2 Kings 1-3: Bad Times, But Great Prophets
June 14, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The Second Book of Kings continues with the downgrade of Israel, at a fast pace, and also of Judah, albeit with temporary revivals and reformations. Meanwhile, God’s word of warning is being faithfully delivered by God’s prophets. Elijah prophesies against Ahaziah, the king of Israel (1:3-4). When the king attempted to get Elijah by sending a captain and fifty soldiers, Elijah called down fire from heaven twice before he went with the final cohort of soldiers and reported the same prophecy in person to the king (1:9-16). We see the courage of a man of God in action, and the power that resides on him too. He who fears God need have no other fear.
Elijah is now taken up into heaven (2:1-14). His servant, Elisha, knows that his master Elijah’s day has come and insists on following him (2:2, 4, 6). Finally, Elijah asks Elisha what he can do for Elisha (2:9). Elisha wants a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2:9)—he wants the anointing that Elijah had. This is not finally in the hands of Elijah to give, hence a hard thing to ask, but Elijah says if he sees Elijah being taken from him, then Elisha will have Elijah’s spirit residing on him (2:10). So it is (2:12), and Elisha then enters into a dramatic and powerful new ministry. He parts the Jordan (2:14), heals bad water (2:19-22), and those he cursed are mauled by bears (2:23-24). Elisha, like Elijah, is not to be messed with.
With Moab’s rebellion against Israel (3:4-5), Israel and Judah join forces against Moab only to find that they were running out of water (3:6-9). Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, asks for a prophet of the LORD (3:11). Elijah is sent for and only agrees to prophecy for Jehoshaphat’s sake (3:14), not for that of Jehoram, king of Israel, who is walking in the evil ways of Jeroboam (3:3). Still, with music as a prompt (3:15), Elisha prophecies that God will give them the victory over Moab (3:18), and in dramatic fashion the prophecy is fulfilled (3:21-25). Their route of Moab is only turned back when—in a horrible example of pagan religion—the king of Moab sacrifices his own eldest son (3:27). The anger of the people is so furious that Israel and Judah leave them be, and the war is ended (3:27).
Bad times, but great prophets. The Word of the LORD shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). However great the challenge, greater still is the opportunity we have to be faithful to God and his Word. Let us, like Elijah and Elisha, as part of a kingdom of priests and prophets, live in the fear of God and shine forth God’s Word ourselves, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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