Day 152: Floods of Mercy

2 Kings 11-14

Key Verses

2 Kings 13:22-23
Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now.

As I read through these chapters in 2 Kings, I’m struck by the long-suffering patience of God. After almost 300 years of being independent of Judah, there has not been one king of Israel that did “right” in the eyes of the Lord. Even Jehu, who demolished Baal worship, “was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of  Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 10:31).

But God continued to show mercy… continued to wait for repentance. Consider the example from today’s Key Verses: “The Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them.” God seemed to give Israel every chance to repent. He waited and waited and interceded and sent Elijah and waited and sent Elisha and waited and waited some more. But in the end, Israel did not repent, and Israel would be destroyed.

God’s mercy to Israel reminds me of a quote from Charles Spurgeon…

Slow to anger. He can be angry, and can deal out righteous indignation upon the guilty, but it is his strange work; he lingers long, with loving pauses, tarrying by the way to give space for repentance and opportunity for accepting his mercy. Thus he deals with the greatest sinners, and with his own children much more so: towards them his anger is short-lived and never reaches into eternity, and when it is shown in fatherly chastisements he does not afflict willingly, and soon pities their sorrows.

From this we should learn to be ourselves slow to anger; if the Lord is longsuffering under out great provocations how much more ought we to endure the errors of our brethren! And plenteous in mercy. Rich in it, quick in it, overflowing with it; and so had he need to be or we should soon be consumed. He is God, and not man, or our sins would soon drown his love; yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of his mercy rise.

– taken from The Treasury of David (Psalm 103:8)

Yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of mercy rise. Beautiful. Both the truth and the words… are beautiful!

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah (killed by Jehu), Queen Athaliah, Jehoash (only surviving son of Ahaziah: good), Amaziah (good)
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II
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Day 151: It’s All in the Details…

2 Kings 8-10; John 9:1-41

Key Verses

2 Kings 8:19
Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah, for the sake of David his servant, since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever.

John 9:1-3
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

In 1 Kings 19, God instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha as his replacement, but God also told Elijah to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, and Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel.

Finally, in today’s reading of 2 Kings, we see these instructions fulfilled, through Elisha. And by anointing Jehu king over Israel, God uses Jehu to fulfill the prophecy He made to Ahab (through Elijah) back in 1 Kings 21…

Thus says the Lord: ‘In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick [Ahab’s] own blood.’

And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 21:19; 23-24).

Because of Ahab’s repentance, God relented and saved the inevitable prophesy for his son, Jehoram. We read the fulfillment in all of its gory detail in today’s passage.

The intricate sovereignty of the Lord is displayed as he used sinful men to carry out his holy purposes. God orchestrated every detail, and every word of his prophecy came to pass… including the destruction of Baal worship in Israel. Amazing.

In today’s Old Testament reading, God’s glory is revealed in the sovereign execution of judgment. Conversely, in today’s New Testament reading, God shows his glory in the restoration of sight to a blind man.

The disciples assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of God’s judgment either for the man’s sin or his parents’ sin. But Jesus refutes the traditional thought that all suffering is brought about by God as judgment. Some suffering occurs so that God’s glory might be revealed through deliverance.

This was the case for the man born blind. God used his “light and momentary suffering” to reveal His glory through healing. Jesus also used the physical healing as a symbol for spiritual healing… insinuating to the Pharisees that they were spiritually blind because they claimed to see. “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’ ” (John 9:39).

Was the glorious healing worth the years of suffering? I believe so. The suffering that the man endured primed his heart to receive the gospel. After years of suffering, he knew he needed a Savior. The eternal blessing always outweighs the temporal suffering!

God’s intricate handling of the details of our lives reveals a benevolent, powerful and sovereign God. C.S. Lewis’ allegorical depiction of Jesus as Aslan in his book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, captures both the terrifying and comforting aspects of God’s sovereignty…

“Is he—quite safe?”
[…]
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver […] “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz

Day 149: Prophet, Priest, & King

2 Kings 4-5; John 8:21-36

Key Verses

2 Kings 4:42-44
And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'” So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

John 8:34, 36
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. …So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

In the Old Testament, God used prophets to communicate His truth and demonstrate His power.

