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One Like the Salt of the Earth
Second Kings 3
Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 4, In the year of our Lord, 2017
- Second Kings 3.1–3 | Bad, But Not as Bad
1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. 2 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not like his father and mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he persisted in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.
- How would you like that to describe you? that you did evil but not like your parents?
- He got rid of one idol, but not another.
- How far do we have to go with repentance?
- If we end up in hell, will it feel better, knowing that we were not as evil as some other people?
- Second Kings 3.4–7 | War Against Moab
4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams. 5 But it happened, when Ahab died, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 So King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. 7 Then he went and sent to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, saying, “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?” And he said, “I will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
- Can you understand why the king of Moab rebelled against Israel?
- Who likes paying taxes or some form of tribute?
- We agree that we should pay some, but not when it is burdensome.
- Why was Jehoshaphat so willing to join forces with an Israelite king again?
- Jehoram asked the same question as Ahab.
- Jehoshaphat gave the identical answer.
- Almost died in a battle when he fought for Ahab.
- Why was he willing to do it again?
- Second Kings 3.8–10 | Three Kings March Toward Moab
8 Then he said, “Which way shall we go up?” And he answered, “By way of the Wilderness of Edom.” 9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom, and they marched on that roundabout route seven days; and there was no water for the army, nor for the animals that followed them. 10 And the king of Israel said, “Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.”
- When you march for 7 days, you need water.
- The lack of water could wipe out three armies in this case.
- What do you think of Jehoram’s assessment of the situation?
- Do you think it interesting that he referred to Yahweh God?
- Is it not also interesting that the king concluded that the God wanted to deliver the kings into the hand of Moab?
- Does it seem odd to you that he would think such things about Jehovah God, but also have his own gods?
- Second Kings 3.11–19 | The Word of the Lord Is with Elisha
11 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?” So one of the servants of the king of Israel answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” 12 And Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. 13 Then Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.” But the king of Israel said to him, “No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab.” 14 And Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you, nor see you. 15 But now bring me a musician.” Then it happened, when the musician played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 16 And he said, “Thus says the LORD: Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For thus says the LORD: You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink. 18 And this is a simple matter in the sight of the LORD; He will also deliver the Moabites into your hand. 19 Also you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall cut down every good tree, and stop up every spring of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones.”
- This sounds like a repeat of the incident with Jehoram’s father.
- The difference is that Jehoram does not speak against Elisha.
- Elisha delivered very different messages to the two kings:
- Elisha bluntly rejected Jehoram, trying to send him away.
- Why did Jehoram think that he could get any help from God?
- Perhaps Jehoram just saw God as yet another god whom he could contact.
- Elisha bluntly rejected Jehoram, trying to send him away.
- Why did the Lord or Elisha even consider being of help to Jehoram?
- It was because Jehoshaphat was present.
- He was like the salt of the Earth.
- He was a righteous man.
- Therefore, his presence kept the Lord from destroying Jehoram.
- Remember how Abraham pled with God for Sodom and the righteous there.
- The Lord deliver Moab into the hands of the three kings, but what did He want them to do?
- Second Kings 3.20–26 | Moab Wiped Out
20 Now it happened in the morning, when the grain offering was offered, that suddenly water came by way of Edom, and the land was filled with water. 21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to bear arms and older were gathered; and they stood at the border. 22 Then they rose up early in the morning, and the sun was shining on the water; and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood. 23 And they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely struck swords and have killed one another; now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!” 24 So when they came to the camp of Israel, Israel rose up and attacked the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they entered their land, killing the Moabites. 25 Then they destroyed the cities, and each man threw a stone on every good piece of land and filled it; and they stopped up all the springs of water and cut down all the good trees. But they left the stones of Kir Haraseth intact. However the slingers surrounded and attacked it. 26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not.
- The Lord can make water appear where there had been none.
- Not only did He give the three kings water, but He also used it to fool the Moabite army, leading to their defeat.
- Second Kings 3.27 | The King of Israel Sacrifices His Son
27 Then he took his eldest son who would have reigned in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel. So they departed from him and returned to their own land.
- To whom does this refer?
- We might think that it referred to the king of Moab because of his desperation, or that it referred to the king of Edom, since he is the last one mentioned before this incident.
- However, what kings have been the theme of First and Second Kings, especially after the death of Solomon?
- The story is about the kings of Israel, of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
- Also, if it was the king of Edom or of Moab who did this thing, why would there be wrath against Israel?
- If it was because the king of Edom was with Israel,
- was not the king of Judah also with the king of Edom.
- How could a king of Israel do such a thing?
- We decry how far America has strayed from its roots, but
- we do not see such things happening here.
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