Shall we turn in our Bibles to II Kings, chapter twelve. The twelfth chapter of II Kings, deals basically with the reign of Jehoash, also called Joash, in the southern kingdom of Judah. So it begins…
In the seventh year when Jehu was the king in the northern area of Israel, Jehoash began to reign; and forty years he reigned in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all of his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away: and the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places (12:1-3).
Now we are told in the previous chapter, that Jehoash was only seven years old, when he began to reign. You remember, he was hid by his nurse when he was a year old, and Athaliah had killed all of the royal seed. When he was seven years old, Jehoiada the priest brought him out, had a coronation ceremony. They crowned him as the king over Judah, and uh, when Athaliah cried, “Treason! Treason!”, they took her out, and they killed her, and Jehoash began to reign.
Now in verse two, it said, “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all of the days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him”. During the lifetime of Jehoiada, it seems that he was under the influence of this priest. However, at the death of Jehoiada, we find that there was a real downward trend by Jehoash. Some of the young princes of Judah came to him, and they desired to return to some of the pagan worship, which he allowed them to do. So, idolatry was again introduced into the southern kingdom of Judah, by Jehoash in his later years, after the death of Jehoiada.
The son of Jehoiada, Zachariah, came to Jehoash, and rebuked him for allowing the return of idolatry. He had the high priest, Zachariah, the son of Jehoiada put to death, because of the rebuke for his evil deeds. So unfortunately, in the latter days, Jehoash made a very dramatic turn downward. But during the lifetime of Jehoiada the priest, it seems that under the influence of Jehoiada, he did alright. But, his reformation was not a total reformation, in that he still allowed the high places for sacrifices, and worship. The people burned incense, and offered sacrifices in these high places, and not always in the temple.
The tragic thing about reformation is that it usually isn’t a complete reformation. Jesus spoke of the difficulty of putting new wine, in the old skins. I don’t know why, but it seems like anything after a while, becomes corrupted. Governments after a time, become corrupted. The good thing about a two party system is, one party will be in party for awhile, until it is so corrupt, you vote it out, and then the other party gets in for awhile, and they become so corrupt, you vote it out. And, and, it is an advantage about the two party system, at least every once in awhile, you can vote in the other party, they can imprison all the corrupt ones, from the previous administration, and you start over again. But give em’ a little time, you know, and they’ll become corrupt too.
With the church, over a period of time, it seems it becomes weakened, corrupted. Tragically, so many times, those works of God that were begun in the Spirit, turn to the flesh for perfection. Paul wrote to the Galatia church, you remember, and he said, “Oh foolish Galatians. Who has bewitched you that you would so soon be turned away from the truth? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now going to be made perfect in the flesh?” And, it seems that God moves in a fresh new way, by His Spirit, and everybody is excited, and there’s a glorious work of God. But, as time goes on, we feel that the Holy Spirit isn’t able now to run the thing, actually we’re so big, we can’t depend on the Holy Spirit anymore, we’ve gotta get this thing organized. So we get together, and we start getting committees for this, and committees for that, and we get all organized, and you know, death sets in. It’s great that we’re in the beginning, in the fresh stages. I feel sorry for our kids, who’ll have to watch it die. I hope the Lord comes before it happens.
Reformation is never complete. There’s too much it seems, to be overcome. When the Lord addressed in the book of Revelation, the church of Sardis, which was the church of the Protestant reformation, His complaint against it was, “I have not found your works complete before the Lord”. There was a very necessary reformation against the abuses that had developed within the church. But they didn’t go far enough. They still held on to many of the practices that were borrowed from the Babylonian religion, and they were incorporated into Protestantism.
So though there was a reformation, it wasn’t a total reformation. The same thing is here, evidence. They had a reformation under Jehoash, but not a complete reformation. They still allowed the high places to exist, where the people would burn their incense, and offer their sacrifices. But, the whole system was even rather corrupt, even the priesthood itself, at this time.
For Jehoash said to the priests, All of the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that comes into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord, Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wherein any breach shall be found (12:4-5).
