“So Jehoahaz pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord listened to him..” 2 King 13:4
“Then the Lord gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians….” 2 Kings 13:5
The bible, in its entirety is a revelatory and the most important work ever. However, I must confess that there are books or at least parts of books that I find challenging to glean understanding and life lessons from. 1 Kings and 2 Kings can be that way for me. While there are wonderful pages full of the works of God through Elijah, Elisha and others. There are also pages filled with a paragraph here and a small chapter there about a king, whose name I can’t pronounce and who normally is doing something evil that I have trouble finding the lesson in. Yet I find that if I can quiet my thoughts and be open to the Holy Spirit, He can teach me things through any and all stories. Jehoahaz, in 2 Kings is one of those stories that is short but, now I understand, extremely powerful.
You see Jehoahaz became King of Israel. He was the son of a king, Jehu in a line of kings that had done evil in the sight of God. Now Jehoahaz father had at least destroyed the temples of and killed all the priests to stop Israel’s worship of Baal. But scripture tell us his heart was not set to follow the commandments of God. He dies and now his son, Jehoahaz is on the throne. Well Jehoahaz, like so many of the kings, does not learn any lessons about being a good king; for scripture tells us that he did evil in the sight of the Lord. Remember, there is always consequences for sin, even if there is not complete condemnation. So Israel follows Jehoahaz in sin and the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Syrians where they were mistreated.
Now comes the amazing lesson. Jehoahaz, the sinning King of Israel, Johoahaz who has led the people astray, in the midst of his sin, calls out for mercy to the Lord God Almighty. Scripture tells us that he pleaded with the Lord….and the Lord listened! The Lord acted upon Jehoahaz’s pleadings, provided a deliverer for His people and frees them from the Syrian oppression. Sadly, you would think that would be enough to turn Jehoahaz around but it is not. Jehoahaz continues to do evil and is killed in battle.
So here’s the blessed lesson for you and I today, dear sisters and brothers; God’s Mercy. You see I confess that I have sinned. Out of both fear of this world, as well as desires tied to this world, I have done those things which I ought not to have done and not done those things which I ought to have done had I been living a righteous, God fearing life. There have been times when I felt that either the disappointment or anger of another person or perceived personal threat has fearfully driven me to actions against what God would have me do. I have had times where earthly pride and desire have had me think, contemplate and carry out things which are decidedly against what God’s will for me has been. In those times there are consequences for those actions.
But here’s the bottom line; God has never forsaken me. God has never turned his back on me nor withheld His love from me. He has kept me and when I have repented and confessed my sins, He has lifted me up with such incredible blessings and mercy, showing me His everlasting Love for me. You see, dear sisters and brothers, we serve a Creator, Our Creator, of Love and Mercy; ever present to hear us when we call; not to condemn us, but to forgive us, not just once but over and over again.
What should our response be? First let us strive to not be like Jehoahaz whereas upon witnessing Our Heavenly Father’s Mercy first hand, we act as if nothing has happened and continue in our evil, sinful ways. Let us bow down in humility and thanksgiving, giving shouts of praise for the Love and Mercy of Our Heavenly Father. Let us search ourselves looking at our own hearts to see the ways that we are not living into the Will of Our Heavenly Father. Upon seeing those things, let us repent attempting to go forth in the power of Holy Spirit in ever more righteous living.
Yet understand this, we will fail. Scripture tells us that we will sin. God knows that is the case. God knows that our sin should justly lead to our judgement and destruction. And God acted. No, He did not set up tribunal after tribunal and set wide open the gates of hell so that we would all perish due to our evil deeds. No, God, in Love and Mercy, sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for us. That we, who believe in Jesus Christ as the only True Son of God; equal to God Himself, will not die in our sins, ever separated from Our Heavenly Father. But will be forgiven our sins and thus, through His Mercy, live eternally in His Grace and Love. That is the lesson that we can learn from 2 Kings and indeed each and all of the books of His Word. Let it be that we are open to the learning in them.
Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we proclaim that Your Mercy is from everlasting to everlasting and far above and beyond our ability to comprehend. Thank You that You have seen fit not to condemn us; but to send Your Son Jesus Christ to save us. We also freely admit that we are sinners who must call upon Your Mercy to save us. Again we praise You that You hear us when we call and time after time through countless times do not forsake us but deliver us. Help us, through Your Holy Spirit, to live lives of evermore righteousness, love and praise to Your Most Holy Name. We pray this in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen