2 Kings 18:1-8 (only) and 2 Chronicles 29-31 and Psalm 48

Click here to read *yes some of this may seem ‘skimmable’ BUT it’s good.

THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE READS TODAY!  I hung on every word.  Two reasons:

  1. I get to take so many details and see if they ‘make sense to the whole story.  I truly think you are going to read this and realize you have absorbed a lot more than you thought.
  2. This read is not about Hezekiah.  It is about God’s Mercy, Grace, Patience, Love, and Forgiveness!!

OK…I am pumped!  Read 2 kings the first 8 verses only.   Hezekiah King of Judah.  (refresh: The nation that has the Davidic Covenant, the nation that will be exiled BUT a remnant of people will survive, the nation that every once in a while has a good King).

I am Team Hezekiah!!

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)

Nehushtan - Sunset Church of Christ in Springfield MO

I could make a sermon out of this!  What God made for good, man made evil.  Anything that we worship, even in the “Church world” is idolatry.    (You can skip this part if you remember the story)

On March 4th (that was 136 days ago!)

Numbers 22

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,[c] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

Why is Jesus compared to a snake in the book of John? — Hope Radio KCMI 97.1 | Cross Times Newspaper | Cross Reference Library

Well, who has John 3:16 memorized besides Tim Tebow?  Well, what is the scripture JUST before it??

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

The Crucifiction of Jesus and the Nehushtan (serpent staff of ...

What was a beautiful foreshadow of healing through FAITH became an act of idolatrous worship.  And YES every time I see an ambulance I am reminded to PRAY for Healing through my Faith (even though the symbol is from Greek mythology, Asclepius, the god of medicine and healing)

Free Stock photo of Ambulance showing the snake and staff ...

Sorry, I fell down a rabbit hole on that.

2 Chronicles 29- Same story…a lot more words.  Why?  Who wrote it?  (Yes I know God wrote it silly) I mean who did God use to write it?  Ezra.  Ezra was a priest, and the Chronicles were written for the remnant people that return after the captivity to rebuild the Temple.(you knew that)  So if we are in a ‘good’ period Ezra will want to write MORE so the Israelites feel encouraged when they read this.  (It’s like reading the American History Books…only the good stuff is in there 😂). When you read it, you will definitely see that a Priest wrote it.  Lots of sacrifices…Geneology…musicians…temple….etc.

So look for all the beautiful details in this chapter:

(Trivia: Which Levite family was the High Priest from?)-put in comments.

Focus 1Tabernacle #2 Polson. The Tabernacle is the most complete ...

  • 10 Now I intend to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel so that his fierce anger will turn away from us. 
    • What is needed for a “covenant”?  The shedding of blood.  The New Testament Covenant is the shedding of Jesus’ blood,
  • The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the Lord.

So the service of the temple of the Lord was reestablished. 36 Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for his people because it was done so quickly.

Chapter 30.-The Passover.

It feels like we have read 1000 names in the Bible.  Who are the 12 tribes again?  Who are the enemies?  Who are the Kings?.  When you read the Passover and who is being invited to celebrate God’s deliverance from Egypt, here is a reminder of who The Tribes of Israel are:

The 12 Sons of Jacob vs. The 12 Tribes of Israel | Bible Fun For Kids

18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. ❤️❤️❤️

chapter 31-  Read the ABOVE IN BLUE and then read this.  I could write a book on this topic (I won’t, I promise).  I actually started writing quite a bit BUT it may have translated wrong (my biggest fear) so I deleted it.

When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.

The chapter ends with:

20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

Can 1 person make a difference??

Finally, the Sons of Kora write this to be sung in the Temple:  Click here for Psalm 48.Psalm 48

Follow this chart:  sad days are coming.  The apple falls far from the tree!!

2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16-17

Look closely at the King’s names for the Kingdom of Israel.  Today is the day we read about Hosea.  The last king In Israel.  

On the Judah side, we are still at Ahaz.

