Water in the Desert
May 26 - Nº 146 2 Kings 3
When Ahaziah (Ahab’s son and his successor as king of Israel) died after falling from the balcony of the palace (see #144 - May 24), his brother Joram (also called Jehoram) became king. He was not as wicked as Ahab had been, but he never got rid of many of the false gods Israel worshiped. Mesha was the king of Moab at the time, and he raised sheep. As a part of an earlier peace agreement, he was required to pay a tax of 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams to the king of Israel every year. But after Ahab died, Mesha did not keep the agreement. So, Joram set out to defeat him and take over his land. He invited King Jehoshaphat of Judah to join him in the campaign. Jehoshaphat agreed and the two armies marched south around the Dead Sea and through Edom to get to Moab. As they marched through Edom, the Edomite army joined them. Soon they realized there wasn’t enough water in the desert for all their men and animals. King Joram became anxious. “I think the Lord has led us here so we could be captured by the Moabites,” he moaned. Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there a prophet of God who can ask God what we should do?” One of the officers spoke up, “Yes, Elisha is here. He was Elijah’s servant.” So, the three kings went to find him. When Elisha saw the king of Israel approaching, he asked, “Why are you coming to me? Why don’t you go to one of the false prophets who served your father and your mother?” Joram answered, “Because I think it is your God who has led us here to be captured by the Moabites.” Elisha replied, “I will help only because I have great respect for Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. Now, bring me a person who plays the harp.” As the harpist played, the Lord gave Elisha this message: “There will be no rain, but soon this valley will be filled with pools of water. There will be enough for you and your animals. Then I will help you defeat the Moabite army and capture their cities. This is easy for the Lord!” Early the next morning, the water started flowing in. Soon the valley was filled with pools. Meanwhile, the Moabites heard that the three kings were marching through Edom on their way to fight them. So, they stationed themselves on the border between Edom and Moab to prepare for battle. When the Moabites got up the next morning, the sun was shining on the water. From a distance, the valley looked red—like the sand was covered with blood. They had no idea that the valley was filled with water and that it was reflecting the sunrise. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other!” they exclaimed. “Let’s go get the plunder!” When they got near Israel’s camp, the Israelites attacked them and chased them back to Moab. Together the three kings defeated city after city. Finally, there was only one city left. Israel surrounded it. The king of Moab tried to escape by breaking through the front lines with 700 of his key soldiers. But the plan failed. So, he grabbed his first-born son and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. This caused his own army to respond in such fury against the invading troops that King Joram was frightened. He turned and fled, leading his army back to Israel.
Do you blame God when you face a crisis (like Joram did), or do you turn to Him for help (like Jehoshaphat) did? When the kings finally came to God to ask Him for water, He gave them much more than they needed. He gave them enough to flood the sandy desert and secure a huge victory. God has great things for us, but we must be willing to ask for His help—not blame Him for the problem.