May 30. Athaliah Seizes Throne in Judah

II Kin. 11:1-21; II Chron. 22:10-23:21

Jehu had killed the entire house of Ahab including Ahaziah, king of Judah. When Athaliah saw that her son Ahaziah was dead, she seized the throne of Judah. She attempted to kill the descendants of David who would be a threat to her power. However, Jehosheba, the daughter of former King Jehoram of Judah and the wife of Jehoiada, the priest hid Ahaziah’s infant son, Joash. He, also Athaliah’s grandson, was the only direct descendant of David who was spared from the queen’s slaughter.

After six years, Jehoiada arranged to have the seven year old Joash anointed as king of Judah. The new king was properly anointed, crowned and given the Testimony (copy of the law). Joash was king, but the priest was in charge at first. Athaliah was promptly killed to remove any threat that she could pose against the king.

Jehoiada reestablished the covenant between the Lord, the king and the people that they would follow the Lord. Many years earlier, the worship of Baal had been introduced into Judah by Jehoram and his wife Athaliah. The people destroyed the temple of Baal and all images and altars associated with it. They also killed Mattan, the priest of Baal. There was great rejoicing in the land as they began a new chapter in their lives freed from the oppression of Athaliah. Jehoiada restored the temple worship of God as it had been commanded in the Law of Moses.

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May 29. Bloodbath in Israel Continues

II Kin. 10:1-36

It was God’s purpose that Jehu would rid Israel of all of the sons of Ahab. Through various schemes and deceptions, the new king of Israel was able to completely destroy all that had pertained to Ahab. He not only carried out the plan of God, but in doing so removed any possible threats to his rule as king.

After destroying the sons of Ahab, Jehu deceitfully assembled all of the prophets and priests of Baal along with worshippers of the false god for a great sacrifice for Baal. The temple of Baal was full from one end to the other. All of those assembled were destroyed as well as the temple. God promised Jehu that four generations of his sons would rule in Israel.

The destruction of Baal’s temple and worshippers was also a wise political move on the part of Jehu. However, he did not remove the altars that had been erected by Jeroboam. He “took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel…for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin.”

The Lord allowed Hazael, king of Syria to move against Israel. He captured all of their land east of the Jordan River.

After a reign of twenty-eight years Jehu died and his son, Jehoahaz reigned in his place.

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May 28. Slaughter in Israel

II Kin. 9:1-37; II Chron. 22:7-9

God had decreed that because of their evil, Ahab, Jezebel and all of their house would be destroyed. Elisha, the man of God sent a son of the prophets to anoint Jehu to become the next king of Israel even as the current king, Jehoram was attempting to recover from his battle wound.

The purge had begun. Ahab’s wife, Jezebel; son, Jehoram, king of Israel and grandson, Ahaziah, king of Judah were all killed. The bodies of Jezebel and Jehoram were pitched onto the ground that had once been Naboth’s vineyard. As had been prophesied, the dogs ate the flesh of Jezebel.

Jezebel had been a woman among women. She was the daughter of a king; wife of a king; mother of a king; mother-in-law of a king and grandmother of a king. Her prominence could have placed her on one of the highest pinnacles in the history of womanhood. Instead, her name, evil heart and life are synonymous with shame and disgrace.

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Catching Up

Hello Internet Friends;

Here is an update: Thanks for the prayers and well wishes. My lung collapsed again this past weekend. After getting it aired back up Monday and surgery Tuesday, I am planning to return home tomorrow. Hopefully, this will end the interruptions for a while.

James

May 23. ISRAEL’S WAR AGAINST MOAB. II Kin. 3:1-27

Because Ahaziah, the son of Ahab had no son to succeed him, his brother Jehoram had become king of Israel during Jehoshaphat’s eighteenth year as Judah’s king. He discontinued some of the evil practices of Ahab and Jezebel, but did not completely destroy all of the gods from the land. There continued the marriage alliance between the kings of Judah and Israel due to the marriage of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram and Israel’s King Jehoram’s sister, Athaliah.

The Moabite king had been compelled to pay a tribute of lambs and wool to the Israelite king. Mesha, the king of Moab rebelled after Jehoram became king of Israel and refused to pay the tribute. That called for corrective action with Jehoram calling his ally, Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom to help him in battle against Moab.