Ahaz (KIng od Judah)–😢

He’s awful! Let’s list a few things: Think about this for a minute.  He lived in the Southern nation, in Jerusalem- where the TEMPLE was located yet he…

  • offered pagan sacrifices including sacrificing his own son to foreign gods
    • 2 Chronicles the first 9 verses read like a ‘Cause/Effect’ document in my social studies class.
    • effect-Therefore the Lord his God delivered him into the hands of the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him.
  • when the king of Aram came to fight Jerusalem who did Ahaz cry out to for help?  The Lord?  NO!!!  To the King of Assyria!
  • when Ahaz went to Damascus to pay the king of Aram (with the gold he took from the Temple) he told his priest to sketch their altar of worship so he could build a replica of it and make sacrifices to it
  • When he went back to Jerusalem he deconstructed the Temple to look like their temple! Removing parts and rebuilding other parts.  What??

“Listen Linda”, If I were a preacher…I would make a series out of this!  SO MUCH APPLICATION here…and I am guilty of all of it…so let’s move on 😕

Now let’s look at the Northern Tribe (Israel)

Chapter 17…HERE IT IS!  The last king of Israel.  The Israelites are taken captive and removed from the Promised Land!

 The king of Assyria invaded the entire land, marched against Samaria and laid siege to it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria.

Fair and Balanced - Honest Reporting 2 - Apartheid | Bible mapping ...

(Follow the purple lines)

In Deuteronomy 28 God told them if you obey me….if you disobey me.  HE WARNED THEM.  (over and over and over again)  So what did they do? (Basically, I am copying the whole chapter)

All this took place because the Israelites had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of Egypt from under the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

  • They worshiped other gods and followed the practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before them, as well as the practices that the kings of Israel had introduced.
  • The Israelites secretly did things against the Lord their God that were not right.
  • 10 They set up sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree.  
  • 12 They worshiped idols, though the Lord had said, “You shall not do this.”

13 The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your ancestors to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.”

  • 14 But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.
  • 15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep.
  • They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”
  • 16 They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole.
  • 17 They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sought omens and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.Remember When Child Sacrifice Was Not Okay? | A Church for Starving Artists

(they would put the baby on the statue.  There was a hole in the center that had a fire in it)

18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left…… So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there.

To make matters worse:

  • 24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites.

But they did not know how to worship our God….so Lions ate them.  Ha!  Well, that was freaking them out so they came up with a plan…have one of the captured priests go back and teach them how to worship God.

  • 33 They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.
  • 40 They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices. 41 Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.
    • Hashtag True Story!  Assyria is modern-day Iraq!!

Middle East Then n Now

If that post was confusing please let me know. 

2 Kings 15 and 2 Chronicles 26

  • Click here to read
  • Click here to listen
  • Before you even start, you might be able to say to yourself “The book of Kings will talk about BOTH Judah and Israel, but the Chronicles will only talk about____________”

We are going downhill today…

Azariah-King of Judah- (see above)  By the way Azariah also goes by the name Uzziah.  (2 Chron Uzziah is Azariah)  Azariah was one of Judah’s most popular, effective, and influential kings. He expanded Judah’s territories, fortified several Judean cities, including Jerusalem, and reorganized the army.  Unfortunately, Azariah (Uzziah) became proud, and in disobedience, to the Law and performed functions only the priests could perform:

Chron. 26:16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.

For this sin God punished him with leprosy

Look at the left column when we talk about the horrible kings of Israel….

Zechariah-King of Israel- Zechariah reigned only six months before Shallum assassinated him. Zechariah was the last king of Jehu’s dynasty. Shallum was the son of Jabesh (not a natural successor.

2 kings 10:30 ““Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 

Shallum-KIng of Israel- another assassination. So evidently Menaham was not happy about Shallum being the new king.  After all, Menahem was the commander in chief.  He thinks it should have been him.   It’s chaos! Shallum only sat on the throne (meaning kingship, not the toilet) for only 1 month.

Menahem-KIng of Israel- He reigned 10 years but then Pul, king of Assyria attacked the land.  Let me repeat that: the king of Assyria attacked the land!  This is the first mention of Assyrian kings as they have been growing to be a world power.  The year is 742 (only 20 years to go) and we now see this rise in power of the enemy nation beginning to infiltrate the Israelites.  Not good I tell ya!  Not good at all!!

Pekahiah-King of Israel-In 742 B.C., Pekahiah began his two-year reign (742-740 B.C.). It ended when Pekah, one of his military officers, assassinated him in Samaria, in addition to Argob and Arieh, who were probably Israelite princes and influential friends of the king

Pekah-King of Israel “In the time of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser (Pul) king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria.