Now under the reign of Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel and Ahab, who had married into the family of the kings of Judah. Under her reign, they had built in Jerusalem, a temple unto Baal. They had built the temple of Baal, by sacking the temple of God. Athaliah had gone in, and taken the stones, and taken a lot of the timbers and all, out of the temple of God, to build this pagan temple unto Baal. So the temple of God was in a state of disrepair. Stones were missing, doors were missing, furniture was missing, that she had taken out of the temple of God, to place and to make this temple unto Baal.
So Jehoash wants to see that the repairs made to the temple, and so there are three sources for the money. He said that they were to take the money of everything uh, “that passeth the account”. They would take a census in Jerusalem, and in the census, every man had to put a half a shekel into the temple treasury. They wouldn’t count people, but they’d count the shekels, so they knew how many people. After the taking of the census by David, and the plague that ensued, they would not take a census again in Israel.
In fact, to the present day, the people don’t like to be counted, if they’re orthodox. If you’re going to a party, in the orthodox, you need to play a game in which you need to number off, they have a problem. So they’ll just say, “You’re not one, you’re not two, you’re not three, you’re not four, and you’re not five”. Uh, so you’re not really being counted. But uh, there’s a way to get around anything I guess. But to take the census, they would always just count the number of shekels in the uh, treasury, and they knew how many people there were, because it was required that every adult place that half shekel in the temple offering. So this money was to be used.
Then if you would make a vow unto the Lord, and you’d want to buy your way out of it, there was the price of things that were dedicated. “Lord, I give this calf to you, It’s your calf Lord.” Later as it grows up, and it is a nice, healthy little uh, what would a calf become? I don’t know. A heifer? Or whatever! You want to eat the thing, you say, “Well Lord, I’m gonna eat it so…”, you had to give the Lord, you had to buy it from the Lord, actually. You dedicated it to the Lord in the beginning, so you have to buy it now, from the Lord.
That was those things that were dedicated unto the Lord. That was the redemption. The idea was you were redeeming it from God. Your first born son, had to always be redeemed from the Lord, because the Lord required that. He said, “The first born belongs to me”. And the first born of any of your animals, belong to the Lord. So you would have to redeem those. So that price was to be placed. Along with free will offerings, that people would give to the priests. These were to all be used now, to repair the temple that was in the state of disrepair, as the result of Athaliah’s treachery. So, he commanded that these funds should come from these sources. The priests who lived in communities, and would come and serve for a time in the temple, and then go back to the communities. “In your communities, collect these sums, and bring them, and let’s repair the temple.”
But it happened, that after the twenty third year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches in the house of God. [They didn’t do anything. They collected the money, but they didn’t do any repairs.] So king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and he said, Why haven’t you repaired the breaches of the house? now therefore don’t receive any more money of your acquaintance, [If we’re gonna take money, we’re gonna gather the money a different way.] but deliver it for the breaches of the house. [“Don’t take it for yourself, but deliver it in.”] And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, [Themselves personally.] and neither to repair the breaches of the house. But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and he bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one came into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door therein all of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord (12:6- 9).
So, instead of the priests collecting the money, and bringing it in, they just put this big chest in, and they bored a hole in the top, and the people, as they came in, could drop the money into the chest, for the repair of the temple.
And it was so, when they saw that there was a lot of money in the chest, that the king’s scribe, and the high priest came up, and they put the money in bags, [In these days, they did not have yet, coinage. They would just have the chunks of silver, and they would put it in bags, and then they would weigh the bags.] and they told the money [Or they weighed the money that was in the sacks.] that was found there in the house of the Lord. And they gave the money, being told, [or weighed] into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord: and they laid it out to the carpenters and the builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord, To the masons, and the hewers of stone, to buy the timber and they hewed the stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord: and for all of that was laid out to repair it. Howbeit there were not made for the house of the Lord the bowls of silver, the snuffers, the basins, the trumpets, and the vessels of gold, or the vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord (12:10-13):
But the breaches in the house of the Lord, the temple, was repaired. Of course it was about a hundred and thirty years old at this time, so just you know, the natural decay, plus that which Athaliah did in dismantling it.
