Tag Archives: 2 Kings

Breaking The Serpent

2 Kings 18:4 – “…and he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for to those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it…”

When the Israelites were travelling through the desert on their way to the Promised Land, a great plague was stopped when Moses, following God’s instruction, built an image of a bronze serpent on a stick.  Everyone who looked at the serpent was saved from the plague.  Symbolically it stands as a picture of sin, crucified on the cross of Christ.  As we look to Christ the ‘plague’ of sin is stopped in our lives.

But hundreds of years later, the bronze serpent was still around and had become an idol.  The children of Israel were burning incense to it, and presumably looking to it for help in their time of need, instead of looking to the Lord. 

It just goes to show that something which is a deliverance in one generation can be an idol in the next generation.  God is constant, but not static.  He’s always moving on to new things, and if we try to hang on to things that He’s moved on from, we’ll find ourselves in a place of death. 

No ‘And’…

2 Kings 17:33-34 – “They feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.  To this day they do after the former manner: they don’t fear the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law or after the commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel”

The above verse would have been just fine with the first 4 words ‘They feared the Lord’.  The Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom – it brings us low and puts humility in our heart.  It puts us in a place where the Lord can then begin to lead and guide us!  It really is the start of everything!

Unfortunately there’s a nasty little ‘and’ after the first 4 words.  ‘They feared the Lord… AND served their own gods’.  As we read on in the verse we see what happened – ‘To this day… they don’t fear the Lord’

One of the most common lies that Christians buy into is that we can mix our devotion and it won’t have an effect on our faith.  That we can play with fire, and we won’t get burnt.  That we can serve the Lord… AND we can also serve other gods too.  Other gods like money, pleasure, the spirit of the age, and our own dreams and desires. 

The fact is that when we start mixing our devotion, we will ALWAYS end up in a place where the other gods will begin to take a greater influence in our lives, and we start down a track which is going to end up in misery for us.  If I had 10c for every time I’ve heard someone say ‘but it’s different for me… I’m stronger’. 

To follow Christ is a singular call.  To hold firm to the faith, we must actively let go of every other handle.  No if’s, no but’s – and certainly – no ‘ands’!

The Enemy’s Offer

2 Kings 18:31 – Don’t listen to Hezekiah: for thus says the king of Assyria, Make your peace with me, and come out to me; and eat you everyone of his vine, and everyone of his fig tree, and everyone drink the waters of his own cistern;

Israel was under attack from Assyria, and King Hezekiah of Israel had instructed his people not to listen to a word the enemy king said, and not to answer him. 

But the Assyrian king was cunning.  He spoke to the people in their own language and told them that Hezekiah was a liar and really their enemy – and if they would come out and surrender, then they would have peace.  The people had been living in siege conditions and the offer of peace would have been compelling and attractive.  But in reality it was a death trap. 

Our enemy, the devil, makes exactly the same kind of offer to us today.  He is filled with smooth talk, and makes great promises about his ways.  He baits us with illusions of an easy life and all that our soul desires.  But in the end, he remains a liar, committed to destroying us. 

In this story, the Israelite people stayed strong.  They refused to answer the king of Assyria or to accept his terms – and as a result God Himself went out and put to death 185,000 of the enemy soldiers!

Today, be a person who refuses the enemy’s offer.  No matter how tempting it may be, it will only bring death.  But those who wait for their God will be richly rewarded!

Breaking Down The Wall

2 Kings 14:13 -14 Jehoash king of Israel … came to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem … He took all the gold and silver, and all the vessels that were found in the house of Yahweh…

When the nation of Israel was divided, the king of Israel came to Jerusalem, broke down the wall that surrounded it, and plundered the temple.

You can have the most beautiful temple in the world, but if the walls surrounding it aren’t strong, it’s going to be raided. 

This is symbolic of our lives – our relationship with God being the temple, and the principles and convictions that we hold being like the walls.  We need strong ‘walls’ to protect our temple. 

