Elisha is an extremely colorful character. And we are coming towards the end of the career of Elisha, a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. And Elisha commanded one of the young prophets to go to Jezreel and there to take a cruse of oil and call Jehu, who was a captain of the host of Israel, into another room secretly, and there anoint him with the oil to be king over Israel, and then get out of there as fast as you can. So this young man came to Jezreel where Jehu was sitting with a bunch of the officers and all. And he said, "I have a message for you, O Jehu." And Jehu said...or he said, "I have a message for you." And he said, "Which one of us?" And he said, "You." And he said, "Come into the other room." And so he went into the other room and he said, "Thus saith the Lord, He has anointed you to be king over Israel." And of course, to replace the house of Ahab and Jehoahaz who was a descendant of Ahab. And so he poured this cruse of oil over Jehu and then he took off. When Jehu came out with the rest of the officers, they said, "What in the world was that guy all about? Man, he was wild looking. What did he tell you?" And Jehu said, "He anointed me with oil and told me that I was going to be the king over Israel." And so the guys all took their coats out and they made this stairway. They had him stand at the top of the stairs and they put began to blow the trumpets and say, "Long live Jehu king," you know.
And so he said, "Now look, you guys, really serious about this, don’t let anyone go and warn the king what’s happened." And so Jehu and the men headed then for Joram, who was the descendant of Ahab, who was the son of Jehoshaphat. And Joram at the time was recovering from injuries that he had received in a battle against the Syrians, and he was at Ramothgilead. And so in those days they had, of course, walls around the city and they had the guard towers, and guys would sit up there in the guard towers and they could see people coming from a long distance. And so this guard called down and he said, "There’s chariots that are approaching the city. I can see the dust in the distance." So they sent out a messenger.
The king Joram said, "Go out and ask them if they are coming in peace." And so the messenger came to Jehu and he said, "Are you coming in peace?" He said, "What have you to do with peace? Get behind me." So the messenger had to get behind him. So the guy up on the wall said, "The messenger came to him but he’s not returning." He said, "Send out another messenger and ask him if he’s coming in peace." And then the guy said unto him,
the driving is like the driving of Jehu, the son of Nimshi; for he driveth his chariot furiously (9:20).
My wife wanted to get me a license plate with Jehu on it. I don’t think that’s very charitable of her.
But at any rate, the second messenger came to Jehu. And he said, "Are you coming peaceably?" And he said, "What have you to do with peace? Turn behind me." And so Jehoram, Joram came out to meet him in his chariot with Ahaziah who was the king of Judah, who happened to be visiting him at Ramothgilead because he was sick. Ahaziah…and there was an affinity between Ahaziah…and actually there was a family relationship between the kings at this particular time.
And so king Joram came out and said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he said, What peace as long as the whoredoms of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? And Joram turned and fled and he said to Ahaziah who was the other king from Judah visiting him, he said unto him, It’s treachery, O Ahaziah. And Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram in the back. The arrow came out through his heart. He sank down in his chariot and died (9:22-24).
And then they pursued Ahaziah and they injured him and he went to the city of Megiddo, and he died in Megiddo. And some of the men from Judah came to Megiddo, carried him back to Jerusalem, and buried him there in the sepulcher of David or the fathers in the city of David.
Then Jehu came to Jezreel where Jezebel was still, she was still alive. This wicked wife of Ahab who had led the Israelites into Baal. She had introduced the Baal worship to Israel. And so Jezebel, knowing that Jehu was coming, said unto him, "Did Zimri have peace, who slew his master?" She was looking out the window. Actually she painted her face and tired her hair and fixed up, and she taunted him sort of, "Did Zimri have peace, who killed his master?" They lifted up his face to the window. He called up there and he said, "Are anybody up there for me?" And there were three eunuchs that stuck out their heads. They said, "We’re for you." He said, "Then throw that woman out." And so they threw Jezebel out and she came crashing down. Her blood spilled on the wall and upon the horse and he trampled her under the feet of his horse. And then he went on into the house and sat down and ate and drank. And he said, "A couple of you guys go out and bury her."
And they went to bury her: but they found nothing but her skull, and the palms of her hands and the bottom of her feet (9:35).
For the dogs had already eaten Jezebel there in the street. Now this is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah against Jezebel declaring that the dogs would eat her in the streets of Jezreel. And so the end of the career of this extremely wicked woman.
It is interesting that women, it seem, have a capacity of deeper depths of depravity than do men. And I think the reason being is that a woman has a much finer tune emotional capacity. I believe that a woman is capable of higher heights than a man. I believe that she’s capable of greater experiences of joy and excitement. But her emotions move on a broader spectrum than as a man. A man is more coarse in his emotions. His emotions move in sort of a rather narrow spectrum, a coarse spectrum. He’s not as capable as of the great highs that a woman can have. And yet, a woman who turns to the opposite end and goes to the lows is able to go to the lowest. And it seems that the woman’s temperament, being finer, has greater highs, greater lows. The man is more in a middle of the spectrum, moving in a coarser. His emotions are of a coarser make-up than a woman, not nearly as fine as is a woman.
And Jezebel is a classic example of a woman who has gone to the lowest. And of course, I think if you study history, a woman who has gone bad is capable of some of the cruelest things. Things that you would never dream of as you look through history. When they turn to the lower end of the spectrum. Jezebel is interesting in that in the book of Revelation, the church of Thyatira, which introduced idolatry into their worship, the whole introduction of idolatry into worship within the church (that is, setting up idols within the church) this church system that brought in idols as a part of the worship, the woman Jezebel, the name is related to this church system. So the Lord said to the church of Thyatira that “thou hast this woman Jezebel who caused my servants to commit fornication and idolatry. And I’m going to cast her into a bed, and into the great tribulation, unless she repents from her deed” (Revelation 2:20-22). And those that commit fornication with her, being cast into the great tribulation.