Today we read of Elisha continuing the ministry of Elijah. God worked through Elisha to heal, give provision and bring life from death. Elisha was God’s mouthpiece as he persistently demonstrated that God, alone, was God of Israel.

In the New Testament, God sent His Son to fulfill the role of Prophet, Priest, and King.

As we read through the Pentateuch, we saw how Jesus perfectly fulfilled every point of the Law and the Sacrificial System. He is our High Priest – opening the way to the Father.

In the gospels, we see that Jesus is the ultimate Prophet, communicating truth and demonstrating God’s power. In today’s reading, Jesus continues to speak the words of the Father to the people, and through His words, he reveals that He is also the King.

Only a King has the authority to free slaves, and Jesus has this authority. But once again, as He is speaking, the people misunderstand Him. They interpret him literally and argue that they are not enslaved.

But they were enslaved. Everyone is a slave, spiritually. We are slaves to sin. And we need the King, not just of this world, but the King of Heaven and Earth to set us free from the bondage of sin.

Jesus, our Prophet, Priest, and King, gives us freedom. And we are free indeed!

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 148: The Light of the World

2 Kings 1-3; John 8:1-20

Key Verses

2 Kings 2:11-12
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.

John 8:12
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jehoshaphat was a rare king that walked in the ways of the Lord. He ruled Judah while the evil king, Ahab, and his sons ruled Israel, and somehow, Jehoshaphat maintained peace between the two nations. Jehoshaphat aided Israel twice in war, and both times, before they entered the battle, Jehoshaphat asked to inquire of a prophet of the Lord…

And [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:4-7).

And [Ahab’s son, Jehoram,] went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:7; 11)

Jehoshaphat depended on the Lord’s guidance. He understood the perils of walking on paths outside of the Lord’s will. It would be like traversing a mountain in the dark…extremely dangerous! Jehoshaphat needed light, and he sought it!

In today’s reading from John, we see Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world.”

  • He is the spiritual light – illuminating the path to eternal life.
  • He is the moral light – living the absolute perfect life.
  • And one day, on the new earth, He will be the physical light… (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus is the light of the world – and we should seek Him passionately as we traverse the dangers in this world. We need Him. We need light!

As we follow Him, we also become lights. We are called to reflect the light of the Savior. This is our job. This is our purpose!

We know from our readings about Elijah, that this was Elijah’s job as well – to reflect the light of Truth amidst the Baal worship in Israel. And in today’s reading in 2 Kings, we see Elijah pass the torch to Elisha. Elisha will now bear the burden of light-bearer to Israel and its kings.

The darkness in this world can feel overwhelming. But we must cling to the Light as we reflect the light of Christ to the world. The darkness will never overcome the Light!

The light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 152: Floods of mercy

2 Kings 11-14

As I read through these chapters in 2 Kings, I’m struck by the long-suffering patience of God. After almost 300 years of being independent of Judah, has there been one king of Israel that did “right” in the eyes of the Lord?? Even Jehu, who demolished Baal worship, “was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of  Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 10:31).

But God continues to show mercy… continues to wait for repentance. Consider this example from today’s reading:

Now Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them, and he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, nor has he cast them from his presence until now (2 Kings 13:22-23).

God seems to give Israel every chance to repent. He waits and waits and intercedes and sends Elijah and waits and sends Elisha and waits and waits some more. But in the end, Israel does not repent, and Israel will be destroyed.

God’s mercy to Israel reminds me of a quote from Charles Spurgeon…

Slow to anger. He can be angry, and can deal out righteous indignation upon the guilty, but it is his strange work; he lingers long, with loving pauses, tarrying by the way to give space for repentance and opportunity for accepting his mercy. Thus he deals with the greatest sinners, and with his own children much more so: towards them his anger is short-lived and never reaches into eternity, and when it is shown in fatherly chastisements he does not afflict willingly, and soon pities their sorrows.

