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.
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.
May 24. MORE OF GOD’S MIRACLES BY ELISHA. II Kin. 4:1-44
Women had very little economic security outside of marriage. A widow with children was especially economically vulnerable. One such widow with two sons was faced with her creditor taking her sons as slaves to pay her debt. At the command of Elisha, she took a jar of oil, her only possession and poured it into borrowed vessels. God replenished the oil until they were all full. She then sold the oil and paid her debts and lived on the remaining money. The widow’s miracle depended upon her faith AND obedience.
During Elisha’s travels, a woman of Shunem had been especially kind by furnishing him and his servant a place to stay. However, her husband was old and she had no son. In order to repay her for her kindness and to show God’s power, Elisha told her that in about a year, she would have a son.
Years later, the son died. The Shunammite woman’s faith led her to seek Elisha, who had given her the son through God. She felt that he could bring him back to her. With God’s power, Elisha was able to restore the son back to his mother.
Elisha continued to show God’s power when he added meal to a pot of stew that had been accidently contaminated with a poisonous gourd. The people were able to eat the food with no harmful effects. He also fed a group of one hundred men with twenty loaves and some barley.
May 25. NAAMAN’S FURY; GEHAZI’S GREED; ONE HEALED
ANOTHER DISEASED. II Kin. 5:1-6:7
Even though there was a period of relative peace between Israel and Syria, there were raids in which Syrians would capture Israelites and bring them back as slaves. One such Israelite girl was slave to the wife of Naaman, a chief Syrian army commander. He was afflicted with the dreaded disease, leprosy. The slave girl knew of Elisha and suggested that Naaman contact him for healing.
A letter from the king of Syria to the king of Israel seeking Naaman’s healing was misinterpreted as picking a fight. However, Elisha did get involved and sent for Naaman to come to him. Even in his miserable condition, Naaman was a proud man. He arrived at Elisha’s door in his chariot bearing expensive gifts for his healing.
Man sometimes expects one thing from God and receives something entirely different. Naaman was expecting an elaborate healing ceremony, but instead only a messenger from the prophet came with instructions to dip seven times in the Jordan River. He went into a furious rage. Surely the waters of Syria were better that the waters of Israel! He wanted to substitute his way instead of God’s way. (Sounds like men today.)
Sometimes it takes someone of lower rank to inject reason into their superior. Naaman’s servants said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” He then humbly dipped seven times in the Jordan and his skin became like the flesh of a child and he was clean. (When one humbly submits to being dipped in baptism, he becomes clean from all of his sins.)
Elisha refused to take his gifts, but in greed, his servant Gehazi overtook Naaman on the road. He falsely stated that Elisha wanted a talent of silver and two changes of garments for two young sons of the prophets who needed them.
One cannot fool God. Elisha questioned his servant regarding the gifts and stated, “Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.”
May 26. SKIRMISHES BETWEEN ISRAEL/ELISHA AND SYRIA.
II Kin. 6:8-8:15
In making war against Israel, the king of Syria, encountered problems with the man of God, Elisha. He was warning Israel’s king of the dangers of entering various places because of the presence of Syrian soldiers.
The Syrian king sent some of his men to capture the prophet and bring him to the king. Elisha called upon the Lord to smite the army with blindness. With his enemy being blind, Elisha led them to Samaria where he was revealed to them. Instead of killing the Syrians as the king of Israel suggested, the raiders were treated to a great feast and released to return home. After that, the raids ceased. However, that did not stop their king.
A highly effective tool of war is to cut off outside access to one’s enemy. Ben-Hadad, the Syrian king besieged Samaria and caused a great famine in the land. The famine was so severe that people resorted to eating their own children for survival. King Jehoram blamed Elisha and God for their calamity and vowed to take Elisha’s head.
When the king’s messenger arrived to take Elisha, the messenger instead was detained. The prophet revealed that the next day the siege would end and the famine would be over. Again, God’s hand provided the relief. He caused the Syrians to hear the noise of horses, chariots and armies coming toward them. In their haste to escape, they left their tents fully stocked with provisions that the Israelites were able to use.
Natural famines also occurred. Elisha informed the Shunammite woman who had been so kind to him over the years that a famine lasting seven years was coming. He advised her to go away into another country until it was over. After having spent the seven years in Philistine country, she was ready to return home. During her absence, her property had become the king’s property. Elisha intervened and was able to restore her to her home.
Sometimes being able to see into the future caused Elisha to weep because of what he could see. Years earlier, Hazael had been anointed by Elijah to be king of Syria. Elisha wept as he informed Hazael of the events that would follow after he had become king. Even though Ben-Hadad was sick, Hazael murdered him and did become the next Syrian king.
May 27. JEHORAM AND AHAZIAH REIGN IN JUDAH. II Kin. 8:16-29;
II Chron. 21:1-22:6
The kings of Judah and Israel had some of the same names during a period of their alliance against Syria. Same persons are sometimes referred to by more than one name.
Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram succeeded him as king of Judah at thirty-two years of age. Proper worship in Judah had been restored to some extent by Jehoshaphat. One of Jehoram’s first acts after being established as king was to destroy his brothers. That eliminated any threats from them against his crown. He had married Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. but because of his close association with his wife’s wicked parents, “He did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
God did not destroy Judah for their sins because of His promise to David and to preserve the Judean lineage for the coming Messiah.
Edom had been under the control of Judah for many years and had fought alongside them in their wars. During the time of Jehoram, they declared their independence and revolted against Judah’s authority. They made themselves a king. Other nations also revolted against Jehoram taking away his possessions and family. Only his youngest son, Ahaziah was left to him.
Jehoram suffered a very painful illness for two years before his death. His reign was for only eight years and, “To no one’s sorrow, departed.”
Following Jehoram’s death, Ahaziah followed as king of Judah for only one year. He being a grandson of Ahab and Jezebel followed in their evil ways as his father had done previously and as his mother had advised him.
Ahaziah went with Jehoram, king of Israel to war against Syria where Jehoram was wounded. The Judean king then visited his Uncle Jehoram in Jezreel while he was recovering from his wounds.