But they gave the money to the workmen, they repaired therewith the house of the Lord. Moreover they reckoned not with the men, in whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed upon the workmen: for they dealt faithfully. [So there was that rebuilding.] The trespass money however, the sin money was not brought into the house of the Lord: it remained the priests’. [So when a person had made a trespass, he was to restore the money of the person, and if his family were dead, then the priest was to receive the money. Or if the priest would offer a sin offering for the people, it was customary often, for the people to give the priest sort of a love offering kind of a thing, for his service for them. So they could keep that money, the rest of it went in to the repair of the house.] Then Hazael the king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, [Now Gath is south, and west from Jerusalem. It was one of the major Philistine cities. It belonged to Judah at this time. However, Hazael the king of Syria, had come clear on, that far into the country, had taken the city of Gath.] and he set his face to go up to Jerusalem (12:14-17).
He began his attack against Jerusalem. He was successful in the beginning of his attack. They, though heavily outnumbered, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, fell before Hazael.
So the king Jehoash took all of the hallowed things that [The previous kings] Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, the kings of Judah, had dedicated, he took his own hallowed things, and all of the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the Lord, and in the king’s house, and he sent it to Hazael the king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem (12:18).
Now in the mean time here, and though it is not recorded here in II Kings, it is recorded in II Chronicles. During this period of time, Jehoiada had died, and there was that downward kind of a spiritual spiral downward, and the invasion of Hazael was again, a judgement of God against the kingdom because of the allowing again of the pagan worship, that was requested by the princes of Judah. So he bought off Hazael. He took the money and bought him off, and he returned to Syria.
Now the rest of the acts of Joash, all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? [Yes they are. When we get to the chronicles of the kings of Judah, we’ll come across Joash again, and we’ll have a little fuller account in the chronicles, than we have here, in II Kings.] Now his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and they killed Joash in the house of Millo, [Or at Bethmillo.] which goeth down to Silla. [Now just where Bethmillo is, we don’t know. It is a place that has not yet been uncovered. But, no doubt one of those many Tels that are there in the area of Jerusalem, one of those they’ll discover one day as Bethmillo, and this scripture will then be explained. But, as yet they have not discovered Bethmillo.] For Jozachar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad [These are the guys that killed him.] the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead (12:19-21).
So the twelfth chapter devoted to the reign of Joash, and it was a tragedy, in that starting off well under the influence of Jehoiada. Reforms were made, they weren’t complete, but in the end, because of the incomplete reforms, the corruption took over, and there was that downward turn of the kingdom. The necessary, the necessity of total, total types of reformation is shown. Partial commitment will not do. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters”. You cannot have divided loyalty.
In our commitment to the Lord, it’s got to be a total commitment. Giving of ourselves completely over to the Lord is so important. If we try to you know, keep one foot in the world, and one foot in the church, it’s not gonna work. If we remain in that condition, the only thing you can do is corrupt the church. If the church allows people you know, to sort of try and do the balance act, in order to hold the people, we compromise, and say, “Oh well, come and worship on Sunday, and then you know, go for it during the week”. It’s going to bring the whole system down. We’ve got to make a stand, we’ve got to cut ourselves off from the things of the world, and make a full dedication unto the Lord, or else, those corrupting forces will ultimately corrupt the whole thing. As Paul warned the Corinthian church, concerning the corrupt individuals within it, he said, “Get rid of them, don’t you realize that a little leaven, will leaven the whole lump?”. You allow that evil to exist, it’s going to pollute the whole thing.
Now moving into chapter thirteen, we go back to the nation of Israel. We go back now to the northern kingdom. We’ve been dealing with the southern kingdom, the Davidic kingdom, now we go back to the northern kingdom of Israel.
And in the twenty third year [Probably should read the twenty first year.] of Joash the son of Ahaziah the king of Judah Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned for seventeen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, he followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; and he did not depart from them. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, he deliver them into the hand of Hazael the king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days (13:1-3).
