan, a son of Baladan, king of Babylon sent letters and a present to Hezekiah when he heard the king of Judah was sick. There seemed to be a genuine camaraderie and trust between the two leaders of nations, which lead Hezekiah to listen to him and show him all the treasures in his house. Isaiah, knowing and sensing through the Holy Spirit, approaches the king to inquire what all he showed the foreigners. Isaiah at this point gives the prediction from the LORD, “Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day will be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left…Some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you will beget, will be taken away; and they will become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon (2 Kings 20:12-18).” This was eventually fulfilled. Hezekiah makes a statement at this point that the word of the LORD was good and he was thankful that there would be peace and truth in his days (2 Kings 20:19). The king of Judah went on to make the pool and the conduit to bring water inside the walls of the city of Jerusalem to protect a water source during invasions and he eventually passed on into eternity leaving his son, Manasseh, as the next king of the nation (2 Kings 20:20-21).

-*Application* We see here very plainly that the LORD hears our prayers and will respond to the righteous in order to extend life and give a multitude of blessings. Hezekiah’s pleas were sincere and he had done his part as a faithful servant of the King of kings. The LORD rewarded his honesty, his whole heartedness, and his goodness. He will reward ours as well in times of trouble and desperation. Also, we need to be careful what we divulge to others in our alliances and friendships. Use discernment and consider what could happen in the future when people know too much about your treasures.

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 20:5-6

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 19


2 Kings 19

 

-The story of God’s saving of the remnant of Judah and King Hezekiah is related in vivid detail in this powerful text of Scripture with the theme of deliverance. Hezekiah first humbled himself before the LORD and sought out a word from the LORD from Isaiah the prophet (2 Kings 19:1-5). He was never arrogant or forceful with his speech in coming under the authority of the God of the Universe, and because of this he was told to have no fear (2 Kings 19:6). The blaspheming of the Assyrians had come before the God who knows all, and He was about to act on behalf of His people. He put a spirit in the enemy so that he would hear a rumor and return to his own land where he would fall by the sword (2 Kings 19:7, 36-37). After more boasting and bragging, the Assyrians were poised to go into Jerusalem to conquer, but Hezekiah went before the LORD with sincere and honest prayer of petition and supplication for deliverance so that the earth would know that God alone saves (2 Kings 19:8-19)!

-God answered through the prophet Isaiah in a stirring poetic stanza for comfort, peace, and victory (2 Kings 19:20-28, 32-34). God gave a sign and promised that the surviving remnant in Judah would again take root downward and bear fruit upward (2 Kings 19:29-31). “Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out (much like the death angel in Egypt during the time of Moses, Exodus 12:1-30) and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead (2 Kings 19:35).”

-*Application* God puts to shame those who arrogantly come against Him and His people, power, and purposes. He lifts up those who call upon His Name for deliverance and blessings in a humble and contrite manner (Psalm 138:6, Proverbs 3:34, Matthew 23:12, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). Resist the temptation to fear man over God. He is the only One who can ultimately save you in the end. This is what belief, faith, and trust is all about!

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 19:4, 19

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 18


2 Kings 18

 

-The looming threats of Assyrian domination are the primary theme here as the northern kingdom has now fallen and all that remains of the sons of Israel is in Judah. The LORD raises up a king that rivals, and even surpasses, David for his goodness, faith, and devotion towards his God. This king is Hezekiah, who is the son of the evil Ahaz, but this Judean king turns completely to the LORD and all of His ways. He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pagan pillars and cut down the Asherah (a wooden symbol of female deity). He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made (called Nehushtan- a piece of bronze) because the Israelites were burning idolatrous incense to it. Hezekiah trusted the LORD, the true God of Israel; He clung to the LORD and did not depart from following Him. He kept His commandments, which the LORD had given to His prophet Moses. Therefore, the LORD was with him, and wherever he went he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him (2 Kings 18:1-7). Hezekiah defeated ancient foes like the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city (2 Kings 18:8). He was the king in Judah that paralleled Hoshea, king of Israel, at the time of the siege of Samaria and the deportation into permanent Assyrian exile (2 Kings 18:9-12).