Now, there are those who declare that the church is going to go through the great tribulation. Yes, a part of it is. The church that relates to that Jezebel system. So you know when people tell you the church is going through the great tribulation what part of the church they relate themselves to. I don’t wish to relate to that part of the church. I would rather relate to the Philadelphian church who has “kept the word of His patience, and therefore will be kept from that hour of temptation that is coming to try men who dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
But the warning of the Lord, because “thou hast that woman Jezebel who causes my servants to commit fornication and eat things that are sacrificed unto idols. Therefore, I’m going to cast thee into the great tribulation or cast her into great tribulation. And those who commit fornication with her unless they repent of their deeds.”
So, this wicked woman of the Old Testament who introduced idol worship, the worship of Baal to God’s people Israel. The Lord makes the likeness of the introducing of idols in the worship of the church. I cannot understand how a person who reads the Word of God and really believes the Bible could establish idols within the church, even if they be idols of Jesus or the saints or whatever. Inasmuch as it is definitely prohibited under the law, and Jesus Himself declares His own feelings against it in His message to the church in Pergamos and Thyatira.
There has been in some areas of Mexico what I consider to be a genuine, true spiritual revival in the Catholic church. And I believe one of the evidences of the truth of the revival is that in this one area where this one bishop has really been born again and filled with the Spirit, he has had them removed all of the idols in all of the churches that are under his jurisdiction. And that thrills me, because I cannot, though I seek to be very accepting and broadminded, I cannot see the place of idols in a place of worship of God. Inasmuch as it has been so strictly forbidden, both Old and New Testament.
Jezebel, very wicked woman, her death, and being eaten by the dogs prophesied by Elijah the prophet and fulfilled at the hand of Jehu.
Now Ahab who was the husband of this wicked woman Jezebel, who himself was extremely wicked, had seventy sons. Evidently Jezebel wasn’t his only wife. Now these sons had grown up in Samaria and in Jezreel. And they had been brought up by the tutors, and they were more or less leaders in these communities. And in his letter he said, "Now you have with you the sons of Jehu. So you anoint whichever one that you want, gather together your men of war, and anoint whichever one you want to be the ruler over you and come out and meet us in conflict." Well, the men in the cities said, "Hey, this Jehu is tough. He’s already destroyed two kings, who are we to stand against him?" And so they sent letters back to Jehu and said, "Look, we’re willing to submit to you and acknowledge you as the king over Israel." Then he said, "If you’re sincere in this, then tomorrow send me the heads of the sons of Ahab."
So the next day, they delivered him a pile of seventy heads of the sons of Ahab. And thus again the word of the Lord was fulfilled in that God said He was going to cut off all of the descendants of Ahab. He was going to cut off that family line. And so God fulfilled that word.
Then Jehu met forty-two men who had come from Judah who evidently had not heard that Ahaziah their king was killed. And he said, "Who are you guys?" And they said, "We’re all brothers of Ahaziah." And so he ordered that they all also be slain.
Then chapter ten, verse nineteen. Jehu said, "Alright, folks, call unto me all the prophets of Baal. For Ahab served Baal a little but Jehu will serve him much." Now he was doing this subtlely, it says, because he was intending to eliminate Baal worship. So he gathered together all of the priests and all of the people that worship Baal. He said, "We’re going to have a great celebration offering our offerings unto Baal, and I want to lead you all in Baal worship." And so they gathered all of the people from Israel who had worshipped Baal into the temple of Baal. And he says, "Now are you sure there are no servants of the Lord here? Nope. All servants of Baal? Then put on your vestments." So they put on their vestments, their aprons and all, in their worship of Baal. And then he ordered eighty men. He said, "Alright, now go in and wipe them all out. And if you let any of them escape it will be your life for his." And so they went in and utterly wiped out all of the worshippers of Baal. And so Baal worship was eliminated out of the kingdom of Israel. Totally obliterated.
However, Jehu did not destroy the two golden calves that Jeroboam had set up in Dan and in Bethel, and continued in the worship of the golden calves, and thus did not serve the Lord completely or fully. He did eliminate the Baal worship, but not the worship of those golden calves.
Now the LORD said to Jehu, Because you have been so good in executing my judgment against the house of Ahab, your children will serve on those thrones to the fourth generation. But [unfortunately] Jehu did not take heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all of his heart (10:30-31):
So at this point, the kingdom of Israel began to diminish in its strength. Hazael began smiting the borders of Israel. On the east side of the Jordan River, the area that belong to the tribe of Gad, and Manasseh and the Reubenites, and they began to fall to Syria.
Now, I think that there is an important lesson here. When, going back now, the book of Joshua, when the children of Israel were ready to come into the Promised Land, they have been staying for a while on the east side of Jordan, the Jordan River, up in the area they had settled. Many of them in the upper area of the Golan on the east side of the Jordan River, the area of Moab, Gilead. And they came to Joshua and they said, "Hey, we really don’t care to go over and live in that land that God promised. We’re quite content to stay right here. We’re cattle men and this is good grazing country, good cattle country and we’re just very content to stay here."
Of course, Joshua got extremely upset. Or Moses. They first came to Moses. And Moses was extremely upset. He said, "Oh, you, I can’t believe it! Don’t you remember what happened to us at Kadesh Barnea when the people failed to go into the land? How that we’ve been wandering for forty years because of it?" And they said, "No, no, you misunderstand us. We’ll send our men in to fight and to take the land, but then after the land is taken, we just as soon stay back here on this side of Jordan." So they made a covenant that the men of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh would send the men across with Joshua to conquer the land, and once the land had been conquered, then they could return to the cities that they had built on the other side of the Jordan River, and they would not dwell then in the land that had been promised from the Jordan westward.