So the northern kingdom remains in a corrupt condition. Unfortunately, they did not have one real spiritual reformation at all. They remained corrupt from their inception. At the very beginning of the northern kingdom, Jeroboam established calf worship. He put a golden calf there in the northern part, in the city of Dan. He put a calf in Bethel. He said, “These are the gods which brought you out of Egypt”. Immediately the nation was corrupted, a corruption from which it never recovered. So that you always read, concerning the kings of Israel, “That they continued in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin”, by the establishing of this calf worship. They never could shake it.
So, as a result, God allowed them to be delivered into the hands of Hazael, and then Hazael’s son Benhadad. Now, here’s this guy Hazael, and we remember in our lesson last week, or two weeks ago, when king Benhadad sent to Elisha the prophet, when he was sick, and wondered if he was gonna recover of his sickness. And Elisha you remember, looked at Hazael, and he stared at him until he became embarrassed, and he began to weep, and Hazael said, “Why are you weeping?” He said, “Because I can see the evil that’s in your heart. I can see the evil that you’re gonna do to the people of God. How you’re going to smite the young men with the sword, how you’re going to dash the babies in the streets, and how you’re gonna rip up the pregnant girls”. And Hazael said, “Am I a dog that I would do these things!”. He didn’t even know what was in his own heart, but God did.
Now this Hazael went back to the king who was sick, with the message, “The prophet said you’re gonna recover. Because Elisha said, “He can recover, but he’s gonna die”. And Hazael then murdered him! Put this heavy towel over him, soaked the towel and put it over him, and suffocated him. But what’s he do? Names his son after the guy he killed. Kind isn’t it? So his son’s name was Benhadad. He named him after the king that he had killed, in order to get the throne himself. Not to be trusted!
But Jehoahaz [verse four] besought the Lord, [Now it’s interesting, in time of trouble, people often seek the Lord. That’s alright, better to seek the Lord, then not to seek the Lord. I don’t know but what the Lord doesn’t often times allow trouble, to cause you to seek Him. I think a lot of times, the Lord just allows things to pile up on you, just to force you to seek Him. You know, you get so heavy, you can’t handle it. You say, “Oh Lord help me!” He says, “Well, nice to see you. Where you been?” Ha, ha! You know, it’s just one of those things that God allows, I think many times, these problems to just compound until we’re forced to seek Him. I think many times God allows sicknesses, tragedies, to get our attention, to cause us to seek Him. You never know in an hour of tragedy, but what God hasn’t allowed that to happen, just so that you would seek Him.
Several years ago, when I was in my first pastorate, in Prescott, Arizona, we had a mother come by the house, quite desperate, who said her son was in the Whipple Veteran’s Hospital there, dying of tuberculosis, and wondered if I would go and call on him, there in the hospital, which I assured her I would. She said, “Oh don’t go yet. Let me, wait, he’s very bitter. He hates ministers, and he’s very bitter against God, against the church, and all. So we’ll have to wait until there’s sort of, you know, when he’s in a good mood someday, I’ll give you a call, and then I’d like you to go call on him”. I said, “Okay, you know, whatever. If he gets mad, and curses me, it doesn’t matter. I can handle it. You know, I’m not worried about that”. So that afternoon she called back, and she said uh, she was crying, she said, “The doctors just told me that he’s not gonna live through the night. So you better get out here right away”. So I headed out to the hospital, and I talked to him, and was sharing you know, about the Lord. His father had been a minister. Somehow he became embittered, and turned away from God. But, he knew basically what it was all about, and thus sharing with him was easy. It just so happened, that we hit it off well. So I said, “Well Howard, things don’t look so good, and maybe you ought to commit your life to Jesus Christ, and just you know, ask the Lord to forgive you, and turn your life over to Him”. He looked at me, and he said, “Chuck, I know I should, and I intend to. But,”, he said, “a year ago, I weighed a hundred and ninety pounds, I was a member of the Purple gang, in Detroit, Michigan, and”, he said, “I cursed God with every breath. Now,” he said, “I weigh ninety pounds. I can hardly get a