If our walls get broken down – our temple will be raided.  Walls aren’t particularly exciting, but they serve a purpose.  In the same way, it’s not always fun to make hard decisions that put God first.  But when we do that we’re building a strong ‘wall’ around our temple! 

Make sure that you’ve got things in place that protect your relationship with God! 

The Response To Crisis

2 Kings 19:1-2 – It happened, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of Yahweh.  He sent Eliakim … and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz.

Jerusalem was surrounded by a foreign army – who had crushed every city they had fought against.  Their king has taunted Hezekiah, saying that God won’t save him.  The situation looks hopeless. 

Hezekiah does three things in response to this:

1) He covers himself with sackcloth

This speaks of humility.  The first thing that we must do when facing overwhelming crisis, is to acknowledge our desperate need.  The first thing was not to launch a planning committee – it was to prepare his heart.

2) He goes into the house of the Lord

Hezekiah gets himself to where God is.  If we’re dealing with a crisis – the best thing we can do is to get as close to God as possible.  He leaves his throne – walks away from the immediate responsibilities he has as a king – and goes into the house of God – in order to hear from heaven.

3) He seeks the word of the prophet

Sometimes we will hear directly from the throne – other times we will hear through the mouths of those who God has placed in our lives.  Hezekiah isn’t taking any chances – he’s in the house, and he’s sending word to the prophet. 

The end of the story is that God sovereignly destroys the army and brings about a huge victory for Israel!  We all hit seasons of crisis – but if we get humble, get close to God, and get connected with his prophets – we can know that God will speak!

For Real?

2 Kings 13:14 – Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died: and Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over him, and said, My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen of it!

When Elijah got taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, he told his Elisha, who was then his servant, that if he saw him go, then he would receive a double portion of his spirit.  So when the chariots of fire took Elijah away, Elisha cries out “my father, my father” – to prove that he had seen Elijah go.  His subsequent life showed that he had indeed received the double portion. 

But at the end of the Elisha’s days, he grew sick and died.  And as we read here, Joash, the king of Israel came down to see him, and wept over him – saying “my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and the horsemen of it!”

This is a most interesting phrase for the king to utter – and he was likely hoping that saying these words might mean that he would inherit the power that lay on Elisha. 

Elisha saw the horsemen and chariots of Israel, and so received the double portion.  Joash merely parroted the words that Elisha used, and received nothing. 

When God gives a person a revelation, they will say and do things based on what they are actually seeing.  Others can try to copy or imitate them, but there is no power – because although they might have the form, they haven’t encountered the substance.

We can draw inspiration from the lives and testimonies of others – but what’s most important is that we SEE GOD FOR OURSELVES. That’s the place of real power – and it’s the place that lies open before us today!

A Foregone Conclusion!

2 Kings 3:10 – The king of Israel said, Alas! for Yahweh has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

The king of Moab rebelled against Jehoram, king of Israel.  So Jehoram calls Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and the king of Edom, to come up with him to fight against Moab.

But after wandering in the wilderness for seven days, and then running out of water, Jehoram makes this statement – “Alas!  Yahweh has called us together to deliver us to Moab!”.  Jehoram looks at the situation that they have found themselves in, and begins to read the plan of the Lord into it – they have been destined to be given over to the Moabites. 

Not prepared to take this as the truth, Jehoshaphat in the next verse asks if there is a prophet of the Lord among them.  It just so happens that Elisha is there!  When Elisha inquires of the Lord, they get the real Word – that the Moabites will be routed before them. 

When we don’t have a clear word from God to guide us, it’s easy to “read” God’s plans into events and situations.  ‘This’ has happened, so the Lord wants to do ‘that’.  But God’s plans were the complete opposite of what Jehoram was ‘reading’ into the situation.

Understand today that God WANTS to speak to you.  You can make your best guess of what’s going on, or you can tap into His understanding and wisdom.  Take some time today to listen to him and get heaven’s perspective.  That’s when you begin to walk day by day in his miraculous provision.