-Now in the 14th year of the reign of Hezekiah, when Sennacherib became king of Assyria, Sennacherib began to seize and take control of all the fortified cities in Judah. Hezekiah sent word to Sennacherib at Lachish that he had done wrong in rebelling and to please withdraw. Payments were made in an effort to reconcile differences (2 Kings 18:13-16). It was at this time that the king of Assyria sent some of his officials to Jerusalem with strong words of warning meant to discourage the people of Judah and its leadership. They denounced trying to get any help from their southern neighbor Egypt and implored them to capitulate to Assyrian authority with arrogant threats. They gave worldly promises of security and well-being in an attempt to weaken Judah’s resolve. They defamed the LORD with scoffing and defiant self-confidence making bold predictions about what would happen if Judah did not obey and serve them based on previous conquests (2 Kings 18:17-35). However, the people of Judah obeyed their king’s command to remain silent in the presence of their accusers. The chapter ends with the leadership officials (Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah) coming to Hezekiah with their clothes torn in lamentation and distress over the words of the Assyrian, Rabshakeh (2 Kings 18:36-37).

-*Application* First, we need to see the abundance of the LORD’s favor on His faithful servant Hezekiah. Here was a truly “good” king that was completely under the authority of the LORD and followed what was right in his conscience. He had unyielding faith and took action to obey the commands of God. How many of us can say that about ourselves? This is the mark of true spiritual maturity. God wants us to be holy even as He is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45). The LORD wants us to have His fullness and enjoy His presence forever (Psalm 16:11, Ephesians 3:19). Second, we will also face opposition to make us wonder if we are doing the right thing and tempt us to cower back in fear of man. In this chapter we see the assault of the enemy that is powerful and strong, yet a resistance is maintained because of their confidence in God. This is steadfastness and it will be tested on the crucible of fiery trial in a person’s life. The LORD will test you to see what is really in your heart (Deuteronomy 8:2, Zechariah 13:9, 1 Corinthians 3:11-16). On whom will you rely?

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 18:1-7

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 17


2 Kings 17

 

-This chapter describes the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians and the reasons why God allowed them to be permanently taken away into captivity. Hoshea, who was the last of the kings of Israel, did evil in the sight of the LORD during his reign, yet not to the extent of his predecessors (2 Kings 17:1-2). Nonetheless, the LORD was finished with this evil and stubborn group of Israel’s children and took them from their land by the hands of the Assyrians under the leadership of Shalmanesar. He got furious when Hoshea went to So, king of Egypt, offering no tribute to Assyria as he had done year by year. Shalmanesar bound Hoshea up in prison and invaded the whole land of Israel and besieged Samaria. After three years, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile settling them in Halah, Habor, on the river of Gozan, and into the cities of the Medes (2 Kings 17:3-6). These became the lost tribes of Israel who never returned to the land of promise.

-The rest of the chapter explains why Israel was dealt this blow and removed from the land. All this came about because they sinned against the LORD and did not fear their God who had brought them up from the land of Egypt out of slavery under the bondage of Pharaoh. They walked in the customs of the nations and kings whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel. They did secret things that were not right in the sight of the LORD and built pagan alters and sacrificed to false gods; thus, rejecting the only true God. “Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer saying, ‘Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets (2 Kings 17:7-13).” However, they did not listen, but became hard to the truth of the LORD like their father did, and they did not believe in the LORD their God (2 Kings 17:14). They made their sons and daughters pass through the fire of pagan human sacrifice, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD. This is why the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight except for Judah, whom had been given the Messianic promise through David. The text says this rejection of the LORD began with the leadership of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who drove Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin. There was no turning in the succeeding generations by the sons of Israel even though the LORD had showed great patience and forbearing. They simply would not depart from their wicked ways and receive the grace that God extended. Instead, they persisted in their debauchery until the LORD removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. Israel was carried away as God’s patience finally ran out (2 Kings 17:15-23).

-The king of Assyria brought in a multitude of foreigners into the land at this point to resettle it and repopulate it from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sephar-vaim. This was the beginning of the half-breed tribe of intermarried Jews that became well known in the time of Jesus as the socially hated “Samaritans.” There were some interesting interactions with the supernatural and even the animal kingdom as they came in to resettle in the Promised Land. They even were taught some on the concepts of the LORD by priests, but it did not take proper root in their souls. There was still too much mixture of the foreign gods and their practices, and the LORD was never made supreme. God had solely covenanted with His people and they had broken their promises in Israel. Those that replaced them did not fear Him properly either and gave themselves over to serve other idols (2 Kings 17:24-41).

