Zeal Matters — 2 Kings 11-13

Have you been keeping track of the kings in your reading? In today’s scriptures we have a couple of kings named Jehoash, one ruled Judah and the other ruled Israel, reigning contemporaneously. And then we have another Jeroboam, not the son of Nebat (Jeroboam the son of Nebat is the one who changed the worship of Israel). A score card isn’t required, but it can be helpful. 🙂

God always finds a way — It is always helpful to my faith to be reminded again of 1) God’s providence and 2) the amazing continuance of the biblical storyline, despite Satan’s attempts stop it — in this case, an attempt to put an end to David’s line by Athalia, the queen-mother. How demonically power maniacal do you need to be to kill all your grandchildren to gain the throne? But God, through the sister of the dead king (Ahaziah), hid one of Ahaziah’s sons, an infant, Jehoash. When the priest Jehoiada, discovers it, he waits for the right time, organizes a coup against the usurper (Athalia, the queen-mother), and establishes the rule of the rightful king, Jehoash (also known as Joash). God found a way, His scheme of redemption was maintained, through an otherwise unknown aunt, Jehosheba. Have you ever wondered whether or not your life is making any difference in the larger picture? Here’s an example of how doing right made a big difference. Winning a soul for Christ; teaching a child in Bible school, serving food to a needy family, giving some a hug and some encouragement at the right time — sometimes those sorts of things can make a huge difference in the larger picture.

In the movie The Bucket List one of the characters lists on his list of things to do before he dies “Kiss the prettiest girl in the world”. The other main character asks him how he hoped to accomplish that one. “Volume,” was the reply, delivered with a grin. How can you hope to make a real difference through doing small deeds of kindness, being compassionate, or acting rightly? In the end, it all depends on the Lord, of course. But to increase your chances: Volume! 🙂

The importance of having the Testimony — When Jehoiada anointed and crowned the 7 year old Jehoash, he made sure to give “the testimony” (11:12). This was a requirement set down by God Himself: ““Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests.” Deuteronomy 17:18, NAS95. Although it was true that Jehoiada was a prime reason for Jehoash being one of the better kings of Judah (12:2), having access to the testimony (the law) must have been quite important, too.

the Jehoash Inscriptrion

By the way, this is the same Jehoash whose inscription was found in 2003, which reads:

[I am Yeho’ash, son of
A]hazyahu, k[ing over Ju]dah,
and I executed the re[pai]rs.
When men’s hearts became
replete with generosity in
the (densely populated) land and in the (sparsely
populated) steppe, and in all the cities of Judah, to
donate money for the sacred
contributions abundantly,
in order to purchase quarry
stone and juniper wood and
Edomite copper/copper from (the city of) ’Adam,
(and) in order to perform
the work faithfully—
(Then) I renovated the
breach(es) of the Temple
and of the surrounding
walls, and the storied structure,
and the meshwork, and the winding stairs,
and the recesses, and the doors.
May (this inscribed stone) become this day
a witness that the work has succeeded,
(and) may God (thus) ordain his people with a
blessing.

This inscription, of course, corresponds with what we’ve read today in chapter 12.

Zeal matters — As Elisha is on his death bed, Jehoash of Israel comes in apparent fear and distress over Elisha’s impending death. And why not? Jehoash was losing his best intel source and connection to the Lord (see chapter 6). In response, Elisha tells Jehoram to take a bow and shoot it out the window toward the east, which he does. “Then he said, ‘Take the arrows,’ and he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, ‘Strike the ground,’ and he struck it three times and stopped.” 2 Kings 13:18, NAS95. Elisha was displeased, because had Jehoash struck the arrows 5 or 6 times (a little more zeal, please) Israel would have beaten back the Arameans permanently. As it was, they would only defeat them thrice. Had only Jehoash known that a little more zeal would’ve made a big difference, certainly he would have been more vigorous, perhaps beaten the ground 100 times. But he didn’t know. He just gave it a mediocre effort to what may have seemed like kind of a silly thing to be doing. So it is with us.

How we do even small things, things that we may think are unrelated to the big things, can make a big difference in ways we may not realize. Whether we are friendly or not to the store clerk may determine whether or not we’ll ever have the chance to share the Gospel with him or her. Whether we greet the visitor at church, may determine whether or not he comes back and finds salvation. Whether we demonstrate the right attitude toward the Bible or the church or the brethren, may help determine whether our children will be faithful once they’ve left home.

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
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