breath”. He said, “To turn my life over to God in this condition, would be cowardly. If the Lord should touch me, and restore my health again, then I’ll commit myself to Him”. I said, “Well Howard, how do you know that God hasn’t allowed this condition to come upon you because of His immense love for you, and He knew that as long as you were weighing a hundred and ninety pounds, were the picture of health and all, that you’d never come to Him. But, He loves you so much, He allowed you to come to this weakened state, because He knew that the only way you’d ever turn your life over to Him, would be in a, in a weakened state, where it’s just you know, it’s all over”. And, he looked at me, and he studied me for a bit, and honestly, he said, “Chuck, I think you’re right!” He saw the light, and he turned his life over to the Lord. But how do you know? You see, God in His love wants to reach you. You run from God. And, and God is so in love with you, and so desires that you know Him, and serve Him, that He is not beyond allowing you to go to the bottom, if you have to go to the bottom before you look up. So, God so often, allows the tragedy to cause us to turn to Him. So was the case here, with Jehoahaz. As the east bank of the Jordan river was taken by Syria, the areas of Gilead, and Manassah, and the tribe where Rueben inhabited over there, was taken by Syria. Syria was beginning to menace the kingdom. So Jehoahaz besought the Lord. In spite of the fact that the guy was wicked, he was evil, he was not a good king, the Lord, in His mercy,] the Lord [In His grace] hearkened to him: and he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria was oppressing them (13:4).
So God listened to his prayers, even in that sinful state. Every once in a while you hear a person say, “Well God doesn’t hear the prayer of sinners”. Wrong. That was a statement that was made in the bible by a man who was blind, and who Jesus healed. The Pharisees were sort of trying to disprove the miracle. So they asked the parents of the boy, “Was he born blind?”, and so forth. They said, “Yeah he was born blind”. “How is it that he can see now?” “We don’t know. He just can see.” Because they were afraid if they testified of the power of Jesus, that they’d get kicked out of the Synagogue. So they came to the boy that was healed. Said, “Were you really blind?” He says, “Yeah, I was blind!” “How can you see?” “Well this man came along, and he put his hands on my eyes, and then I could see.” “Oh you weren’t really blind!” He said, “I was!” So they kept questioning him. And, he said to them, they said, you know they said, “Well give glory to God, as for this guy, we don’t know who he is, or where he came from”. He said, “Hey wait a minute. That’s a pretty remarkable statement. If you don’t know who he is, or where he came from, maybe he could be the Messiah, you know.” Because he opened the eyes of the blind. And, he said, “We know that God doesn’t hear the prayer of sinners”. Now, the blind man said that. That doesn’t necessarily make that scriptural truth, you see. It’s just a quotation of the blind man.
Here’s a case where God did hear the prayer of a sinner. God heard your prayer when you were a sinner, and said, “God have mercy upon me”. I’m glad God hears the prayers of sinners! He heard my prayer when I cried unto Him. He’ll hear your prayer, when you cry unto Him. God does hear the prayer of sinner. God heard the prayer of Jehoahaz. That was a statement of a blind man. You’ve gotta always read it in context, don’t make doctrine out of such a statement. Read it in its context. So, “Jehoahaz besought the Lord, the Lord hearkened to him: because of the oppression”.
(And the Lord gave Israel a Saviour, [Now this is later on, it didn’t happen immediately. But, the son of Jehoahaz, Joash, began to be the savior of Israel. God began to deliver them out of the hands of Syria, through Joash. Then, fully our of his grandson, Jeroboam. “So the Lord gave Israel a Saviour”,] so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents, as beforetime. Nevertheless [Unfortunately] they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, but they walked therein: and there remained also [This place of licentious worship.] the grove there in the city of Samaria) (13:5-6).
Where all kinds of lewd, and licentious worship practices went on by the people. It’s an interesting thing. You know, this sounds pagan, it sounds far away. People in their worship, getting involved in sex rights, getting involved in dancing nude, and sensuous dances and all, it’s a part of a whole worship scheme, there in the grove. It seems so far away and removed.
I was talking with a young man this week, who bought a piece of property out in the country, just outside of Vista. He heard that weird things were going on, out in that area. So he went out one night into this wooded area, right down here in Vista. He watched these people as they gathered together, and began their worship. Satanic worship. He watched them as they began to commit unspeakably vile and a, sensuous acts of lewdness and incest. Fathers with their young daughters, and all. There they were in this whole, that’s right here. That’s today. That’s in our neighborhood! These things that once seemed so totally removed, and just you know unthinkable, are happening in the United States, and are happening in our very area. Then the witchcraft, into Satanism, and, and it’s something that is no longer remote and far removed. But it is something that is very close.
Unless, unless we have a powerful spiritual revival, I question, concerning the future, desperately. I’ll tell you, my heart goes out for my grandchildren. When I see my beautiful little granddaughters, and my beautiful little grandsons, and realize that they are growing up in a world that has become so corrupted, that they are in danger of being kidnapped off the street, and used as a sacrifice in some of these Satanic rituals. It disturbs me, deeply. You might have to bail me out one day. Rambo will go after him, I’ll tell ya. So they continued in their sins.
Neither did they leave the people to Jehoahaz [Neither did he leave, Jehoahaz was strict. All he had left was,] fifty horsemen, ten chariots, and ten thousand infantrymen; [Just enough to keep peace within his own country. But his whole army was wiped out, destroyed.] for the king of Syria had destroyed them, and made them like the dust by threshing. [He had just really threshed and decimated the armies of Israel.] Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria: and Joash his son reigned in his stead (13:9).
Now, a little confusion, watch this one! Joash is still the king in Judah, but it’s a different Joash. For three years, these guys reigned at the same time. So you have kings by the same name, reigning in the north, and reigning in the south, for a period of three years. In the south, Joash is an old man, bout’ ready to die. He’s been reigning, well he’s not that old either, he’s forty four years old. Young kid! Ha, ha! Because he was only seven years old when he began to reign, he reigned for forty seven years, and so this is three years before he died, so, he was forty four years old, reigning in the south, before his assassination. He was assassinated when he was forty seven.
In the north now, you have also, a fellow by the name of Joash, that is reigning. But it won’t last long, because the guy is gonna get bumped off in the south real soon. So we’ll not get too confused with it.
Now in the thirty seventh year of Joash the king of Judah [In the south. His thirty seventh year, he was seven years old when he began. Forty four, so we were right on it.] Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he had a short reign, only sixteen years. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord; he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, [The first king of Israel.] who made Israel to sin: but he walked in the very same practices. [Continued in that idolatry.] Now the rest of the acts which Joash, [And, this is still in the north.] the things that he did, his might wherewith he fought against Amaziah the king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? And Joash slept with his fathers; and Jeroboam sat on his throne: and Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel (13:10-13).
Don’t think you’re through with Joash yet. Joash is still in the picture. He just gives you, you know, he jumps ahead. Why he does, I don’t know. But, the guy who was writing this, jumps ahead and tells you of his death, before he tells you of his life. We’ll be studying next week how he defeated Amaziah, the king of Judah. So that’s yet to come up, and but, it does record, and it goes on to tell his death, and Jeroboam reigned in his stead, his son. But we’ll come back now. In fact, in this next little vignette here, we have him visiting Elisha, as Elisha was dying.
Now Elisha [This mighty prophet of God] was fallen sick of the sickness whereof he died. [In spite of his tremendous faith. In spite of the many miracles that were wrought through his life, the dead brought back to life, the lepers cleansed. Miracle after miracle attended this man’s life. Yet, he fell sick of the sickness whereof he died. You can have all of the positive confessions in the world, and still die of your sickness. Your positive confessions are not going to bring necessary cures. I do believe in divine healing, and that’s the problem! I believe that God does heal, and God can heal, and I believe in praying for healing. God has healed me over and over again. I attribute my strength, my health, unto the Lord, and I thank the Lord for it. I thank the Lord that I have very few days of illness, and I have a very positive attitude that the Lord’s gonna take care of me! But, I know that it is very possible, that I can get sick one day, and die. If the Lord tarries, that probably will happen. God doesn’t always heal. God can even have purposes in sickness. When it comes time to die, I’m going to die by some cause. My heart will fail, or something will happen. Because God does not intend for me to live forever in this corrupting body. If He doesn’t come quick, I’m gonna fall apart! I mean the dentist, the other day, said that I have some teeth that need to be taken out. The gums are receding, I mean this is bad news! You just, well like the guy said, “Well I’m just not the man I used to be”, and I never was! But we know that when this earthly tent, the body in which we presently live, is dissolved. But we have a building of God, it’s not made with hands. It’s eternal in the heavens. So then, “We who are in these bodies do groan”, and I’m beginning to understand the scripture more and more! Ha, ha! Earnestly desiring to be delivered, not that I would be an unembodied spirit, but that I might be clothed upon with the body which is from heaven. For we know that as long as we are living in this body, we are absent from the Lord, but we would choose rather, to be absent from this body, and to be present with the Lord. One day, I’m gonna move out of my tent, and I’m gonna move into a beautiful new mansion! For the real me is spirit. The body is just the tent, in which I presently live. When that transition takes place, the metamorphosis, when I move out of my tent, and into my mansion, if you really love me, you wouldn’t cry. You’d say, “Oh that lucky stiff!” “No longer living in that old corrupted tent. He’s living now, in a beautiful mansion.” You can just send out change of address cards. I’ve moved. So, “Elisha fell sick of the sickness whereof he died.] Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and he wept over his face, [He leaned over and crying so that his tears dropped onto Elisha’s face.] and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof (13:14).
A statement in which he recognized that in this man, is the real strength of the nation. This man living in a relationship with God, represents the strength of the nation. For a nation’s strength is always related to that nation’s relationship to God. When a nation is living in a right relationship with God, that nation is strong. Righteousness exalts a nation. The king, though he was an evil man, though he was a sinful man, still recognized, “Herein is the strength. The chariot of Israel, the horsemen thereof”. There is the strength, the power of the nation, and it’s represented in this man, who is now dying. He realizes, that though when Elijah died, Elisha was there to fill in. There’s no one that is to take Elisha’s place. There’s no prophet waiting in line to catch the mantle, for continued strength. Thus he realizes that the strength of the nation is going with this man. And, he’s, he’s concerned. “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” As he realizes the strength lies in the relationship with God.
So Elisha said unto him, Take your bow and your arrows. And he took unto him the bow and the arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put your hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon the bow: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And then he said, Open the window toward the east. [The area that had already been conquered by Syria.] And he opened the window. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And Elisha said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek, till you have consumed them. And then he said, Take your arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed (13:15-18).
Now there’s a discrepancy, I mean there’s a difference here, not really a discrepancy, we don’t really know what this entails. There are some of the scholars that translate and say that what he did was say, “Shoot your arrows down to the ground”, out the window, into the ground. And, others said, just smite them on the ground. In other words, take em’ and just smite them. You know, with uh, your handful of arrows smiting them on the ground. So, whether or not it was this way, or this way, is a, let the theologians argue about it. What difference does it make? Whatever it was, he only did it three times.
And Elisha was angry with him, and he said, You should have smitten five or six times; then you would have smitten Syria till you had consumed it: whereas now you will only smite them but three times (13:19).
So the smiting was symbolic of God, the arrow deliverance. “Now you take the arrows and smite with them.” It was symbolic of God’s smiting the Syrians. He should’ve just kept smiting. But half-hearted, nonchalant, boom, boom, boom. “So what”, you know, and thus the prophet was angry, because it symbolized the fact that he would not really destroy, or have complete victory, but only a partial victory over the enemy.