-*Application* God is serious about His commitment to us. How serious are we in our devotion to Him? The Bible tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). The Word of God also tells us to test and examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith and evaluate if Christ Jesus is actually IN us through His Holy Spirit—unless we indeed fail that test (2 Corinthians 13:5). Too many of us take a light approach to the Lord and don’t consider the consequences of our divided affections to this world. Israel ended up paying a tragic price for their unbelief and capitulation to idols. Here’s the reality. We tend to take a tolerant position on the occult, wizards, witches, spells, and such in what we deem harmless children’s adventure stories. Here in Scripture we should get a reality check on how God views such things and His hatred of sharing loyalties.

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 17:7

Monday, July 22, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 16


2 Kings 16

 

-Ahaz became king of Judah after his father Jotham at the age of twenty and ruled for 16 long years as an evil and vile king of pagan practices and a capitulator to foreign authority. He did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God. He went the way of Israel, even to the point of making “his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had driven out from before the sons of Israel (2 Kings 16:1-3).” In other words, he was so depraved that he sacrificed his own son to the pagan gods, a practice of the Canaanites whom the people of God were to drive out of the holy land by the LORD’s command. He sacrificed and burned incense on the high places of pagan practice and on the hills and under every green tree (2 Kings 16:4). Therefore, the LORD sent agitators to the kingdom in the form of Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel. They besieged Jerusalem, but could not overcome it. At that time, Rezin recovered the port city of Elath, down south by the Red Sea (2 Kings 16:6).

-At this point, Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria for deliverance from his enemies making his nation come under the servitude of Assyria with gifts of gold and silver from the house of the LORD and from the treasuries in the king’s house (2 Kings 16:7-8). The king of Assyria listened to them and went along with their cries for help and went up against Damascus, capturing it carrying the people away to exile in Kir. The king of Assyria, Tiglath-pileser put Rezin, king of Aram, to death at this time (2 Kings 16:9). Assyria basically became Judah’s mercenaries.

-Ahaz went to meet the king of Assyria in Damascus and feel in love with an alter he observed there. He had Urijah, the priest, construct one just like it in Jerusalem. Although he did not destroy the bronze alter, which God had specified in His commands to Moses for the building of the Temple, he did capitulate as a vassal state to the pagan practices of the Assyrians, who he looked to for help rather than God (2 Kings 16:10-18). It was traditional to take a conquerors gods as your own when you were coming under their authority in the Middle East. This was a slight against the One-True Living God and was therefore a huge mistake of the part of Ahaz. He became a weak king with a weak and compromising high priest. Judah’s religious system was at this point in shambles, turned over to pagan practices and customs of false gods. Judah’s chief aim at this time was to please those in power and copy the errant religious practices of the enemies of the LORD. How sad. L

-*Application* How often do we capitulate to the world’s system and ways of life? It is easy for us to look down on Ahaz for his mistakes and missteps, but are we guilty of doing the exact same thing? The king of Assyria can be anything that takes us away from the worship, dependence, reliance, and devotion of the One-True Living God who loves us and will care for us much better than any worldly system. Do you go to God or to man when you need real help? Think about it, and ask God to give you His Spirit of confidence and assurance in His provision and care. He is able! Don’t be foolish like Ahaz. Your kingdom (i.e.- your family, career, influence, ministry) will become weak and ineffective if you do.

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 16:2-3

Friday, July 19, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 15


2 Kings 15

 

-Several kings of the northern kingdom and of Judah are quickly depicted in this chapter. In Judah, Azariah (Uzziah) son of Amaziah becomes king at the age of 16 and reigns 52 years in Jerusalem doing right in the sight of the LORD for the most part other than continuing to allow the false worship on the high places as his father had done. Azariah (Uzziah) was struck with leprosy during his reign, which forced him to live in a separate house and allowed his son Jotham to be over the household even while he was still alive. When he passed, Jotham took full control of the kingdom at the age of 25and reigned over the land of Judah for 16 years. He did as his father in the eyes of the LORD as a partially good king, but the high places were still not taken away. In his days, the LORD began to send Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, against Judah (2 Kings 15:1-7, 32-38).