So Pekah made an alliance with Pul, and attacked Judah.  They started deporting people to Assyria?  What? What is beginning to happen here!  (If you have read the Bible already you know…if not you will)

KIng of Judah-Jotham-he is the last “mediocre” king.  After this, we have 2 revival kings and 7 evil kings.  He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years…The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. Jotham rebuilt the Upper Gate of the temple of the Lord.

Look at your schedule.  Tomorrow we start Isaiah.  Anyone want to take over the blog for Isaiah? 😬

2 Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 25

So as soon as I see “Amaziah king of Judah” I immediately need to look at my visual”.  The two reads fit like a puzzle piece.  So if you already read and totally got it you can skip today’s post.  It is just a recap of the read.

Amaziah of Judah reigned over Judah for 29 years (796-767 B.C.). He began reigning when Jehoash was king over Israel and died during the reign of Jehoash’s son and successor Jeroboam II.

One of Amaziah’s acts of goodness that the writer of Kings included was his obedience to the Law in the matter of not executing children for their fathers’ crimes (Deut. 24:16). Kings of other ancient Near Eastern countries commonly practiced such executions. Amaziah instead trusted God to control the potential rebels.

Amaziah was victorious over Edom and become prideful. (Have they not learned that any victory they have is from the Lord…oh wait…have I?.  So Amaziah (Judah) picks a fight with Jehoash (Israel).  So like children, they tease each other and Jehoash calls him a little thistle compared to himself as a cedar in Lebanon. (Listen, I am on Summer Break!  I feel like I am back with my school kids!) He warns him not to pick a fight but to just go home.  (In my head I can see people standing around saying “fight fight fight”.”)Tweek vs Craig Picture - TV Fanatic

God permitted this situation to punish Amaziah because after subduing the Edomites, he had brought some of their idols into Jerusalem and worshipped them. (2 Chron. 25:14, 20)  The army of Israel took Amaziah prisoner.

When Jehoash died, they released Amaziah who returned to Judah. But….we end on a sad note:

From the time that Amaziah turned away from following the Lord, they conspired against him in Jerusalem and he fled to Lachish(a former royal city) but they sent men after him to Lachish and killed him there. 28 He was brought back by horse and was buried with his ancestors in the City of Judah.

Israel - Ancient History Encyclopedia

Jeroboam II’s reign of 41 years was the longest in Israel’s history (793-753 B.C.).   

“He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher”.

Soooo guess what book we read tomorrow???  Jonah and the Big Fish God!

2 kings 12-13 and 2 Chron 24

The reading starts with:

In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem for forty years. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beersheba. Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord all the years Jehoiada the priest instructed him. The high places, however, were not removed; the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there.

So we see JERUSALEM and DID RIGHT…therefore we KNOW this must be a king from Judah,  BUT he did not take down the “high places”.  High places were man-made places to make sacrifices, which copied pagan ways, to make sacrifices.  Judah had no excuse to do this since the Temple was in their territory.

Joash was the youngest king to mount Judah’s throne. He began reigning at age seven and ruled for 40 years (835-796 B.C.). His father was Ahaziah, the most recent male ruler of Judah, and his grandmother was Athaliah. Joash was mentored by a priest named Jehoiada.  His claim to fame was bringing the Temple back to the Holy Sanctuary God had intended it to be.  JUST in case you read 2 Kings BUT skimmed 2 Chronicles (who would do that…ummmm me!) I will pull in a line or two that you may have missed.

So why did the temple need repair (besides years of neglect)?

2 Chron 24:7- Now the sons of that wicked woman Athaliah had broken into the temple of God and had used even its sacred objects for the Baals.

I AM COMING SOON! : Joash Repairs The Temple

Click here for a bigger copy or a printable one of this: you can find her just above Joash on the right side.

Joash started off so strong but he ended on a sour note.  He made 2 big mistakes.  Remember the other day the map of Aram.  Aram wanted to be able to use the coast for trading.  King Hazael of Aram had defeated Israel during the reigns of Jehu and Jehoahaz (chapter 13). He then pressed south along the Mediterranean coast toward Judah. He captured Gath and then sent soldiers against Jerusalem who killed many Judean leaders.