Now, when you go into the spiritual typology of the thing, again Egypt represents the bondage of sin. Pharaoh representing Satan actually and the bondage in sin. The Red Sea is representative of baptism, coming into a new relationship with God, a new life. And journeying towards the land of promise, and coming to the land of promise, there remained the last barrier, the Jordan River. Now in typology, the Jordan River is a type of, not physical death, and this is where a lot of people make a mistake especially in the Hymnology, Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. I looked over Jordan, what did I see? Band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. I won’t have to cross Jordan alone. Jesus died for my sins to atone. And Jordan in hymns has been likened unto our physical death. Roll, Jordan, roll. Roll, Jordan, roll. I want to go to heaven when I die. Roll, take your old Jordan roll. But that breaks down, because after they cross Jordan, they still had a lot of battles to fight. There’ll be no battles to fight in heaven. After they crossed Jordan, they even experienced defeat. There’ll be no defeat in heaven.
But Jordan in the spiritual analogy represents my reckoning of my old life and old nature to be dead. It’s that place of faith where I reckon my old life to be dead, and I enter into that life of the Spirit, the promised life of victory in Christ Jesus. So that there are many Christians who have come out of the world, but who have never entered into the full life of the Spirit possessing your full possessions that are ours in Christ Jesus. And their whole Christian walk is sort of a wilderness kind of an experience. And there are those who are content to stay on the other side of Jordan. They say, "Well, I’m happy. I’m satisfied you know with my Christian life. And I really don’t see the reason why I need to commit everything or why I need to deny myself these worldly things and all. I’m very content and happy living on this side of Jordan. Living after the flesh. I really don’t know that I need to walk after the Spirit or even desire to walk after the Spirit." And they really have no strong spiritual desires for the fullness of God within their lives. They’re content in their nominal Christian state.
They are like the tribe of Reuben and Gad and Manasseh who said, "We’re content to stay over here. We don’t really care about going in." Now unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians in this position. Really are not pressing into the fullness that God has for them in the life and in the walk of the Spirit. But this is the danger. Because Reuben and Gad and Manasseh were the first to fall to the enemy. They’re on the other side of Jordan, and they didn’t have the defenses of the land that God had promised. And so often we see those who fail to enter into the fullness. Those who fail to come to the reckoning of the old man to be dead, crucified with Christ, and enter into the walk and the life of the Spirit are often those that fall into the captivity of the enemy. And so the spiritual analogy is very important here.
So these three tribes were the first to fall to Hazael, the king of Syria.
Now the rest of the acts of Jehu are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel (10:34).
Which books we do not have in our Bible. We do have the book, First and Second Chronicles, but those are the first and second chronicles of the kings of Judah. So as we move from Second Kings into First Chronicles, we will be more or less getting a repetition of this period of history. Only we will be getting it from only Judah’s slant. They will tell you of the kings of Israel, but they won’t give you much detail. They’ll be giving you more information on the kings of Judah because it is the chronicles or the official records of the kings of Judah that we have, First and Second Chronicles. There were also the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel. These books are referred to many times, but we don’t have those books in our Bible. So another reference to the books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel, which we do not have.
So Jehu slept with his fathers: they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead. And Jehu had reigned for twenty-eight years over Israel (10:35-36).
Now going back twenty-eight years. We go back now to when Jehu first became king, he killed Ahaziah, the king of Judah. And Ahaziah was the son of Athaliah, who was the daughter or a relationship to Jezebel. And there was an intermarriage there tying the kingdoms together.
Now Athaliah [the wicked queen,] when she heard that her son Ahaziah was killed, immediately she went out and killed all of the rest of the children of her son (11:1).
Or all of her grandchildren in order that she might reign as queen. In order that there be no heirs to the throne so that she could reign as queen. Now one of the children of Ahaziah, a baby, Jehosheba was hid away. This nurse took him and ran into the temple, and there they hid him and they raised him secretly for six years so that he was preserved. Athaliah wasn’t able to kill him, and he was preserved and brought up actually in the temple and raised there in the temple in disguise for six years.
Now when he was seven years old, the priest who had more or less raised him, Jehoiada, sent out through all of Judah for all of the captains and all to come. And when he gathered them all together, he swore them to secrecy. And being a priest of God, made them swear by the Lord that they wouldn’t reveal anything. And having sworn them all to secrecy, then he brought forth Jehosheba and he said, "Here is the descendant of David." You see, Athaliah wasn’t the descendant of David. Here is the descendant of David to reign upon the throne. And now he says, "We’re going to divide into three companies. And I want a part of you guys to surround the king. And I want a part of you to surround the temple. And surround the city, and we’re going to proclaim him king."
And so they gathered together for the celebration, and they took this seven-year-old boy who was a descendant of David and they gathered all together.
They were all standing there and they brought him forth, and they put the crown on his head; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they all began to clap their hands, and say, God save the king. Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the guards and the people, she came into the temple of the LORD [to see what was going on]. And when she saw the king standing by the pillar, as was the manner of the king, and all of the princes and the trumpeters around him, and the people of the land rejoicing: then Athaliah tore her clothes, and she cried, Treason, Treason. And Jehoiada the priest said, [Get her out of here. Don’t kill her in the temple but take her out and kill her.] So they laid hands on her; and they took her out: and killed her. And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD'S people (11:12-17).
So there came now a time of sort of spiritual revival as we have now a king who was raised in the temple under the strong influence of the priest. And now in conjunction with Jehoaida, the proclamation that the people are going to really turn back again and worship the Lord, Yahweh.
And all the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and they broke it down; his altars, the images they broke in pieces thoroughly, they slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And they took the rulers, and the captains, and the people of the land; and they brought down to the king from the house of the LORD. And the king was placed upon the throne. And all of the people rejoiced, the city was quiet. And he was seven years old when he began to reign as king (11:18-21).
Now in the seventh year in which Jehu was the king in Israel is when this king began to reign (12:1);
Because you remember, he was just one year old when his dad was killed by Jehu. He was hid for six years and so in the seventh year in which Jehu was reigning, this young man began to reign.
Now Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him (12:2).
And so, he was more or less a puppet leader. Jehoiada the priest was the influence behind the throne. However, there were high places of worship where the people burnt incense and offered sacrifices which was following after the pagan customs, and these they did not destroy. And of course, that remained the blotch on the kingdom.