-In Israel there was more intrigue and conspiracy as the fourth generation of Jehu came to pass as the prophets had spoken with an overthrow of power. Zechariah son of Jeroboam lasted only six months before he was attacked and killed by Shallum the son of Jabesh who was also assassinated after only reigning for a month. Shallum was killed by Menahem son of Gadi from Tirzah (directly east of Samaria and north of Shechem near Mt. Ebal where Baasha was buried and Zimri and Omri reigned over Israel, http://www.bible-history.com/geography/ancient-israel/ot/tirzah.html, 1 Kings 16:6, 15, 23). Menahem ruthlessly attacked Tiphsah, near Tirzah, and it borders near Tirzah because they were not open to him as king. He slaughtered many in the town and ripped up all its pregnant women. He reigned for 10 years in Samaria doing evil in the sight of the LORD, just as the sons of Jehu had done to make Israel sin. During his reign, Pul, the king of Assyria, came against the land. Menahem was forced into an expedient political move to exact money from his people to appease the king of Assyria for peace. After the death of Menahem, his son Pekahiah became king and reigned a short two years in Samaria. He also did evil in the sight of the LORD as his father had done. His officer, Pekah son of Remaliah conspired against him and struck him in the castle of the king’s house in Samaria. Pekah was aided by 50 men of the Gileadites and became ruler of the land. During his rule, the Assyrians came and captured significant territory in Israel and carried away many captives. As this was occurring, Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah and assassinated him to become king in his place (2 Kings 15:8-31).

-*Application* The unsettled rule of Israel was a direct result of not following the LORD and doing evil in His sight. As Solomon said, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34).” This is a reminder for us in our day and age to lift up and pray for our leadership in our respective nations (1 Timothy 2:1-5). This will allow for longevity and peace for the gospel to be propagated more effectively. Pray for good and Godly authority!  

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 15:3-4

Thursday, July 18, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 14


2 Kings 14

 

-More of the history of the kings of Israel and Judah are discussed in this chapter. It begins with the rule of Amaziah in Judah, who succeeded his father Joash after his assassination. Amaziah did right in the eyes of the LORD as a partiality good king. However, he, like his father, allowed the high places to go undisturbed and the people still burned incense and sacrificed to foreign gods on these high places. As soon as the kingdom was fully in his hands, Amaziah killed his servants who had slain Joash, his father. He destroyed 10,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt (Dead Sea region) and took Sela by war, renaming it Joktheel (2 Kings 14:1-7). At this point he got overconfident and challenged Jehoash, king of Israel, to face each other. Jehoash warned his southern brother and did not want trouble, but Judah persisted and they fought at Beth-shemesh (this was the northwest border of Judah, 20 miles from Jerusalem). Amaziah was captured and Jerusalem was eventually broken into as the walls were torn down between the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate (around 600 feet of territory). The gold, silver, and all the utensils of the House of the LORD were taken by Jehoash’s army as well as the treasuries of the king of Judah’s house with the hostages. After this they returned to Samaria the victors (2 Kings 14:8-14).

-The life of Jehoash (Joash), king of Israel ended peacefully after 17 years on the throne in Samaria and his son Jeroboam II took control. He took back territory for Israel even though he did evil in the sight of the LORD in not departing from the traditional pagan practices of the northern kingdom. “For the LORD saw the affliction of Israel, which was very bitter; for there was neither bond nor free, nor was there any helper for Israel. The LORD did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash (2 Kings 14:26-27).” He recovered Damascus from Aram and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah. After a 41 year reign, he was succeeded by his son Zechariah.

-Meanwhile, in back in Judah, Amaziah lived 15 years after the death of Jehoash (Joash) as king in Jerusalem. He was eventually conspired against as his father was and was assassinated in Lachish (the second most fortified city in Judah that defended an east-west valley). He was buried in Jerusalem with his fathers and his son Azariah became king at the age of sixteen. Azariah built Elath (a port at the north end of the Red Sea).

-*Application* This historical portrayal should remind us to sometimes leave well enough alone. Amaziah ruined a good thing by getting too prideful in his accomplishments and wanting to pick a fight with Israel who really didn’t want trouble. A wise person will heed well intentioned warnings and avoid disaster. Stay content and avoid being over ambitious when God isn’t in something. Also, we see that God’s patience and goodness extends further than we could ever imagine. He sees our suffering. Even when we are bad and undeserving, He sometimes extends blessings and helps us in our needs. Our God reaches out to save and is gracious in all our affliction!

 

Verses to Memorize: 2 Kings 14:26-27

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 13


2 Kings 13

 

-This chapter returns to describe the kingdom of Israel and two of the successive sons of Jehu, namely Jehoahaz and his son Joash. We also see the death of the aged Elisha in this passage. Both Jehoahaz and Joash fell short of being good kings because of their allowance of foreign gods just like Jeroboam son of Nebat. They both made Israel to sin doing evil in the sight of the LORD and walking in idolatry (2 Kings 13:2, 11). The anger of the LORD was kindled, especially with Jehoahaz, and therefore Israel was given continually into the hand of the Arameans until the king entreated the favor of the LORD and God listened because of their oppression. “The LORD gave Israel a deliverer (savior), so that they escaped from under the hand of the Arameans; and the sons of Israel lived in their tents as formerly (2 Kings 13:5).” Nevertheless, they still rebelled in their hearts toward their true and powerful God as the Asherah still was allowed to stand in Samaria (2 Kings 13:6).

