Wednesday, September 21, 2022

2022.09.21 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 3

Read 2 Kings 3

Questions from the Scripture text: Who became king over whom, where, when, and for how long (2 Kings 3:1)? What did he do (2 Kings 3:2)? Not as bad as whom? Why? But why was this improvement not enough (2 Kings 3:3)? Who used to do pay what (2 Kings 3:4)? When did this change (2 Kings 3:5)? What did Mesha do? So who went out from where and mustered whom (2 Kings 3:6)? How many of them? To whom did he go in 2 Kings 3:7? What did he say happened? What did he ask Jehoshaphat to do? What did Jehoshaphat say he would do? In what way? What did he ask in 2 Kings 3:8? What did he answer? With whom did these two kings go in 2 Kings 3:9? What sort of route? For how long? Of what did they run out? For whom? What conclusion did Jehoram draw (2 Kings 3:10)? Who had a different solution 2 Kings 3:11? What did he ask? What did one of Jehoram’s servants answer? What did Jehoshaphat say about Elisha in 2 Kings 3:12? Where do they go? Who speaks first in 2 Kings 3:13? To whom, specifically? What does he ask him? To whom does he tell him to go? How does Jehoshaphat answer? How does Elisha begin his statement in 2 Kings 3:14? What is the only reason he’s willing to interact? For what does Elisha ask in 2 Kings 3:15? What came upon him? How does he begin the command in 2 Kings 3:16? What does he say to do? What won’t they see (2 Kings 3:17)? But what will happen? For what purpose? How difficult is this for God (2 Kings 3:18)? What else will he do? And what four things are they commanded to do in 2 Kings 3:19? What was happening at what time in 2 Kings 3:20? And what suddenly happened at the same time? From where? With what result? Who had heard what (2 Kings 3:21)? And where had they gathered? What did they do, when, in 2 Kings 3:22? What did they see? But what did it look like? What did they say (2 Kings 3:23)? What did they think the three armies had done to one another? What did they urge each other to do? To where do they come in 2 Kings 3:24? What do they find instead of spoil—what does Israel do? And what do the Moabites now do? Who follows? Entering where? Doing what? What four things do they do (2 Kings 3:25, cf. 2 Kings 3:19)? What do they leave as a monument, after taking it in battle? Who sees what in 2 Kings 3:26? What last ditch effort does he try? When this fails, what is his final ultimate resort (2 Kings 3:27)? What came upon Israel at this sight? What do they do, when they have seen it?

What difference does it make to live by the Word of God? 2 Kings 3 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these twenty-seven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that living by the Word of God gives us peace and patience, provision, protection, and purity. 

Living by God’s Word gives peace and patience. Chapter 2 had ended with Elisha reenacting the Carmel-to-Samaria run of 1 Kings 18:46. There, the Lord had offered to Ahab to live by Yahweh’s Word from the mouth of Elijah. Now, the same is offered to Ahab’s son, but with similar result. Jehoram makes some reforms (2 Kings 3:2), but the verdict is that he is evil (2 Kings 3:3) because rather than accept the offer to live by God’s Word, Jehoram continues worship that is according to the ideas of man (2 Kings 3:4). 

Jehoram is one of those fellows for whom the Word of God is a last resort; Elisha implies as much in 2 Kings 3:13: “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.” In fact, when they run out of water (2 Kings 3:9), consulting Yahweh doesn’t even occur to Jehoram. He just assumes that Yahweh is punishing him (which would be just). And so he despairs (2 Kings 3:10).

Jehoshaphat, however, has a peace and patience that Jehoram lacks. For Jehoshaphat, as long as they have access to the Word of Yahweh, there is hope. It is this God-given faith to which Elisha responds (2 Kings 3:14). The bit about the musician indicates that it is Yahweh Himself Who is responding through Elisha, who just gets taken over as a conduit. And Elisha says as much when he says, “Thus says Yahweh” in 2 Kings 3:16 and 2 Kings 3:17. While Jehoram panics, Jehoshaphat has peace and patience, because he is a man who lives by God’s Word.

Living by God’s Word gives provision. When we have the Lord and His Word, we quite literally have everything (cf. Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 3:21–23). Jehoram thought his problem was not enough water. The prophet now says that the problem is not enough places to put all the water they’re about to get; he commands them to dig ditches (2 Kings 3:16) to hold plenty of water for every man and beast (2 Kings 3:17). If we have Him, and we have His Word, we may be sure that we have every truly needful thing. 

Living by God’s Word gives protection. Now, the Lord shames them both. Jehoshaphat should have known that you seek the Word of God before you go to battle in the first place (cf. 1 Kings 22:51 Kings 22:7). It should have been Elisha whom he asked the question in 2 Kings 3:8. So, as the Lord announces that water rations is really too small a thing; He is going to give them the victory they should have asked for to begin with (2 Kings 3:18). And it is going to be a complete and devastating victory (2 Kings 3:19). 

How entirely does the Lord rule over all things? Their trip to get Edomites, instead of to consult Elisha, which had cost them their remaining water… turns out to be essential to Yahweh’s plan. For, He uses the very provision of water in the ditches as the mechanism by which He gives the Moabites into their hands (2 Kings 3:22-23). How great is the sovereign power of our God, and how wise His sovereign plan! Even when we are foolish and sinful, He is ruling and overruling it all for good.

Living by God’s Word gives purity. Now, this seems like it would be obvious, but it hadn’t been to Jehoram. He was still observing the liturgical innovations and liturgical calendar of Jeroboam Son of Nebat. How bad can things get, when you start veering off of the Word of God? The Israelites find out in 2 Kings 3:27. Mesha’s final attempt, with the seven hundred men in 2 Kings 3:26, has failed. Now what does he do? He thinks that if he sacrifices his son as a burnt offering, maybe he can curry favor with his god. 

How horrible are the demonic idolatries of men! There’s a translation issue in 2 Kings 3:27, which literally reads “great indignation was upon Israel.” It could mean that the Lord’s wrath fell upon them, but there’s no reason for that given in the text, and no destruction of them. Rather, the result of this indignation is that Israel depart and return to their own land. They have seen the horror into which idolatry can descend, and they want nothing more to do with Moab.

The message to Israel, and to us, is clear: the purity that comes only from the Word of God is worth it. The horror of our sin ought to be resisted as entirely as possible.

What are some habits of those who live by God’s Word? What sorts of things do they do? What sorts of things do they refuse to do? How do your own habits and actions line up with these? Which of the benefits of living by God’s Word, taught in this chapter, do you feel greatest need of right now? 

Sample prayer: Lord, thank You for offering to us to live by Your Word. Forgive us for treating it as a last resort instead of our first inclination. Forgive us for the smallness of our faith in what You can and will do for us. Forgive us for feeling free to wander from Your Word in what we think are small ways, when this is the path to horrible sins like the king of Moab. Grant that we would have hearts that love Your Word, look to You continually, and trust You for every good and perfect gift. Thank You that Christ perfectly did all these things in our place; make us to be like He is, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH173 “Almighty God, Your Word Is Cast”

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