Now Jehoash, this young king, as he grew older he ordered that they take all of the money that was brought into the temple and they use it to repair the temple, for the temple had come into a state of disrepair because the people were worshipping on the high places and they were worshipping Baal and all. And so the temple of God had come into a state of disrepair, and the king Jehoash ordered that they take the money and they repair all of these places in the temple. But after a period of time, the priest had done nothing in the repair of the temple. So Jehoash came and said, "What’s happened? How come you haven’t made the repairs?" And the priest were pocketing all of the money. So Jehoiada put this agape box in there. He got a box and put a hole in the top of it so that the people could drop the money in the box so that the priest couldn’t get it. And they then took the money that the people would drop in the box and they began to repair the temple. And they gave it to the builders and the masons and so forth to begin to restore the temple building.
Now at this time, Hazael, who had taken and had captured the area where the Reubenites and the Gadites and the tribe of Manasseh were living, he now had moved his troops down into the area between Jerusalem and the coast, the city of Gath, which was a Philistine city. And he had taken the city of Gath and was now moving his Syrian army to besiege Jerusalem.
And Jehoash took all of the gold and the silver and all and he bought off Hazael. He gave him all of his money and said, "Hey look, we surrender and here’s all of the money." So he paid him off and Hazael returned to the to Syria, but the temple was robbed of all of its treasures, the gold and silver vessels and all. They were taken by Hazael.
We come in verse nineteen to the death of Joash. He was killed by his servants who conspired against him, and his son Amaziah began to reign in his stead.
Now we’re going to move north again to the reign of Jehoahaz over Israel in chapter thirteen. So up in Israel, Jehu has died and his son Jehoahaz begins to reign over Israel there in Samaria, and he reigned for seventeen years.
And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD (13:2),
Now, I told you before that Israel did not have one decent king. Of every king of Israel, it is declared, "He did evil in the sight of the Lord." Not one of them followed after the Lord. How tragic.
continued in the sins of Jeroboam [the first king who had led the people away from Jehovah to the worship of the calves.] And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, he delivered them into the hand of Hazael the king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad who was the son of Hazael. And Jehoahaz sought the LORD, and the LORD hearkened unto him: for he saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria was oppressing them. (And the LORD raised up a saviour for Israel, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians: and the children of Israel began to dwell in their own cities, their own tents, as beforetime. Nevertheless they did not depart from their sins, but they walked in them: and there remained the grove, [the place of pagan worship] in the city of Samaria.) (13:2-6).
And so the people were really cut down. And the death of Jehoahaz is recorded in verse eight.
The rest of his deeds are in the books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel (13:8).
Now we’re going to come back. We have his death recorded, but we’re going to come back to Jehoahaz in chapter fourteen. So try and hold that in your mind. We get his death here, but as we get back to Amaziah because Amaziah related to Jehoahaz, we’ll come back to Jehoahaz.
And the rest of the acts of Joash [who is also Jehoahaz], and all that he did, the fighting against Amaziah king of Judah, are written in the books of the chronicles of the king of Israel (13:12).
We don’t have that in the Chronicles, but we will have more of that in the next chapter.
Now we turn to Elisha and the death of Elisha.
Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father! the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof (13:14).
So this is what is called parenthetical. We’re still…Joash is still king. We already reported his death, but now we’re recording about Elisha. And he is…he came down when Elisha was sick. Now this to me is interesting. As far as the Old Testament is concerned, two men stand out as having great faith for miracles. One is Elijah and the other is Elisha. As Elisha was or…as Elijah was ready to be caught up into heaven, he said to Elisha, "What do you want?" He said, "I like a double portion of the Spirit that is upon me." He said, "If you see me when I go, it will be granted. If you don’t, then it won’t be granted." So Elisha was there, and he saw Elijah caught up into heaven. And his life was a life of miracles. Marvelous miracles of God were wrought by this man Elisha. A man of great faith. But this particular verse of Scripture, “Now Elisha fell sick of this sickness whereof he died.”
Let me tell you something; people of great faith get sick. People of tremendous faith die. And it is folly to believe that sickness or death results from a lack of faith or commitment to God. Sickness and death happen to everybody. But there are always those who are trying to sell snake oil. From the days of the early prairie. The cure-all. From bunions to earaches. And there always seems to be someone offering the spiritual snake oil or the panacea or the cure-all to all of the problems that a Christian faces. And these panaceas are offered to people and they go through various stages. When they are offered, you know, the book is written and all you have to do is praise the Lord. And if you just praise the Lord for anything and everything, then that’s going to be a cure-all, once you learn to really praise the Lord. It’s all going to work out smoothly, you know. All of these people and all these horrible problems, until they begin to praise the Lord for the problem, and once they start praising the Lord, the problem went away.
Let me tell you something. There are some problems you can praise the Lord for from now to eternity, and they’re not going to go away. And I think it’s absolute idiocy to praise the Lord for some of the things that happen. My uncle died as an alcoholic, oh, praise the Lord! No, that’s tragic that he should die an alcoholic. But people are offering these cure-alls. Enough faith, you never need to be sick. Enough faith, you’ll always be prosperous. And the spiritual cure-alls that are offered. And they go for a while, but soon there are people who try it and it doesn’t work and then all of a sudden as they share their failure, they find that other people have experienced the same failures. They’ve been praising the Lord for a long time, nothing’s happening to their situation and they’ve been believing; nothing’s happened. Who really can understand the ways of God?
I will frankly confess I don’t understand the ways of God. Now don’t let that surprise you. If I stood up here and told you I understood the ways of God, then I would be a first-class liar. Any man tells you, "Well, I understand the ways of God," he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And he is contradicting God because God said, “My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9). For “my ways are beyond your finding out” (Romans 11:33).