  1.  Joash: Rather than turning to God for deliverance, Joash bought Hazael off with gold from the renovated temple. (12:17-18)
  2. He went the way of the world and eventually worshiped like they did. I am not kidding, he abandoned the Temple project as well as the Temple itself! (2 Chon 24-17-19 if you want to go back to read it)

2 Kings Chapter 13

Don’t let the names overwhelm you.  Look at the subtitle.  King of Judah or King of Israel.  That will help you.  We are getting close to the end of Israel so you will see them getting weaker and weaker.

Nothing had been left of the army of Jehoahaz except fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand foot soldiers, for the king of Aram had destroyed the rest and made them like the dust at threshing time.

Follow your King chart, next is Jehoash (Israel side)

Elisha is dying (did anyone stop and think…did he see it coming?)  Jehaosh weeps over this.  Why?   Because Elisha is the only reason they have not fallen into enemy hands.

14 Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”

Look at some of your visuals.  Now that both Israel and Judah are falling apart, God still loves them so much,  that He is going to start sending prophets with strong messages to try to get them to turn from their evil ways. (peek at the schedule coming up)

30. Understanding the Writing Prophets

Question:  Explain this diagram to me (even though it has not happened yet.)  Why are there little green arrows at 722?  What is the orange?  Why 2 little lines and then one fat orange line?

2 Kings 9-11

2 Kings

Take a minute and get your bearing on the graph.  Before today’s read Israel and Judah were kind of able to co-exist in the land, they even at times made small alliances to fight enemy territory.    This will come to an end now.  The year is 841 BC when Jehu takes the throne.  The Northern Kingdom will be taken into captivity in 722 BC (remember the years count backward).  Time is running out for the Israelites to get it together.  (But God is going to try everything to get them to turn from idol worship and let them see He is the one true God.)

We begin today with the fulfillment of prophecy from the Lord to Elijah.  1 Kings 19:

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Elisha sent the man to anoint Jehu and told him to run for his own safety!  Just as Elijah and Elisha were used as instruments from God so was Jehu in this case.

Question: Do you think Jezebel put makeup on as a pagan ritual, did she know she was going to die and prepared herself to look pretty for it,  or do you think she was going to try to seduce him? 🤷‍♀️

Back in 1 Kings 21:17-

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free.22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.’

10 JEZEBEL!!! ideas | jezebel, bible for kids, bible characters

So read Chapter 10…it’s like a scene from a Hollywood movie!   The Lord is using Jehu to clean house so why in this is he considered a bad king, not a good king?

2 Kings

Stay with me….don’t get overwhelmed.  You got this!  Do you remember when Jeroboam and Rehoboam divided the kingdom over the tax issue? (Do you remember the ‘J’ and the ‘R’)  One went North and one went South.  So if the temple was in the South…where was the North going to worship???

Back in 1 Kings 12:

25 Then Jeroboam fortified Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim and lived there. From there he went out and built up Peniel.

26 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.”

28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves.  (Nooooo!) He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. (No, it’s not!) Here are your gods, (what???)  Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29 One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other.

They built an altar to the Lord. Look at this:

Jehu is currently in the political capital of the nation.  Jehu was good to burn the Baal worship….BUT if he tears down the golden calves he is committing political suicide! 

So Chapter 10 ends with: (I hope this makes sense now)

30 The Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit.

Even though Jehu meeses up, God still continues the kings in that line.   Extra credit:

  • What is the name of the Covenant that says this line will not be snuffed out?
    • And extra point if you memorized the Book chapter and scripture..

Chapter 11- We switch to the tribe of Judah now.  The Davidic Line. The Covenant.

We began this story the other day in Chronicles but we never knew what happened after the baby was hidden.  The entire family of Ahaziah was killed.  What…can’t be.  God promised a king through the line of David to bring the Messiah.  Oh wait, there is a woman on the scene to save the day!  She takes Joash as a baby and hides him for 7 years!

Long Live the KIng!!!

Joash was the youngest king at 7 years old. | True Bible Facts

20 All the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was calm, because Athaliah had been slain with the sword at the palace.

21 Joash was seven years old when he began to reign.

2 Kings 5-8

2 Kings 5 is one of my new favorites.  Naaman is a commander to the king of Aram.  You can see on this map that it is a growing nation that threatens Israel.  BUT God does not discriminate.

Session 11: Aram (biblical region) - Wikipedia | Bible mapping ...