-Joash showed grace and favor towards the mighty prophet Elisha as he was becoming sick to the point of his death. Joash wept over him genuinely, and the prophet blessed him with a word for victory over the Arameans. However, Joash fell short of what the prophet, and God for that matter, wanted in striking the ground with arrows as a symbol of the LORD’s destruction on Aram (2 Kings 13:14-19). After Elisha had passed away into eternity, a miracle occurred when a man who was being buried was hastily cast into the open grave of Elisha because of marauding band of Moabites. When the dead man touched the bones of Elisha, he resuscitated, revived, and stood up on his feet alive (2 Kings 13:20-21)! Now the LORD was compassionate on Israel despite their bad deeds and gave them victories over the Arameans and they recovered many of the lost cities from the time of Jehu and Jehoahaz. This happened primarily because God was gracious to them and had compassion and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He would eventually cast this kingdom from His presence, but He was showing His patience to them at this point (2 Kings 13:22-25).

-*Application* Our God is still gracious, merciful, and compassionate. He desires to show and pour out His favor on you and give you victory over every evil and enemy in your life. Don’t be like Israel though. Be whole heartedly devoted to His grace and mercy and live in such a way that pleases Him with no idolatry or compromise with temporary gods or false solutions. Our God is sufficient! His promises and covenant is true and lasting. You need no other!

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 13:5

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 12


2 Kings 12

 

-Joash (or Jehoash), king of Judah, is the focus of this paradoxical chapter in the history of the kingdom of David’s sons. It seems at the beginning that Joash is centered in the LORD and he does what is right in the sight of the LORD. He is instructed and receives wisdom from Jehoida, all the days of the great priest’s life, which ended up being 130 years (2 Chronicles 24:15). Repairs to the Temple were amply provided and wise counsel seemed to win the day during this forty year reign of Joash as long as Jehoida was around as a representative of God. There was trustworthiness and people dealt faithfully with one another (2 Kings 12:15). It was a time of renewal and restoration in the land and prosperity was occurring.

-However, and we get a more complete picture of these events in 2 Chronicles 24:17-26, the tide turned in the life of Joash after the death of Jehoida, who “had done well in Israel and to God and to His house.” The officials of Judah came now and bowed down to the king and began to listen to what became his unwise counsel. “They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for their guilt.” God sent them prophets to bring them back to the LORD, but they refused and even killed Zechariah, the son of Jehoida, in the court of the Temple by stoning him to death. As Zechariah died he asserted, “May the LORD see and avenge!” This happened as Hazael, king of Aram, came up against Jerusalem after capturing Gath (A Philistine city to the south and west of Jerusalem). They demanded tribute, and Joash was forced to pay out all the sacred things that his predecessors Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah had dedicated, all the gold that was found among the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house. This appeased the Syrians (Arameans) and they left, but the kingdom was now in distress. Joash’s servants, Jozacar and Jehozabad, ended up striking down the king at the house of Millo as he was going down to Silla. Thus ended the life prematurely of Joash, king of Judah, at the young age of 47, and he was buried in the city of David (Jerusalem), though not in the tombs of the kings because of the blood of the son of Jehoida the priest (Zechariah) and his wayward ending.

-*Application* Joash’ example to us reminds us to finish strong in the LORD. He had proper instruction and knew the right way to go, yet opted for idolatry and distress in his later years of leadership. We know it all starts with the heart. Sometimes people can fool us when they are under good authority, but then, when they gain power, they reveal their corruption and evil intent over the long-run. This seems to be what happened in the reign of Joash. He grew up in privilege and times of prosperity, but it seemed to ruin him in the end. It is all about the finish. It is not about how or where you start that ends up really mattering. Resolve to finish your race and complete your course faithful and strong in Christ Jesus (Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 9:24, 2 Timothy 4:7, Hebrews 12:1-2).