And I frankly confess I do not know the mysteries of God. I do not know why God allows certain beautiful Christians to be sick. I do not know why God allows many beautiful Christians to suffer. I do not know why many beautiful Christians are in prison in Siberia and in China and been tortured for their faith. I do not know why James was beheaded and Peter was crucified upside down. And Paul was beheaded and the early disciples all suffered martyrdom, because they believed God just as much as any of these pseudo prophets today. And if God wanted us to all be wealthy and prosperous and all, then He would have declared it plainly in the Scripture, and there would be a consistency to it within the Christian body.
It’s a tragedy the way that these doctrines have proliferated through the country. People so anxious to believe. Let me tell you something, these doctrines haven’t really had an effect upon the Siberian Christians yet. If you went up there and said, "Hey, you know, God wants you all to be prosperous and wealthy. You all ought to be driving Cadillacs up here." And yet, because of the hardships, they have been forced to a much deeper commitment than we even dream about. Their commitment to Christ caused them the slavery that they experience in Siberia. And there are thousands of Christians enslaved in Siberia today because they dare to proclaim their faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.
I wonder just how strong the commitment would be if God began to take away some of the Cadillacs. Well, He has actually. That’s the problem with this thing; it’s beginning to die out, thank God. Because too many people who went out on the basis on this and began to charge their Cadillacs and their caviar and all, and when the bills came due, they didn’t have enough faith to pay them.
"Elisha was fallen sick of the sickness whereof he died." It doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean that God is opposed to you. It doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong and God is punishing you because you are sick. It isn’t a sign of second-class spiritual development or growth. The best of God’s children get sick. And it is tragic to lay that kind of a thing on, "Well, there’s something wrong in your life or you know, if you only had enough faith." Or you know, "Just confess your sin, whatever you’ve been doing, and God will heal you." We’ll be getting to the book of Job soon and we’ll learn about this kind of doctrine.
So he came to Elisha who was there really sort of on his deathbed.
And Elisha said to the king Joash, Take your bow and your arrows. And he said, Put your hand in your bow and draw back. And Elisha put his hands upon the king's hand. He said, Now open the window towards the east. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD'S deliverance, the deliverance from Syria: for you will smite the Syrians in Aphek, until you have consumed them. He said, Now take your arrows. And he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, Now smite the arrows on the ground. And the king smote the arrows on the ground three times. And Elisha became upset, he said, Why did you just strike three times; why didn’t you smite five or six times; because then you would have utterly consumed the Syrians: but now you will only defeat them three times. So Elisha died, and they buried him. And at this time the Moabites began to send their bands into the land, [sort of marauding bands]. [And there were there was a man who had died and as they were getting ready to bury him, they saw this band of Moabites coming in; and so they just dropped the guy into the grave and began to ran], and they dropped him into the grave where Elisha was buried: and when this [guy’s] body hit the bones of Elisha, he came to life, and stood up (13:15-21).
That to me is interesting and exciting. Such power in Elisha that even the bones there in the grave, this guy’s body hitting them, the guy comes back to life.
Hazael the king of Syria was harassing Israel during the whole time of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious, had compassion on them, and respect, because of his covenant with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and he would not destroy them, neither cast him out of his presence as yet. So Hazael the king of Syria died; Benhadad his son reigned in his stead. And Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz took again out of the hand of Benhadad the cities, which had been taken from Jehoahaz his father by war. And three times Joash beat him, and recovered the cities of Israel (13:22-25).
Now we’re coming again to Amaziah who became the king in Israel at the death of his father, who was assassinated at the end of chapter twelve.
Now in the second year that Joash the son of Jehoahaz was the king of Israel Amaziah whose father’s name was also Joash the king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, he reigned for twenty-nine years. And his mother's name was Jehoaddan. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not as much as David his father: he did according to all of the things as Joash his father did (14:1-3).
Now notice “not as much as David his father.” David wasn’t his father directly but was a great great great great great great great great grandfather. But in the Bible they don’t always signify the great great great greats. I only point this out here because there are certain people who fancy that the Bible has errors in it. And when you get to the book of Daniel, a book that the critics especially like to attack because it’s such a totally damaging book for those that don’t believe that God was able to speak to men, for the prophecies of Daniel are so accurate and so intricate that the only way the Bible critics could do anything to destroy Daniel was to say that Daniel didn’t write it. It was written by some fellow some three hundred, two hundred, three hundred years later, who put Daniel’s name to it. A very devout young man who wrote this fanciful story after the history happened, and he was really just recording history, but then he put Daniel’s name on it to look like Daniel have written it. But it was actually, they say, written after the fact.
Well, the fellow was very clever, because he deceived Jesus in the thing. Because Jesus refers to the prophecy of Daniel. “And when you see the desolation, the abomination of desolation that was spoken by Daniel the prophet” (Matthew 24:15). So these Bible critics are actually putting themselves up as smarter than Jesus. But I’m not surprised. That’s why I have said I have very little respect for these supposed theological seminaries and brilliant men who have done their best to take away from the work of God in the Scriptures.
But in one of the things that they find fault with in Daniel is that it talks about Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar. When in reality Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. And so the Bible critics say, "You see, it calls Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar and he wasn’t really." Neopolezzar was the son, and of course, now he was the grandson. And so the fact it refers to him as the son of Nebuchadnezzar, they try to use that.
But here the Bible refers to him as the son of David. And because it, the Bible doesn’t have the term, the Hebrew didn’t have the term grandson or great grandson, it was just the son and as far as my descendants go down the line, they refer back to me as the father. So the Bible is true and these brilliant men are liars.
The Bible says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). So I’m only quoting the Scripture. Worldly wisdom is so worthless when it comes to the Word of God. I would rather listen to a Spirit-filled man who didn’t know Greek from hen scratches expound the truth of God’s Word than I would some Ph.D. who knew all the original languages, but wasn’t born again. For I would learn much more true spiritual truth from the uneducated man than I would the professor. “For the natural mind cannot understand the things of the Spirit; neither can it know them, for they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual understands all things, though he is not understood” (I Corinthians 2:14,15). So I care not for the doctorates of man. Honored or earned, they mean nothing to me. I care for the work of the Spirit and the understanding of the Spirit in opening up the Scriptures to our hearts and to our minds.
