Friday, February 22, 2008

2 Kings 3

What is this passage all about?
Joram, Ahaziah's brother, succeeded him as king. The kings of Israel, Judah and Edom combined forces to attack rebellious Moab. At one stage they were without water in the desert and feared destruction, but Elisha prophesied Moab would be handed over to them by the LORD, and it happened as he said.

What can I learn from this passage?
There are several elements in this passage. Joram was recorded as having gone some of the way towards ending the sinful religious practices of his parents, but not far enough. In this passage he is recorded as refusing to consult with Ahab and Jezebel's pagan prophets, preferring instead to consult the recalcitrant Elisha. In this context (and in the later years of his reign, probably during his co-regency with his son Jehoram) Jehoshaphat king of Judah was again summoned to fight with Israel. As he had with Ahab, he agreed.
This time, it was only when the combined armies ran into trouble that he counselled that the king of Israel to inquire of the LORD through a prophet. At this time, Jehoshaphat echoed somewhat the words of Elijah to Joram's brother Ahaziah (v11 cf 2Ki1): "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may enquire of the LORD through him?" Joram was more confident: twice (vv10,13), he declared his belief that it was the LORD who had called the three kings of Israel, Judah and Edom together to confront Moab.
Elisha, who agreed to inquire of the LORD only because of his respect for Jehopshaphat's presence, eventually told them they had nothing to fear. However, they did have to do some work. The soldiers, who were without water, had to dig ditches in the valley where they were. Their willingness to dig despite their thirst was evidence that they trusted Elisha's prediction, and they were rewarded in this trust by the ditches being miraculously filled with water. Then, God used the red morning sunlight on the water to confuse the Moabite army into thinking that the combined armies had attacked each other. Over confident, the Moabites fell into an Israelite ambush and fled. Israel was able to plunder and destroy all Moab, even to the point where the king of Moab sacrificed his firstborn son and heir, presumably in an effort to induce his idol god to save the nation from the Israelite's wrath.

How does this help me to worship God?
God has used some seemingly far-fetched ideas to make His name great. In this instance, the four kings of Israel, Judah, and the pagan Abrahamic nations of Edom and Moab were all left in no doubt as to which God was the great and mighty One. There are times in my life when I am counfounded as to how on earth God can possibly use me and my actions to glorify His name, yet that is what He has chosen to do. Thank You God for allowing me the amazing privelege of being involved in making Your name known and revered throughout the nations. May Your name be upheld and hallowed in all places, by all people. Use Your church, Lord, Your redeemed people, who worship You as LORD. Use us for Your purposes and Your glory. Amen.

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