Half-hearted commitment never makes it. There are so many people that take sort of a nonchalant type of an attitude towards the things of the Lord. They don’t make that full commitment. To win, takes total dedication, and total commitment to the Lord. To utterly defeat the enemy, takes a total commitment of your life, to the things of the Lord. If you take sort of a easy come easy go, or sort of a casual attitude towards the things of the Spirit. “Oh when I can, I make it around. You know, when I get an opportunity, I’ll be glad to do it”, you know and you take just sort of that casual, carefree attitude, you’ll never know what it is to live in total victory. You’ve got to be aggressive in this battle against the enemy.
Now Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. [In the springtime, here came the Moabites again. Every year in the spring, they had this little raiding party.] And so it came to pass, as they were burying a man, [A funeral procession was going on, they were burying this guy,] and they spied this band of Moabites; [This unit that was approaching. These guys of course, burying the guy, they didn’t bring their swords and all with them. And they saw this armed band coming.] so they just threw the guy in the sepulchre of Elisha: [Which was the handiest thing. They had no doubt taken the rock off of the top of the cave, and here came this band of Moabites. “Toss him in you know. Let’s get out of here!” and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. [I mean, that old man Elisha he was powerful! He had been a prophet for sixty years, there in Israel. Such power in this man’s life, that even after death, when this man, this dead corpse touched his bones, it came back to life.] But Hazael the king of Syria oppressed Israel all of the days of Jehoahaz (13:20-22).
Now this goes back to Jehoahaz, who was the father of Joash.
But the Lord was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, [Now notice what it says about the Lord. “The Lord was gracious unto them, the Lord had compassion on them, the Lord had respect unto them, because He had made a covenant with Abraham.” So often I hear people say, “Well I don’t like the God of the old testament. He seems so harsh, and hard. I like the God of the new testament”. As though they were two Gods. Evidently they haven’t read the book of Revelation. Or, Romans chapter one, or even a lot of the things that Christ said, concerning the future judgement that’s going to come upon the unrighteous. Now this is old testament, and it’s talking about God. You see there are two sides to God’s nature. He is a God of love, He is a God of compassion, He is gracious, He is merciful to those that fear Him. But, to those who rebel against Him, then He is a God of justice, who will consume the evil doers. He’s not soft. He’s not a Polly Annie. He’s a powerful God, bringing vengeance upon the evil doers, but extending His mercy and grace unto a thousand generations of those who will follow after Him. In both the old testament, and the new testament, you see both sides of God’s nature. Here, notice He is revealed as being gracious unto them. Surely He was! They weren’t serving Him. They were serving the idols that they had made, the golden calves. But yet, “He had compassion on them, He was gracious to them, He had respect to them, because of the covenant that he had made with their father Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob”,] and he would not destroy them, neither cast them out of his presence yet (13:23).
Still giving them opportunities to repent. Still giving them opportunities to turn. As God is gracious and compassionate towards you! So longsuffering, giving you the opportunity. Know you not, that this goodness of God is intended to bring you to repentance? The graciousness of God, giving you opportunity to turn.
So Hazael the king of Syria died; Benhadad his son reigned in his stead. And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael the cities, which he had taken out of the hand of Jehoahaz his father by war. [So the dads sort of uh, during the reign of Hazael, he whipped Jehoahaz. But Jehoahaz, his son, whipped Hazael’s son, Benhadad, and took again the cities that had been taken by his father. Or taken from his father, through war.] Three times [Smote, the three times. “Three times”,] did Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel (13:23-25).
Too bad he didn’t smite more, he would’ve completely destroyed, and had victory. So, moving along, and we’re getting into some exciting stories next week, as we study the reign of Azariah, and Amaziah, and these other guys.
May the Lord bless you, keep His hand upon you, and guide you through this week. I pray that God will help you to make a full commitment unto Him. Not just a half-hearted, “Well you know, if it doesn’t rain, we’ll see about coming out Thursday night. You know, and if it all goes well, and nothing’s in the way you know, we might”. But, let’s just really, in our hearts make that kind of total commitment. “Lord, I’m yours. I will serve you, I will live for you, Lord I’ll follow you. In whatever endeavor you might lead me, to do your will, and to do your work. May you experience really, the presence and the power of the Lord working in your life this week, in a very special way.