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 12:2

Monday, July 15, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 11


2 Kings 11

 

-The story of the seven year old king begins in this chapter. After the news of Ahaziah’s death in Israel along with much of his family (2 Kings 9:27-28; 10:13-14), Athaliah seized the southern kingdom by force killing all the royal offspring who might have opposed her. She was likely a relative of the evil Jezebel to the north and possibly even her daughter. In any event, she was of the same idolatrous spirit as this pagan queen and ended up ruling in Judah for six long years. However, Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram and sister of Ahaziah, rescued the infant son of Ahaziah from the slaughter and hid him in the LORD’s house under the control and authority of Jehoida the priest. In the seventh year Jehoida orchestrated a coup d'├ętat for the rightful Davidic heir to the throne for the young boy Joash (Jehoash). Carites, who scholars believe migrated to southern Palestine from the island of Crete, were hired as mercenary troops to give defense for the overthrow of power in the land. They brought out weapons from the Temple that had been David’s and they successfully anointed Joash as king and put the crown on him and gave him the testimony (probably a list of Divinely ordained laws). The people of Judah rejoiced with this action as the rightful line was back in control, and Athaliah was crying, “Treason! Treason!” to no avail. She was seized and executed at the horses’ entrance of the king’s house. “Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king (Joash) and the people, that they would be the LORD’s people, also between the king and the people (2 Kings 11:17).” After this, the people went and destroyed the house of Baal, his alters and his images, and killed Mattan the priest of Baal before the alters (2 Kings 11:18). Officers were appointed by Jehoida the priest over the house of the LORD for its continuance and protection. King Joash was enthroned in his king’s house, and all the people of the land rejoiced and the city was quiet again. Joash (Jehoash) was only seven years old when he took the throne of Judah. God’s providence prevailed again according to His promise to David (2 Samuel 7).

-*Application* God’s people have a right to stand up and fight for righteousness. This took careful planning and strategy to come up with an effective plan to eradicate the evil that was in control of the throne, but it happened according to the will of the LORD. Thankfully, we do not need to grow impatient as we wait, strategize, and plan for the work that the LORD has called us. He will give the resources, timing, and ultimate execution of the plan when and where He ordains. Rest in His will and do what He tells you for the Kingdom of God. When you do, not only you, but those around you will rejoice in what the LORD was able to do! Also, covenant with God and determine in your own heart to obey all that He says. We need to be His devoted people, just like the people of Judah.

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 11:17

Saturday, July 13, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 10


2 Kings 10

 

-Jehu completes the conquest for his kingdom and the wrath of the LORD against the house of Ahab in this chapter. The seventy sons of Ahab were killed along with all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, which included his great men, his acquaintances, and hiss priests (2 Kings 10:7, 11). Jehu also destroyed relatives of Ahaziah, king of Judah on his way back to Samaria at the pit of Beth-eked. There were 42 men in this butchering (2 Kings 10:14). When Jehu came to Samaria, he had allied with Jehonadab, and had zeal for the LORD to take down all who worshipped Baal in the region. By cunning he tramped the prophets of Baal throughout the land and destroyed them as well as desecrated their place of worship to completely eradicate Baal out of Israel (2 Kings 10:15-28).

-This was all well and good with the LORD as He fulfilled His word given by Elijah for the evil house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:10). However, Jehu did not completely depart from the sins of his nation and Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin. The golden calves that were at Bethel and Dan were left alone and not torn down. God was partially pleased with Jehu and gave him a promise to rule for four generations on the throne of Israel because he was faithful to do all God commanded him to the house of Ahab (2 Kings 10:29-30). “But, Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the LORD, the God of Israel, with all his heart; he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin.” Israel continued to slowly and methodically lose territory and during the days of Jehu as part of an eventual spiral downward in power and authority. Jehu did reign for 28 years in Samaria, and then Jehoahaz his son became king in his place (2 Kings 10:31-36).

-*Application* Complete fulfillment and whole hearted devotion is what the LORD requires. Do you want partial blessing like Jehu got, or would you rather have the full blessing like King David received in Judah (2 Samuel 7)? The decision is yours. God fulfills His promises. He is faithful. What He says, He will do. And He will give you favor when you totally surrender to His plans and purposes holding nothing back. Count on His Word in your life!

