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 - June 4 & #156 - June 5). 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 the nation. 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 for his sinful leadership, and God answered him by sending 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! However, Israel’s repentance did not last long. Unfortunately, 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 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 at the prophet’s home, 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 spoke to the king. He instructed him to 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.” When Elisha died, he was buried in a cave. 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 a cave so they could escape. It happened to be the same cave where Elisha had been buried. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the dead man miraculously came to life and stood on his feet. Although Elisha was no longer alive, God’s power remained in his bones. King Jehoash defeated the Syrian army, but only three times just as Elisha had predicted. 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? No doubt Jehoash wished he had been more persistent in shooting his arrows! God always has a purpose for every instruction He gives. We should whole-heartedly respond to whatever He asks us to do.