I Have Nothing

2 Kings 4:2 – Elisha said to her, What shall I do for you? tell me; what have you in the house? She said, Your handmaid has nothing in the house, except a pot of oil.

One of the wives of the prophets has had her husband die, and now a creditor is threatening to take her two sons as well.  She has run out of money and there appears to be no way forward!  So she comes to Elisha in the hope that he might be able to help her. 

Elisha’s response is similar to the question the Lord put to Moses at the burning bush – “what do you have?”

The handmaid replies ‘I have nothing’.  Then she stops and thinks ‘… except a pot of oil’. Although she has a pot of oil, it is so small and useless compared to the size of the debt that she owes.  In her eyes it is of no relevance to the problem. 

But Elisha seizes on this despised, weak thing and sees in it her impending deliverance.  He tells her to borrow vessels from all of her neighbours and go into her house and start pouring the oil.  Then an amazing miracle occurs – the oil does not run out until the last vessel is full. 

We know that the Lord uses the despised, weak, good-for-nothing things, but do we KNOW that yet? When the Lord asks ‘what do you have in your hand’ – what’s your reply?  You might say ‘nothing’ – but what’s that small, seemingly insignificant thing that follows the word ‘nothing’?  Is it a job, a friendship, a talent, a responsibility, a gift? 

These are the things that the Lord wants to use to demonstrate His miraculous power through your life!  Don’t despise what you’ve got – honour it and use it!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving – Part II

2 Kings 8:6 – When the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed to her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.

My last post showed how the Shunummite woman received directive instruction from Elisha because her and her husband had blessed him by providing him with a room to stay in.

The directive instruction the woman received was that there would be a seven year famine in Israel and that she needed to leave and seek refuge elsewhere.  So at Elisha’s word, she up and left her house and fields in Israel and went and dwelt among the Philistines.  This would have been at a massive cost to herself, and perhaps the evidence of the famine had not yet set in, but she obeyed the word of God.

But here we see the Lord’s amazing and miraculous provision.  Upon her return seven years later, she goes to the king, just as the king is talking with Gehazi, Elisha’s servant.  As Gehazi is relating the story of a woman whose son was raised from the dead, she walks in and Gehazi says ‘This is the woman!’.

The king is so taken by what he has heard, that restores not just the woman’s land to her, but gives her all of the income that she should have had over the seven years as well.

We can draw immense encouragement from this story.  When we follow God’s instructions, no matter what they might cost us, He sees to it that we are provided for completely and totally.  At the end of the story, the woman was in a better position than the other Israelites who had struggled through the famine.

Trust God!  He WILL provide for you.  Seek his direction and follow it, and your way will be established!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving – Part I

2 Kings 8:1 – Now Elisha had spoken to the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go you and your household, and sojourn wherever you can sojourn: for Yahweh has called for a famine; and it shall also come on the land seven years.

The word of the Lord has come to Elisha, that there will be a famine in the land of Israel for seven years.  And one of the first things he does is to speak to the Shunummite woman, whose son he had restored to life, and warn her. 

I think it’s interesting to consider why this woman was privy to this prophetic word from Elisha, and why her son had been raised from the dead.  It all stems back to 2 Kings 4, where the woman saw Elisha passing by her way often, and so she and her husband sought to bless him by making a room for him in their house. 

This simple act of kindness to one of the Lord’s servants led to the Lord granting her and her husband a son, and also the Lord bringing that son back to life when he had died.  It also led to this situation – where she was given guidance by Elisha, not as a resident of Israel, but as a friend.

We all want to be in on what God is saying.  He is passing by our way often – have we sought to make a ‘room’ in our busy lives for Him?  Building a room for God is not cheap – it will cost you something, just like it cost the Shunummite couple, but the rewards of having the Lord dwelling with you far outweigh the cost!

Start work on a ‘room’ for the Lord today.  Make some time in your busy schedule to read His word and seek His direction.  You’ll be investing in a gift that just keeps on giving!