The faith of the Israelite slave girl contrasts with the free people of Israel and the kings who worshipped false gods. Naaman is an important guy in his nation.  First, the fact that Elisha sent a mere messenger to greet him got his britches in a twist.  THEN to tell him to wash in the Jordan River….the river the servants use??   Oh, the humanity!   He is a “somebody”.  Ohhhh the sermon I can make out of this story!  I have seen so many times people who think jobs are beneath them!  How often do we see people at church or at work that need the spotlight (the glory).   To do the servant’s work is beneath them because they have arrived, they are a Naaman! Moving on…

So the “enemy” of Israel declared there is only one true God- This is a salvation story!  Yet, the man who served Elisha: Gehazi-chose MONEY as his God!

Chapter 6-The axhead.  This story is a “folktale” among the Jewish people.  How God can raise up or lift up the most sunken heart.  We can read it as the Israelites are the axhead, they were once the instrument God used and they have flung off the handle and are not useable to Him (Penny, I know you like this visual).  Not true, we will see God raise them back up to be used again. (I have seen many people fall deep away from the Lord and they too were restored)

Elisha traps blinded Arameans- (I feel like I am reading New Testament parables today)- Read this story and then think back to this Proverb:

Proverbs 25:21-

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

Famine in Samaria- Let’s break this crazy story down.  First, let’s start with the prophecy of this happening: In Deuteronomy 28 Moses gave a warning for disobedience as they enter the Promised Land:  If you would like to read the whole thing click here.  However, in reference to the cannibalism, we read today here is the verse:

53 Because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you.

So the cliff note version is: The king of Aram is attacking Samaria (the Northern tribes: Israel).  Well, because Israel has fallen so far from the Lord, He has brought a huge famine on them. They are trapped in their hunger because they cannot leave the city walls since they are surrounded by the army of Aram.  Does the king of Israel take ownership of the dilemma they are in?  Heck no!  He blames Elisha probably for not killing the Arams in the last chapter but instead feeding them!

Chapter 7 continues the story but starts with a very powerful statement and prophecy:

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seats  of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.

The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

I have talked about this topic before..Is anything too big for God?  I can tell you I am the officer in this story with a lack of faith.  My father and my brother are atheists.  My mother is a non-practicing catholic BUT because she participated in the sacraments she feels she has the “fire insurance”.  When I pray for my family I know God can do the impossible BUT my family is SO LOST that when I get done praying I think “ even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?  No, because they will NEVER CHANGE!”  I am the officer!!

Well, this story is proof that I am wrong. Even though this story has so many layers to it about honesty, not being opportunistic, sharing the Good News of the Gospel, and not keeping it to ourselves…I am the one trampled at the gate!

Chapter 8 The Shunammite story is obviously not in the chronological sequence since Gehazi is in the story.  But it is a story about trusting the word of God.  She was told to pack up her belongings and leave for 7 years.  Would you?? She did and was blessed for her obedience!

I am feeling pretty down today…first I am trampled at the gate…now I would be eating my own children in hunger because I wouldn’t have left!

The Murder of Ben-Hadad (he is the King of Aram).  I bet they don’t teach this story is children’s ministry!  So the King of Aram has a sickness (we can pretend it is Covid).  He sends Hazael to Elisha to find out if he will survive it.  The answer is YES…BUT Elisha offers up some extra information to Hazael:

  1. Hazael will harm the Israelites (this makes Elisha weep)He will:  will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!!! Lord have Mercy!
  2. Oh, and he will be King after Ben-Hadad

I don’t think he processed all that because the only thing he saw was the crown on his head!  But wait…didn’t Elisha just say he was going to survive the illness??  Ain’t nobody got time for that-the crown is so pretty…so he waterboards him and kills him!

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We end with a recap that you have read before:

kings-of-israel-judah | Kings of israel, Old testament bible ...

2 Kings 1-4

Two days ago we read 5 chapters in 2 Chronicles.  It was a lot to read.  We are now reading it from a different viewpoint with different details (easier details).  (I point that out so that if it seems familiar you don’t think you are going crazy)

2 Kings 1: We begin with the Judgement on Ahaziah.  He fell through the lattice and wants to consult with Baal-Zebub of Elkron.  This is not the fertility Baal, this one is worshipped in Ekron, (border of the Philistine territory).