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 10:10, 28

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 9


2 Kings 9

 

-Chapter 9 begins the story of the reign of Jehu, who was an army commander in the northern kingdom of Israel under Jehoram. He was anointed by one of the sons of the prophets that Elisha sent to be the next king of Israel to replace the family of Ahab according to the Word of the LORD and destroy the rule of the wicked Jezebel. He is anointed king in Ramoth-gilead, east of the Jordan, and comes to Jezreel where Jehoram (Joram) the king had gone to heal from some wounds suffered in fighting with the Arameans and King Hazael at Ramoth-gilead. Ahaziah, the king of Judah, had come down from Jerusalem to see Joram at this time and was providentially there for the violent action that occurred. Jehu comes driving into the area denying peace to all who asked what his intentions were. When Joram sees Jehu, he asks, “Is it peace Jehu?” Jehu answered, “What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many (2 Kings 9:22)?” Joram turned to flee as he realized the situation of treachery against his kingdom, and Jehu shot an arrow through the chest of Joram making him to sink in his chariot. Jehu ordered his officer, Bidkar, to take him to the property of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite according to the oracle of the LORD, which he had heard given in the days of Ahab by Elijah (1 Kings 21). Ahaziah is also assassinated as he tried to flee in Gur, which is at Ibleam. Ahaziah fled to Megiddo injured and died there. From there he was carried back to Jerusalem and buried in his grave with his fathers of the house of David.

-As Jehu returned to Jezreel, Jezebel adorned her head and painted her eyes as her time to die approached. She uses the name of Zimri, who had been an earlier usurper of power in the kingdom of Israel against his master, to attempt to degrade and possibly weasel out of her fate (1 Kings 16:9-20). Jehu looked up as he entered the gate of the city and asked two or three officials whose side they were on by commanding them to throw down the evil-pagan queen. They obeyed him by throwing her down and her blood was spilt of the wall and on the horses. She was then trampled, and was not even able to have a recognizable burial as the dogs ate her flesh according to the Word of the LORD predicted by Elijah (1 Kings 21:23). Thus, the brutal and prophetic rise to power of Jehu, king of Israel is completed (2 Kings 9:1-37).

-*Application* Those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 9:22

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 8


2 Kings 8

 

-This chapter gives some intriguing history into the both the northern kingdom of Israel and Judah in the southern kingdom. It begins with an interesting side note of personal concern from the prophet Elisha towards the Shunammite woman whose son he had raised from the dead. Because of a seven year famine, Elisha sent this beloved family to sojourn and live among the Philistines for their preservation and well-being. Upon their return after the seven year period her land and house was returned to her through a providential meeting with Gehazi, Elisha’s servant and the king of Israel (2 Kings 8:1-6). *Application* Again we see the evidence of the LORD taking good care of His people who have blessed the people of God in difficult circumstances. It must have been hard to leave behind land and houses to go to a foreign place for seven full years. But, this was how God kept them during the famine, and He made sure they were able to return and be restored of all their fortune in the end. God is good to those who are good to His saints. Blessings will return.

-Now Elisha finds himself in Damascus speaking with Hazael who was sent from Ben-hadad, king of Aram. Elisha’s reputation as “the man of God,” which had preceded him, was known and he was sought out for a word concerning the king’s sickness and possible recovery. The prophet’s word and gaze were filled with the knowledge of the Most High as he related what would occur to the usurper, Hazael, who quickly assassinated the king who would have otherwise recovered. Hazael became king who would fulfill the wrath of God upon an unregenerate Israel (2 Kings 10:32-33) at the word of the LORD (2 Kings 8:7-15).

-The story of the succession of kings in Judah is briefly described (2 Kings 8:16-29). These two kings, Jehoram (also known as Joram) and Ahaziah, were connected with family ties to the northern kingdom and walked contrary to the ways of David and the LORD. Nevertheless, “the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David His servant, since He had promised him to give a lamp to him through his sons always (2 Kings 8:19).” Revolts in Edom caused some conflicts as they named a king over them and Libnah also revolted from under the sovereignty of Judah, which went back to the time of David. There was an alliance by Judah with the northern kingdom in fighting with the Arameans again under Hazael, and King Joram of Israel was wounded in this conflict. *Application* The persistent attacks of the enemy correlated to the downward spiritual trend in the divided kingdom of Israel. When we are not fully and wholly committed and surrendered to God, we will also face the constant attack and temptation of the spiritual enemy in our lives. Stay close to God and He will make even your enemies be at peace with you (Proverbs 16:7).

