I’m traveling the unpaved roads of the Old Testament, wandering in the boondocks, whose back alleys are rarely explored. We’d rather gallivant touristy locales like Psalms or Proverbs. But not today. No, I’m roaming the backwoods of 2 Kings 13. Would love to have you join me!
All the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel are plain no good. Schlemiel nincompoops, every one! Some, too few really, of the kings of Judah’s southern kingdom are barely worth their salt. Can count them on the fingers of one hand.
Here in 2 Kings 13 we have two defective Israelite rulers, Jehoahaz and Jehoash. Both have this said of them–‘He did evil in the eyes of the Lord…’ (vs.2,11). Not only sin, which is bad enough; but evil, which is far worse. Takes down whole nations.
The context of Jehoash’s story involves annual ‘spring cleaning’ by nasty, neighboring Moabites. As in swooping down, stealing whatever fits into their grubby paws. Then another pummeling by nearby Arameans, who oppress and blackmail Israel. Times are tough. We think we have it bad. We wouldn’t want to live in God’s land in those days. Not on your life. For that’s what’s at stake. Literally. Your life.
Even still, we discover something that’s out of this world. Also literally. God’s character overflows with comfort to the weak and weary. One verse says it all. I’ve highlighted it with yellow marker in my Bible so that I won’t overlook it. 2 Kings 13:23–‘But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.’ See?
Our Lord is gracious. Not trigger-happy, flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. Oh, sometimes it may seem so. And often we can’t figure out what’s happening to us, or those we love, or this crazy world. But if we’re His, anything coming our way passes through His gracious hands. With His wise permission. For our benefit. To bless or to discipline with His purpose of making us more like Jesus. I need His grace. I have it, says 2 Kings 13! You too! Even as clueless as we can be.
Hold on. There’s more. He’s compassionate. Genuinely cares. Whenever tears run down our cheeks, He wipes them away, so to speak (Rev. 7:17 and 21:4). God’s feelings run deeper than anyone’s anywhere. When you fear you’ve fallen off God’s radar screen, know you haven’t.
No, you haven’t. He won’t allow it. All because He makes promises and keeps them–like His covenant with our spiritual forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All the way back to the beginning, God’s promises are as good as gold. As He is.
This one verse comes in the midst of discouraging leadership in the nation. If politics depresses you, then consider the character of our Lord. And especially His Son Jesus. He will perk you up like no one else ever could or ever will! He gets my vote!
Lord, we thank you for who you are, now and forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.