From this we should learn to be ourselves slow to anger; if the Lord is longsuffering under out great provocations how much more ought we to endure the errors of our brethren! And plenteous in mercy. Rich in it, quick in it, overflowing with it; and so had he need to be or we should soon be consumed. He is God, and not man, or our sins would soon drown his love; yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of his mercy rise.

– taken from The Treasury of David (Psalm 103:8)

Yet above the mountains of our sins the floods of mercy rise. Beautiful. Both the truth and the words… are beautiful!

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah (killed by Jehu), Queen Athaliah, Jehoash (only surviving son of Ahaziah: good), Amaziah (good)
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam II

Day 151: It’s all in the details…

2 Kings 8-10; John 9:1-41

In 1 Kings 19, God instructed Elijah to anoint Elisha as his replacement, but God also told Elijah to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria, and Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel.

Finally, in today’s reading of 2 Kings, we see these instructions fulfilled, through Elisha. And by anointing Jehu king over Israel, God uses Jehu to fulfill the prophecy He made to Ahab (through Elijah) back in 1 Kings 21…

Thus says the Lord: ‘In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick [Ahab’s] own blood.’

And of Jezebel the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat. (1 Kings 21:19; 23-24).

Because of Ahab’s repentance, God relented and saved the inevitable prophesy for his son, Jehoram. We read the fulfillment in all of its gory detail in today’s passage.

The intricate, sovereignty of the Lord is displayed as he uses sinful men to carry out his holy purposes. God orchestrated every detail and every word of his prophecy came to pass… including the destruction of Baal worship in Israel. Amazing.

In today’s Old Testament reading, God’s glory is revealed in the sovereign execution of judgment. Conversely, in today’s New Testament reading, God shows his glory in the restoration of sight to a blind man.

The disciples assumed that the man’s blindness was the result of God’s judgment either for the man’s sin or his parents’ sin. But Jesus refutes the traditional thought that all suffering is brought about by God as judgment. Some suffering occurs so that God’s glory might be revealed through deliverance.

This was the case for the man born blind. God used his “light and momentary suffering” to reveal His glory through healing. Jesus also used the physical healing as a symbol for spiritual healing… insinuating to the Pharisees that they were spiritually blind because they claimed to see. “Jesus said, ‘For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.’ ” (John 9:39).

Was the glorious healing worth the years of suffering? I believe so. The suffering that the man endured primed his heart to receive the gospel. After years of suffering, he knew he needed a Savior. The eternal blessing always outweighs the temporal suffering!

God’s intricate handling of the details of our lives reveals a benevolent, powerful and sovereign God. C.S. Lewis’ allegorical depiction of Jesus as Aslan in his book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, captures both the terrifying and comforting aspects of God’s sovereignty…

“Is he—quite safe?”
[…]
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver […] “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (-C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)

Keeping up with the Kings

  • Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat), Ahaziah
  • Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (or Joram, son of Ahab), Jehu, Jehoahaz

Day 150: Eternal God

2 Kings 6-8; John 8:37-59

Today we read the climatic conclusion to Jesus’ conversation with the Pharisees and Jews in the temple. Jesus’ words were sharp and divisive. He tells the people that because they do not accept His words, they are children of the devil. Ouch. Jesus was not afraid of controversy!

The conversation contains the typical back and forth misunderstandings as Jesus speaks spiritually and the people respond literally. Jesus ends the conversation with His clearest declaration of divinity…

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple” (John 8:58-59).

The fact that the people picked up stones to kill him meant they understood exactly what Jesus was saying… The notes from the ESV study bible explain…

The words “I am” in Greek use the same expression (Egō eimi) found in the Septuagint in the first half of God’s self-identification in Ex. 3:14, “I am who I am.” Jesus is thus claiming not only to be eternal but also to be the God who appeared to Moses at the burning bush. His Jewish opponents understood his meaning immediately and they “picked up stones” to stone him to death for blasphemy. (ESV Study Bible, Crossway).