So in the second year of Joash son of Jehoahaz, Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah began to reign. He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign. But he did not come up to the spiritual, though he did good, not as good as his father David.
However he still did not remove the high places of worship: and the people still sacrificed and burned incense on those high places. Now it came to pass, as soon as he had confirmed the kingdom (14:4-5),
His father, you remember, was assassinated by his servants. He then, in turn, executed the servants who had assassinated his father. And then he went down against the Edomites, and there by the Dead Sea in the valley of salt, he killed ten thousand of the Edomites and he took the rock city of Petra. Now he is feeling pretty strong, pretty powerful.
So Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash, the son of Jehoahaz who was the son of Jehu, who was the king over Israel, and he said, Come, let’s face off with each other. And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah and he said, [Look,] the thistle that was in Lebanon said to the cedar, Give to me your daughter for my son as his wife: and there passed by a wild beast and trampled down the thistle. Now you have indeed smitten the Edomites, why don’t you just sit at home and be happy and glory in the victory you have, for why should you meddle to your own hurt? However, Amaziah would not hear of it. Therefore Jehoash the king of Israel came against him, they met in battle at Bethshemesh, which belongs to Judah (14:8-11).
So this is not the Bethshemesh up near mount Gilboa.
And Judah was put to the worse before Israel; and they fled every man to their tents. And Jehoash the king of Israel took Amaziah the king of Judah, at Bethshemesh, and they came to Jerusalem, and he broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim to the corner gate, four hundred cubits (14:12-13).
Or about six hundred feet of the wall.
He took all of the gold and the silver, and all of the vessels that were found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king's house, and the hostages, and he returned to Samaria. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoash which he did, [again we are told they are written in the chronicles of the kings of Israel] (14:14-15).
This meddling to your own hurt, it’s something that people quite often do. There are things that you have no business meddling with. You can only get hurt if you do. There are places that as a Christian you have no business meddling around. And if you do, you’re only going to get hurt. It is a very reasonable question, "Why should you meddle to your own hurt?" Don’t meddle around with anything that can bring you into a snare, into a trap.
I wrote a paper in a philosophy class one time on the Christian ethic for our philosophy teacher. We were studying Orange Coast College in a philosophy class, and they wanted us to do a paper on the ethics. And so, I chose to do one on Christian ethics. And I took the same as of Paul the apostle in Corinthians, seeking to show that the Christian ethic is the broadest ethic of any philosophy. Broader than any philosophical ethic. For Paul in his Corinthian epistle said, “All things are lawful for me.” Now you can’t get a broader ethic than that. I can do anything. And I pointed out how that so many people look to Christianity as a very binding, restricting kind of a thing, but in reality, the true Christian ethic is so broad. “All things are lawful for me but,” Paul said, “all things are not expedient” (I Corinthians 6:12). Now the idea of expediency, you see, as a Christian “I’m pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God” (Philippians 3:14). I’m in a race. I’m in a race to win. I’m pressing towards my goal. Now there are things that can impede my progress towards my goal. But I’m so interested in achieving my goal; I’m not going to get involved with things that could impede my progress. So it may be lawful for me. It wouldn’t send me to hell. It wouldn’t destroy me for doing it, but it would hinder me in my progress towards my goal. So though I could do it, I don’t do it, because I don’t want to be impeded in my pressing towards the mark. He repeated, “All things are lawful for me, but not everything builds up” (I Corinthians 10:23). Now as a child of God, I want actually to have Christ built up in me. And there are things that tear down the image of Christ. Now though they are lawful, though I could lawfully do it, they wouldn’t send me to hell; yet they would take me away from Him. It would be tearing down. And thus, I don’t do them because I don’t want anything to tear me down. I’m only desiring to be built up in Christ Jesus.
And then he finally concludes, “All things are lawful for me,” same broad Christian ethic, but he said, “I will not be brought under the power of any” (I Corinthians 6:12). Now you see, as a Christian I know what real freedom is. Very few people really know true freedom. But as a Christian I know true freedom. Those in the world, they talk about free love and free so on and so forth, they don’t really know what freedom is. They are so bound by their own lusts and all and by the things that they’re in. They are so bound they don’t know what freedom is. They’ve been brought under the power of the things they’re doing. Having really tasted of freedom, knowing what freedom is, I love freedom so much that I’m not going to sacrifice freedom by meddling around with something that could bring me under its power.
So if by doing it I could be brought under its influence, I could be brought under its power, I’m not going to do it because I love my freedom too much. If I were brought under its power, then I don’t have this glorious free ethic that says, “All things are lawful for me.” You know, it is really a blessing to see things and say, "Well, I could be doing that. I don’t want to. Or I don’t need to. I don’t have to have that. I don’t have to do that." Sure I could do it, but I don’t have to. I don’t need to. I’m very complete and satisfied and happy with my present relationship with Jesus Christ, and I’m not reaching out and grabbing for higher standards or higher things. Just very content in Christ Jesus. And it’s neat to have that kind of freedom to have the capacity, but not be pushed by some ambition or desire or, you know, drive within, I’ve-got-to-have-it kind of a thing.
Oh, what freedom that is. Waffling, sure. Send me to hell, no. But it might impede my progress towards heaven. I don’t want that. It might bring me under its power; I don’t want that. I’m too free and I love my freedom. Incidentally, I got an A on the paper. Blew the teacher’s mind. She didn’t even know anything about Christian philosophy at all and just absolutely blew her mind. She made notations all over that paper. She was really surprised and awed by it. In fact, she, I had quite a talk with her.
Meddling to your own hurt. Now the result of the meddling, the king came and tore down the wall, the defenses were destroyed.
The result of our meddling, of course, is once you do it, your defenses are destroyed. It’s so much easier to do it the second time. And even easier the third, and the fourth, the fifth, until it’s just a course and a manner of life. First time it was so hard. You resist it a lot, but you meddle, you got burned. Not only that, the treasures were taken away. And you lose something valuable whenever you meddle to your own hurt. Even as the treasures of purity, innocence, health, clear mind are so often lost because people have meddled to their own hurt.