Map of the Territory of the Philistines (Bible History Online)

Baal-Zebub is a false god that was thought to have the power of prophecy.  His name means “Lord of the Flies”.  The Lord that controls the flies is Belzebub-that’s right, the devil!  Put that in your head for a minute! (and yes, that is why they named the book that, because of the pig head on the stick scene they worshipped).

Chapter 1 is not a hard chapter but I wanted to point out that they keep mentioning Elijah’s fashion sense.  His belt and cloak.  This will be the same outfit John the Baptist wears as he comes in the ‘spirit of Elijah’ and that is why he is mistaken for Elijah (if that confuses you, we will get there in 3 months so just ignore).

“Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram (Jehoram)  succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.”

Genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah.svg

2 Kings 2– Here is the travel map for this chapter: (clearly a man was driving…just kidding)

Map with Elijah and Elisha | Online dating advice, Elijah, Popular ...

Elijah and Elisha are sitting in a group of prophets who all know that Elijah will be taken up to heaven.  Elisha is taking every moment to stay with him before he goes.  Elisha, like a son, asks for a double portion of his spirit (lower case ‘s’).  He was asking for a double portion of his strength for ministry.  A blessing only comes from the Lord so they left it in God’s hands.

And then it happens!

The Books of 1 and 2 Kings • FaithEquip

Elijah is taken into heaven alive never to be seen again.  Wait….that’s not true!  (In my opinion, and it is only an opinion, we will see him again.  I believe he is one of the 2 witnesses in Revelation for several reasons….but let me stay on task.)

In 1 Kings 19 when Elijah fled, he was showing a “lack of faith”. He JUST saw God bring fire from heaven and completely consume a soaking wet offering yet he was afraid of Jezebel’s reaction?? When God approached him, he said he was the only one left.  Oh dear…we are ALL replaceable!  He then says:

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 

Elisha now begins his “prophetic ministry” (I made that phrase up I think) by showing that God was with him, just like many in the past such as Moses and Elijah. We will actually see a close parallel between Moses and Elijah.   He begins with the parting of the Jordan River and then the water is purified at Jericho.

I have to put the end of 2 kings 2 in this blog.  The short version is 3 years ago exactly today:  me, my sister-in-law,  and brother-in-law took 9 kids on a hike in the Smokey Mountains.  Due to a storm that came in, and the forest fires the year before destroying the trails, we got lost for HOURS.  It was the second scariest moment of my life.  Long story short (too late) we lost my middle child on the mountain (it really wasn’t anyone’s fault if you heard the longer version). Police and rangers were involved and we were losing sunlight.  We turned a corner and we were staring at a family of bears.  In my head, my daughter must have been killed by the bears.  Well, she wasn’t and I packed up the next morning (from the trauma) and headed back to Nashville and went to church that Sunday, and THIS WAS THE SERMON….I am NOT making this up!

23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LordThen two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

I about fainted in Church!  Clearly, I researched the heck out of this paragraph that week!

Chapter 3-this is a repeat story from 2 days ago but let me address the water that looked like blood.

20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water. (It is the rainy season)….

22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

Edom means RED.  The rocks there were red.  Petra was built on a red mountain.  The rivers (the sediments) would be red from the rainy season.  Hello, that’s why the sea is called the Red sea! BUT God used it in a mighty way for the victory of the battle.  He is so amazing!

Chapter 4– Sorry this is long, but we could spend a month on these 4 chapters, so much we are skipping BUT Elisha performs a miracle with the oil-providing for the widow (oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit)

The Shunammite’s son– random thoughts

  • In the beginning, do you think she was flirting with him to try to make a baby (the old fashion way)?
  •  She obviously did not tell her husband the severity of her son’s condition because he says “It’s not a New Moon or a Sabbath”.  Translation- Can this issue wait till my day off?  Ain’t nobody got time for this, I am working.
  • The staff is a symbol of power: God’s authority BUT he was never going to let Gehazi use it to heal him.  First, he is not a messenger for the Lord, and second, he is not a great guy…he probably would have charged them if it worked.  Elisha…get up off your butt and go!!  Just like David…we get LAZY.

Death in the Pot!- I am so using that phrase the next time my husband cooks meat!

  • The famine was getting so severe that what was left was either rotten or poisonous, but flour (representing bread) provided for them.

Man, we skipped a lot of details….the next time we do this read-through (sorry to say I won’t be doing it next year so make sure you stick with this) we will cover the rest.