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 8:19

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 7


2 Kings 7

 

-The seventh chapter of 2 Kings describes the amazing and miraculous events of deliverance from the siege of Samaria by the Aramean army during the reign of Jehoram of Israel. Elisha gives the beneficial Word of the LORD at the beginning of the chapter, which is met with skepticism and doubt, at least from the royal officer who worked faithfully for the king (2 Kings 7:2). Four leprous men ventured out from the city, in desperation basically, and found that the enemy camp had been deserted. “The LORD had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army,” so that they believed that the Israelites had hired out armies from the Hittites and Egypt to attack them (2 Kings 7:6). They left immediately in haste leaving everything behind and scattering their equipment and supplies all along the route back east to the Jordan River. The leprous men plundered two tents hiding their spoil before coming to their senses and spreading the news to the king and the city. After checking on the situation, the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans and fulfilled the Word of the LORD given to His prophet Elisha. Even the prophecy of the destruction of the royal official who doubted was completed and God got a great victory (2 Kings 7:1-20). *Application* Several times it is reiterated in the passage that God’s exact words were fulfilled. Sometimes we doubt when God gives us a clear message and direction because the circumstances we are under seem to make it impossible to happen. It is at these “faith crisis” moments that we need to trust in the provision and power of the LORD to work everything out just as He says. As the old saying goes, “it is always darkest before the dawn.” The Bible says it like this, “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5b).” Keep on keeping on when you know the LORD has given His promises.

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 7:18

Monday, July 8, 2013

2 Kings Bible Study Notes- Chapter 6


2 Kings 6

 

-Three significant events take place in this chapter revolving around the prophetic and miraculous ministry of Elisha. First, as the sons of the prophets are expanding their living space along the Jordan River, Elisha shows the power of God over the natural order of things as he makes an axe head float in the water of the Jordan River so that a worker could gain back something he had borrowed from another (2 Kings 6:1:7). *Application* Even in the midst of a very busy ministry and time, Elisha made it a priority to go with the sons of the prophets and care for them in very tangible ways. Don’t become too busy in your life to care for those who matter the most to you and deserve your care, time, and attention. Who knows, the LORD might even work a miracle or two for you!

-Second, the Arameans plot to capture Elisha fails as he is privy to every advance and plot they devise due to the word of the LORD that comes to him. This section shows the supernatural ability of the prophet to see into the spiritual realm for courage, hope, and promise. He is not afraid because he knows the LORD and His armies are with him. He also encourages his attendant to stay strong and beckons the God of the Universe to open his eyes to see the Almighty’s armies encamped about the hills of Dothan for protection. The Aramean marauding bands are struck with blindness and then led to Samaria where they are given over to Israel. At this point mercy is shown by the word of the prophet Elisha. He instructs mercy on the enemy by setting bread and water before them before sending them back to their master in Aram, or Syria. This ended the raids of these marauding bands of Arameans in Israel (2 Kings 6:8-23). *Application* Romans 12:21 tells us not to be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good. This is an example of that as we see the LORD fight for His people and give them the love in their hearts to bless instead of destroy. Blessing our enemies and sacrificing to help them in their time of need is the best way to restore good will and bring reconciliation. It reminds us of Jesus’ words to bless those who persecute us and to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:11, 44, Luke 6:28, Romans 12:14).

-Third, the siege of Samaria is described in its brutal detail as Ben-hadad, king of Aram, eventually sends in a full scale invasion of all his army to Israel. Times get very desperate as we see in this text, even to the point of cannibalism among the citizens of the city. This sends the king, Jehoram, into mourning and the wearing of sackcloth. He also wrongly gets mad with Elisha over the situation. This could be for several reasons. One, he may have trusted the word of Elisha that deliverance would come from the LORD and it had not yet come. In this case his impatience would be showing greatly. He may have thought Elisha gave him bad advice in the matter and that not even God could help them in this predicament. Second, there was obviously an ongoing conflict between the kings and the LORD’s prophets going on here. The prophetic predictions of doom and gloom may have given the king opportunity to accuse Elisha of being a troublemaker and agitator of the peace in his kingdom. In this scenario the king is acting out in frustration to the situation. Third, it could be that the king was expecting more of a miracle than he got because of past experiences and the power he knew Elisha had. He could have easily remembered other times when the prophets of God eased famines and brought back good times of prosperity (1 Kings 18:41-46). The king probably expected in this case that the man of God would come to Israel’s rescue and it was not forthcoming, which caused him anger (2 Kings 6:24-33). *Application* We tend to react in much the same way as the king of Samaria in our troubling situations. The next chapter is what we don’t see in the spiritual realm, and we have a tendency to grumble, complain, moan, groan, get angry, mope around, lose faith, and give up hope. This does not honor God and gives His enemies reason to celebrate. Keep faith in the troubling times of your life. Remember that God is good and His deliverance is right around the corner (Read chapter 7 of 2 Kings).

 

Verse to Memorize: 2 Kings 6:17