The death of Amaziah’s recorded in verse seventeen. We’ll read about him again when we get to the Chronicles of the kings of Israel. And Azariah became the king in his place. He was only sixteen years old when he took over from his father. Actually Amaziah was assassinated even as was his own father. And his son, sixteen years old, became king, and he didn’t do much but build Elath and he died.
Now in the fifteenth year of Amaziah (14:23)
So we’ve already had his son succeed him, but now we go back and pick up one more part of the story.
Jeroboam the son of Joash began to reign in Samaria (14:23),
Now this is the time when Amos and Hosea were both prophesying, so you should, as you develop in your biblical studies, you should start to fit the prophet back into here now, because you’ll understand their prophecy so much better when you realize the period of history. This is now getting to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel. We’re coming down into the last century for that kingdom in the spiritual decline, and God is now beginning to raise up more prophets. And if you’ll read the prophecies of Amos and Hosea, you’ll understand them much better when you can in your mind fit them into this period of spiritual declension in the northern kingdom of Israel. And also mention of Jonah, the prophet here in verse twenty-five. So these three men were sent of God to the northern kingdom at this particular time to prophesy unto them.
Now this Jeroboam is Jeroboam the second, Jeroboam was the very first king over Israel, and now another king named after him.
and he reigned for forty-one years. But he did evil in the sight of the LORD. And the LORD saw the afflictions of Israel, it was very bitter: no one to help them (14:23-26).
They were isolated.
And the LORD said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. The rest of the acts of Jeroboam are in the book of chronicles of the kings of Israel (14:27-28).
Which we do not have.
Now the reign of Azariah, who is also known as Uzziah. Now when you think of Uzziah, and we’re back now Azariah was the son of Amaziah and he didn’t do much. But his son Azariah began to reign. The other name was Uzziah, and we think now of the prophet Isaiah. And so the prophecies of Isaiah. Isaiah was the prophet who actually began his real career and the prophecies at the death of Uzziah. Uzziah reigned for fifty-two years, and you remember there in the sixth chapter of Isaiah, “In the year the king Uzziah died I saw the Lord, high and lifted up, sitting upon the throne, his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). So we’re beginning, when we get to Uzziah, we’ll come in to the time at the end of Uzziah’s career, we’re coming into the time of Isaiah.
He was sixteen years old when he began to reign, he reigned for fifty-two years (15:2).
One of the longest reigns.
He did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah had done; except that he left the high places where the people were sacrificing. And the LORD smote the king with leprosy (15:3-5).
We will get the full story of this when we get to Chronicles.
until the day of his death. [And so his son was sort of a go-between.] Jotham his son was over the house, judging the people [but Uzziah was the king though leprous] (15:5).
Very popular king. A very good king. In fact, during his reign as we get into the Chronicles, it will tell us that the name Uzziah was on the lips of all the people. They were all, he was a powerful, strong leader, good king and the people really came to trust in him and all because he had brought the kingdom into a place of prosperity.
Now the rest of the acts of Azariah (15:6),
We’re going to get when we get to Second Chronicles.
So Azariah slept with his fathers; they buried him in the city of David: and Jotham his son began to reign in his stead. And in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah the king of Judah Zachariah who was the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel and he reigned for six months (15:7-8).
Very short reign.
He did evil in the sight of the LORD. And Shallum conspired against him, and killed him and reigned in his stead (15:9-10).
Now, he was the fourth generation from Jehu, so the Lord promised four generations to Jehu. And with the death of Jeroboam that ends the line or the dynasty of Jehu. And thus, the word of the Lord was fulfilled when He promised Jehu four generations.
“Shallum conspired and killed him in order that he might have the throne and he reigned for a full month in Samaria.” Ain’t that the way it goes? You know, you spend your whole life to fulfill an ambition. I’m finally there. Alright, I’ve got it made. And then you get wiped out. So many people, you know, they finally, oh, I finally retired. And in a month they’re gone. I was talking with old railroad man down in Mounsville, Virginia, West Virginia. And he worked for the B & L Railroad. He said, "I’ve been working for them for fifty-seven years." I said, "When are you going to retire?" And he got angry at me. I said, "Why? I didn’t mean to offend you, what’s wrong?" He said, "When you retire from the railroad, you die." And he told me all of his friends that have retired and died within the year. So he said, "You ought to just keep going." So he was still going on the railroad. And but here is one of those things of life, you know, it’s interesting how so often when a person just gets to the place of the achieving of all of his dreams and goals, that it’s sort of…
Remember in the New Testament Jesus told about this guy, successful farmer and all. And he said, "Well, what am I going to do? My barns are full. I know what I’m going to do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger and all." And the Lord said, "Thou fool, tonight your soul’s going to be required of you" (Luke 12:16-20). Life hangs on such a tenuous string. We need to be not laying up store for this life, but laying up store for the life to come, which will never end. We put much too much into this life. An emphasis into this life and much too little emphasis and input into the other life, the eternal life that we have.
And so he reigned for a month in Samaria and he was assassinated.
And the rest of his acts of conspiracy are written in the books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel (15:15).
And Menahem smote…he became the king and he smote the cities of Tiphsah, and all of the area around it, Tirzah, and he smote it and he ripped up all the pregnant women.
In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah the king of Judah began Menahem the son of Gadi to reign over Israel, he reigned for ten years. He did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. And during his reign, Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and he bought him off with a thousand talents of silver, which he exacted from all of the wealthy people in the land (15:17-20).
And his death is recorded in verse twenty-one.
And his acts the rest of them are in the chronicles of the kings of Israel. And in the fiftieth year of Azariah the king of Judah, Pekahiah the son of Menahem began to reign over Israel, and he reigned for only two years. And did evil in the sight of the LORD. And Pekah who was the son of the captain, conspired against him, and killed him in Samaria (15:21,23-25).