Yes, Jesus claimed to be the Eternal God. The same God who created the earth and spoke to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The same God who called and empowered Moses to rescue His people and the same God who strived to rescue His people from apostasy as He worked through Elijah and Elisha. Jesus was there, commanding the armies of angels to protect Elisha in 2 Kings 6 – and sending the Syrian army fleeing in 2 Kings 7. He was there… protecting his wayward people from starvation – proving that He was not only God over Israel, but Lord over all the earth.

This is the God we serve. He was. He is. He will always be!

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 149: Prophet, Priest & King

2 Kings 4-5; John 8:21-36

In the Old Testament, God used prophets to communicate His truth and demonstrate His power.

Today we read of Elisha continuing the ministry of Elijah. God worked through Elisha to heal, give provision and bring life from death. Elisha was God’s mouthpiece as he persistently demonstrated that God, alone, is God of Israel.

In the New Testament, God sent His Son to fulfill the role of Prophet, Priest and King.

As we read through the Pentateuch, we saw how Jesus perfectly fulfilled every point of the Law and the Sacrificial System. He is our High Priest – opening the way to the Father.

In the gospels, we see that Jesus is the ultimate Prophet, communicating truth and demonstrating God’s power. In today’s reading, Jesus continues to speak the words of the Father to the people, and through His words, he reveals that He is also the King.

Only a King has the authority to free slaves, and Jesus has this authority. But once again, as He is speaking, the people misunderstand Him. They interpret him literally and argue that they are not enslaved.

But they are enslaved. Everyone is a slave, spiritually. We are slaves to sin. And we need the King, not just of this world, but the King of Heaven and Earth to set us free from the bondage of sin.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. ..So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:34; 36).

Jesus, our Prophet, Priest and King, gives us freedom. And we are free indeed!

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)

Day 148: The Light of the World

2 Kings 1-3; John 8:1-20

Jehoshaphat was a rare king that walked in the ways of the Lord. He ruled Judah while the evil king, Ahab, and his sons ruled Israel, and somehow, Jehoshaphat maintained peace between the two nations. Jehoshaphat aided Israel twice in war, and both times, before they entered the battle, Jehoshaphat asked to inquire of a prophet of the Lord…

And [Ahab] said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Inquire first for the word of the Lord” (1 Kings 22:4-7).

And [Ahab’s son, Jehoram,] went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” (2 Kings 3:7; 11)

Jehoshaphat depended on the Lord’s guidance. He understood the perils of walking on paths outside of the Lord’s will. It would be like traversing a mountain in the dark…extremely dangerous! Jehoshaphat needed light, and he sought it!

In today’s reading from John, we see Jesus proclaiming: “I am the light of the world.”

  • He is the spiritual light – illuminating the path to eternal life.
  • He is the moral light – living the absolute perfect life.
  • And one day, on the new earth, He will be the physical light… (Rev. 21:23).

Jesus is the light of the world – and we should seek Him passionately as we traverse the dangers in this world. We need Him. We need light!

As we follow Him, we also become lights. We are called to reflect the light of the Savior. This is our job. This is our purpose!

We know from our readings about Elijah, that this was Elijah’s job as well – to reflect the light of Truth amidst the Baal worship in Israel. And in today’s reading in 2 Kings, we see Elijah pass the torch to Elisha. Elisha will now bear the burden of light-bearer to Israel and its kings.

The darkness in this world can feel overwhelming. But we must cling to the Light as we reflect the light of Christ to the world. The darkness will never overcome the Light!

The light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Keeping up with the Kings
Judah: Rehoboam, Abijam, Asa (good), Jehoshaphat (good), Jehoram (son of Jehoshaphat)
Israel: Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram (Joram)