After seven days of travel, they were without water. The three kings went to Elisha to seek God’s help. Because of the faithfulness of Jehoshaphat, they were instructed to fill the valley with ditches and that God would deliver the Moabites into their hand. God filled the ditches with water without rain. That not only supplied their needs, but also through the eyes of the Moabites it looked like blood. They surmised that Israel’s army had fought against themselves and that they could then easily take the spoil that remained. WRONG ASSUMPTION! With God’s help, they were easily defeated. Desperate men sometimes do desperate things. The king of Moab took his oldest son—his supposed successor and offered him as a burnt offering to try to appease his god. Continue reading

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May 22. Elijah’s Transformation; Elisha’s Miracles Begin

II Kin. 2:1-25

Many years earlier, Enoch, a faithful man of God had been taken up into heaven without dying a physical death. Elijah, also a mighty prophet of God had been informed that his departure from earth would be similar. Apparently, his departure had also been revealed to Elisha and other prophets. Elijah’s work on earth had been completed.

Elisha refused to allow Elijah to travel without his accompanying him on his journey. Upon reaching the Jordan River, Elijah took his mantle and struck the water. God divided the river as He had done for Moses and the Israelites long ago and he and Elisha crossed to the other side on dry ground.

When the time came for Elijah to depart, a chariot of fire with horses of fire came down from heaven and a whirlwind took him away. Elisha had witnessed a great miracle as his friend and mentor had been taken to his glorious reward. However, he was also very sorrowful and he tore his clothes in mourning. Elijah’s mantle of authority had fallen upon Elisha as he was taken up. Taking the mantle with him, he struck the Jordan River as Elijah had done earlier and returned to Jericho upon dry land.

We are faced in the Scriptures with many evidences of the power of God and the saving power of the blood of Christ. However, we are like the apostle, Thomas who wanted to feel the scars and nail prints on the risen Christ before we will believe. The people of Jericho knew of the departure of Elijah, but they thought that he had possibly been dropped on top of a high mountain in the region. Upon their insistence, Elisha allowed them to search for the departed prophet until they were convinced after three days that he, indeed had gone directly into heaven.

Elisha was soon called upon for help. Jericho is possibly the oldest city on earth, but there was a dire problem. It being about 840 feet below sea level, its water was bad and the land was barren. He threw salt into the water and God sweetened it. The land began to flourish.

God does not look kindly upon blasphemy. A group of roguish young men were casting insults toward Elisha. When one blasphemes a man of God, he is also blaspheming God. They were mauled by bears because of their evil deed. Following those events, the prophet returned to Samaria.

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May 21. Ahaziah Becomes King of Israel

I Kin. 22:51-II Kin. 1:18

During the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah, Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, became king of Israel. It is the duty of parents to properly train their children in the ways of the Lord. That did not happen in the case of Ahaziah. He followed in the wicked ways of his parents, Ahab and Jezebel. Neither did he remove the idol worship of Jeroboam, the first king of God’s divided people, Israel.

Accidents happen to kings as well as common people. Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room and was severely injured. As his father had done, he also relied upon a false god by sending messengers to inquire of the outcome of his injuries.

An angel of the Lord sent Elijah to intercept the king’s messengers and to give them messages from the true God. The first was in the form of a rebuke asking if there was no God in Israel that they must inquire of the god, Baal-Zebub. God’s second message informed Ahaziah that he would not come down from his bed, but would die.

The king sent three different captains of fifty men to bring Elijah to him. “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly.’” The first two captains issued the command that the prophet of God be submissive to the wicked king. In each incident, Elijah called down fire from heaven and the captain and his men were destroyed. God expects humility from His people. The third captain humbled himself and begged for the lives of himself and his men. That act of humility did not change the king’s message, but it did bring their safety and God did send Elijah to Ahaziah. The king died in his second year. Since he had no son, he was succeeded by his brother, Jehoram.

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May 20. Jehoshaphat’s Reign

I Kin. 22:45-50; II Chron. 19:1-21:1

Good people and good kings make mistakes and sin. After the death of Ahab, Jehoshaphat returned home to Jerusalem. He was met by Jehu, the prophet who rebuked him for participating in Israel’s war.

However, the king had maintained his good qualities of trying to seek the Lord. In order to reform Judean worship he set up impartial judges in the fortified cities with Levites, priests and some of the chief fathers of Israel to serve in Jerusalem.

Another great accomplishment of Jehoshaphat was his reliance upon God to see him through a great threat from three groups of people that were not disturbed during the wilderness wanderings—Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir. Those people had mobilized themselves to, “throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.”

The king realized that he had no power over such a great multitude that they were facing. He prayed for help. The prophet Jahaziel gave them instructions from the Lord. “Do not be afraid…the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…”

What followed was mass confusion. “For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” Judah spent the next three days gathering the valuable spoils of precious jewelry from the bodies of the slain.

The people of Judah along with their king rejoiced and blessed the Lord for His deliverance from their enemies. Word spread among the other kingdoms of how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Judah. Peace reigned the remainder of Jehoshaphat’s twenty-five years as king. After his death, his son Jehoram became king of Judah.

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