So Pekahiah was killed by Pekah. And that’s why getting into these kings can sometimes get confusing because of the various names, and sometimes they have two names.
Pekah reigned over Israel beginning in the fifty-second year of the last year of king Uzziah, and he reigned for twenty years. He did evil in the sight of the LORD. [And during his reign,] Tiglathpileser the king of Assyria, took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and all of the Galilee and the area of the tribe of Naphtali (15:27-29).
So all of the area around the sea of Galilee and upper Galilee, and he carried captives to Syria. So the southern, or the northern kingdom is falling now more and more to Assyria.
Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah, smote him, and killed him, and he reigned in his stead, and in the twentieth year of Jotham who was the son of Uzziah, he began to reign (15:30).
And now we go back to Judah, the son of Uzziah, Jotham.
In the second year of Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel Jotham began to reign in Judah. He [reigned he] was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, he reigned for sixteen years. His mother's name was Jerusha. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD: according to all that his father Uzziah had done. Except he did not remove the high places (15:32-35):
And his acts are told in Second Chronicles, and we’ll learn more about him later.
Now in the seventeenth year of Pekah, Remaliah or the son of Remaliah, Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign (16:1).
Ahaz the son of Jotham. So you have now an Ahaz reigning. Used to have an Ahaz in the north tribes, now you have one in the southern tribes.
He was twenty years old he began to reign, he reigned for sixteen years in Jerusalem, [but he was one of the rare bad kings in Judah,] he did not walk after the LORD like David his father. But walked after the ways of the kings of Israel, in fact, he caused his own children to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, that the LORD had cast out of the land before the children of Israel had come in. He sacrificed and burned incense in the high places, on the hills, and under every green tree. Then Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah both attacked him (16:2-5).
And so he sent to the king of Assyria and sent him money unto Tiglathpileser and asked for his help. And Tiglathpileser came down to Syria. He took Damascus, and Ahaz, of course, sort of bought him off. And the king of Assyria began to strike against Syria and against Israel. Of course, they called off their attack then on Ahaz.
And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest saying, "Upon the great altar…" When he was up there in Damascus, the king of Assyria after taking Damascus, he invited him to come up and see Damascus. And when he got up there he saw an altar that attracted him. And so he drew it out, got the dimensions and then he went home and he said to the priest, "Now I want you to build an altar like this." And so they built another altar. They took away the altar out of the temple and replaced it with this altar that was fashioned like unto the pagan altar that he had seen in Damascus.
Also this great brass laver that was set upon these twelve brass oxen out in front of the temple, he took it off and set it on the ground and just sort of desecrated the temple of God and sort of fashioned it after some of the pagan temples that he had seen there in Damascus. And his death is recorded in the last couple of verses here.
Now as we get into chapter seventeen next week, we’ll find the reasons why Israel fell. God lists to us the reasons why Israel went into captivity. For we come to the end of the nation Israel next week. All the reasons are listed. Their failure to follow God and worship God.
Now with knowledge comes responsibility. And the Bible says that “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). And as we get into the reasons for the fall of Israel to their enemies, and as we sort of try to learn from history, the lessons that we are going to learn will be bitter lessons indeed as we look at the United States today and we see how godless a nation we are becoming. Now there are people who have a hard time understanding the ways of God. Habakkuk the prophet said to the Lord one day, "God, please don’t show me anything else because the nation is going downhill so fast. It’s so corrupt. The leaders are so corrupt and God, You’re not doing anything about it." And God said to Habakkuk, "Habakkuk, I am doing something about it, but if I told you what I was doing, you wouldn’t believe Me." Habakkuk said, "Well, try me, Lord." And so the Lord said, "Alright, I’m going to bring Babylon against Judah and they’re going to take Judah captive." "Why, Lord would you do that?" He said, "I told you you wouldn’t believe Me." But he said, "Hey, we’re bad, that’s true, but they’re worse than we are. Why would You use a nation that is worse than we are to punish us?" And He said, "Because they don’t know. They’re not My people. But you are My people. And you have turned from Me. And because you have known Me, knowledge brings responsibility." And the failure to act to the knowledge is the thing that brings the judgment of God.
So that if God should use Russia as an instrument to punish the United States, we’d have the same kind of mental problems that Habakkuk had. "Lord, they’re atheistic nation. Why would You use them to punish the United States?" It wouldn’t be the first time in history that God used a godless nation to punish a once godly nation because the godly nation had turned from their godliness and had turned after idols and turned away from the living God. I would not be surprised to see God judge our nation. I could surely not blame God for doing it. Because of the things that are going on in our nation today. Surely we must lead the world in pornography and in so many filthy things and in godlessness. And we look at how we have sought to rule God out of our national life. And how the courts are seeking to rule God out of our national life. And we cannot and should not complain if God brings His judgment against this nation. As we read the reasons why judgment was brought against Israel, you’ll see that God has every right to judge the United States. And I believe He is going to. And He’s going to judge it severely. But I think the judgment is going to fall after I’m gone.
When God was ready to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, you remember what Abraham said to the Lord. "Lord, shouldn’t God be fair? Would You judge the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous there?" God said, "I will spare it for the fifty righteous." Hey, you should feel very honored tonight, because it is because of you that God is sparing the nation the judgment that is due it. And God did not bring His judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah until He had first removed that righteous man Lot. And then the judgment fell. I believe that God is going to remove His righteous church, but then judgment such as the nation deserves will surely come from God.
We’ll get into this more next week as we look at the fall of Israel, the judgment of God and the reasons for that judgment. May the Lord bless you and keep you. And may He strengthen you through this week. As you have to go out and mix in that world I pray that God will give you divine insulation by His Holy Spirit that will just sort of ward off all of the evil influences that are pointed in your direction that surround you daily when you’re on the job or in your classroom or or just dealing with this corrupt system. I pray that God will just help you to keep your mind and heart fixed upon Him. And that you’ll look above the corruption of this world. And that you’ll be strengthened as we look to Him, our only hope but Who is our strength and our defense.