The Lord promised Jehu that his descendants would sit on the throne of Israel till the fourth generation because he destroyed the wicked as the Lord had commanded (2 Kings 10:30). We see the beginning of that promise from the Lord being fulfilled today as Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, is the new king of Israel. Jehoahaz does evil in the sight of the Lord, so God delivers Israel into the hands of the Syrians. Hazael, the king of Syria, decimates Israel’s army, but when King Jehoahaz pleads with the Lord, the Lord delivers Israel from the hand of the Syrians. Although Jehoahaz never repents from evil and genuinely turns to the Lord, God listens to the prayer of Jehoahaz because the Lord is merciful.
The king of Syria then turns toward Judah, so King Joash gives Hazael all the sacred items from his home and the house of the Lord. The Syrians take the goods and return home, but judgment still comes upon Joash and the leaders of the people of Judah who caused the king’s heart to turn from the Lord and kill the prophet Zechariah (2 Chron. 24:17-22; Matt. 23:35). King Joash is killed by his servants and his son, Amaziah, becomes the next king of Judah.
The reading ends with Elisha’s final prophecy. When Elisha is deathly ill, the current king of Israel, Jehoahaz’s son Jehoash, comes and weeps over Elisha. Several commentaries said his mourning was likely due to the fact that Israel was losing a great resource. Remember that Elisha was the one who would inform the king of Israel of the plans of the Syrians (2 Kings 6:12). Therefore, Elisha tells the king to shoot arrows as an illustration that the Lord would still be with him and give him deliverance from the Syrians if he shot the arrows in faith. Then Elisha instructs the king to strike the ground with the arrows. Jehoash half heartedly hits the ground three times. So Elisha says to him – “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Syria only three times.” Jehoahaz’ mourning shows that his faith is in man and horses and chariots, and not in the living God. Although the man of God, Elisha, is going to die, the Lord is always alive and seated on the throne. We see this is true after Elisha dies and when a dead man is thrown on his bone, the Lord brings that man back to life.
God desires for His people to be bold and persistent in their pursuit of Him because the flesh, the world, and Satan are persistent against us. We must forcefully engage in the battle against sin and in maintaining intimacy with the Lord through prayer and time spent meditating on His word. We never know what huge plans the Lord has behind our seemingly small acts of faith. Therefore, we should live intentional lives, giving our best in everything we do and trusting the Lord with the outcome, regardless whether or not we think it is a menial task.
The Syrians continue to oppress Israel as the Lord said, “But the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence.” Yet. The Lord is long suffering and desires for the people of Israel to turn to Him, repent, and be saved by grace through faith. However, there will come a day when it will be too late.
Tomorrow we meet a prophet named Jonah who is in for a great adventure. Keep reading! (2 Kings 13:1-11, 2 Kings 12:17-21, 2 Chronicles 24:23-27, 2 Kings 13:14-25)