Two More Ungodly Kings in Israel
JUNE 9 - Nº 160 [2 Kings 13]
When Joash was still reigning in Judah, Jehoahaz became the king of Israel. He was Jehu’s son (see #155 & #156). At first, he did nothing to bring the people of Israel into a better relationship with God. So, God allowed King Hazael, the powerful king of Syria, and his son Ben-Hadad to bully them. Although Israel still had their own king, the Syrians were in control. Soon Syria dominated them so completely that their lives became unbearable. Jehoahaz finally cried out to God for help. He repented, and God answered him. He sent someone to help them escape from the control of the Syrians. We are not sure who the deliverer was—but by the time the Israelites were free from their bondage, their army had been completely devastated by the Syrians. Israel was left with only 50 horsemen, 10 chariots, and 10,000 foot soldiers. Everyone and everything else had been destroyed! Unfortunately, Israel’s repentance did not last long. They had repented because of their suffering—not because of their sin. So, when their suffering stopped, they went right back to worshiping false gods. When Jehoahaz died, his son Jehoash became the king. During the new king’s reign, Elisha the prophet became very sick. Although the Jehoash didn’t really worship God, he had great respect for Elisha. When he heard that the prophet was dying, he went to visit him. When he arrived, the king began to weep, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel.” He said this because he knew that the angels of God were coming for Elisha and that it was time for the prophet to go to heaven. Elisha was able to speak to the king. He said, “Go get a bow and some arrows.” When Jehoash returned with them, the prophet said, “Take the bow in your hands.” Then Elisha put his hand on top of Jehoash’s hand. “Now open a window to the east,” he said. The king did as he was instructed. Elisha told him to shoot an arrow out of the window in the direction of Syria. The king obeyed and shot the arrow. “That was the Lord’s arrow of victory,” Elisha explained. “You will have victory over Syria. Now grab a handful of arrows and shoot them so they hit the ground.” Jehoash grabbed some arrows and shot three times—then he stopped. Elisha became angry with him. “You should have struck the ground with arrows five or six times,” he yelled, “then you would have defeated them completely and destroyed them. But now you will only defeat them three times.” Then Elisha died, and he was buried. The following spring, some Israelites were attending a funeral when a band of Moabite raiders approached. The Israelites quickly threw the body of their dead friend into the cave where Elisha was buried so they could escape. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man miraculously came to life and stood on his feet. Although Elisha was dead, God’s power remained in his bones. King Jehoash defeated the Syrian army only three times just as Elisha had said he would. But during those battles, God allowed him to recapture many of the towns that the Syrians had taken from his father.
Do you give up easily when the things God asks you to do seem redundant, boring, or maybe even senseless? God always has a purpose, and our best response is to whole-heartedly do what He asks. No doubt Jehoash wished he had been more persistent in shooting his arrows!