Summary: Lessons about God’s divine Discipline as His people ’forsake Him the fountain of living waters, ot hew for themselves cisterns broken cisterns that can hold no water".
Northern Kingdom Living: Divine Discipline preached on August 11, 2002
As I have studied these passages from 1st and 2nd Kings I have seen the ever-present danger of idolatry. Idolatry is not something reserved for some tribe in the middle of the Pacific, but is a danger to us as well, we as believers on any day or in any circumstance can forsake God and trust in or give honor to someone or something else for life. The essence of the problem with God’s covenant people Israel and Judah in those days is found in Jer. 2:13: “my people have FROSAKEN Me the FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS, AND HEWED (MADE, CARVED OUT) FOR THEMSELVES CISTERNS BROKEN CISTERNS THAT CAN HOLD NO WATER”. This is what God was up against with His people. He has the same problem today with us who have professed belief in Jesus Christ for our salvation but have made our own “cisterns” (broken cisterns) for the circumstances of our lives. This brings grief to the heart of God. He is good enough and powerful enough to be trusted for my eternity but not for my hurts. I get hurt, I hurt back, and I can trust my own resources to get even or to square the account. Instead of trusting Him I trust my self, my feelings or my fancy for life. This is nothing but an invisible golden calf or an invisible Baal. Anything I am trusting in in place of God is an idol.
Our issue through this whole series has been: What is God’s response? He responded by sending prophets with a visible and powerful message that He was alive and powerful and quite able to handle life for them. They did not need to forsake Him for a broken cistern. He has responded in grace as He answered by fire, and through healing and life today we see another response by God. He will respond with Divine Discipline as He seeks to turn the heart of Israel back to Himself.
I have learned five lessons about Divine Discipline as I saw God’s response to continued rejection of Him as Lord.
1. The first lesson I learned: Discipline was predicted; 1 Kings 19: 15-17; Through Elijah God predicts what will take place among His people through three people; Hazael: a Syrian king, the enemy of God’s people; and if any one escaped this time of discipline then Jehu, a king that would succeed Ahab as King of Israel, would bring a sword, and if any escaped these two, Elisha would be bringing a sword. He also says that there would be 7,000 who would not suffer because they had not bowed their knee to Baal.
a. His means: to use people, to use swords, to inflict wounds, to bring pain as a result of having chosen to forsake Him. God always has a means to bring discipline. Some times it might be some one that is on the outside or in many cases those who are part of us. Even members of the same family with us God can use to get His message across, that we have forsaken Him to make our own way.
b. His motive: v18; to bring us away from our Baal, of bowing to them or kissing them, to trusting Him.
Gal. 2:20…THE LIFE I NOW LIVE…when I am faced with challenges and difficulties…am I going to live by faith or forsaking Him I am going to live through this circumstance by trusting in the Baal of my feelings…THE LIFE I NOW LIVE….when I am discouraged….I am going to live by faith or in forsaking Him I am going to live by the Baal of my own way of curing my discouragement…THE LIFE I NOW LIVE….when I am rejected and hurt…I am going to live by faith In Him….Or forsaking Him I am going to live by my Baal of hurting back and getting revenge…Which will it be for us, we cannot have it both ways we will either live by faith in all of our circumstances or we will live forsaking Him for our Baal’s? If we choose the last way we can predict the discipline of God.
2. The second Lesson: Divine Discipline is very painful; 2 Kings 8:1-15
a. In these passages I noted there were several years that had passed; the patience of God leads to repentance; in this case God gave them several years. Several years of experiencing His grace, several years of hearing and seeing that He was alive and powerful and able to take care of His covenant people. They did not respond and they were going to experience some very painful discipline.
b. V11-12; the sword would be wielded, it would affect every strong hold, every age, and probably every family would be touched in a severe way; I cannot put a positive spin on this passage, it says what is says. We see the prophet Elisha weeping because he knows what is coming. I have been in position now for many years to witness God’s discipline. There have been many times I have had to watch as a couple decides to forsake Him in reconciliation of a broken marriage and do their own thing. I know what would be coming, Divine discipline, to tell them is futile somehow they think it won’t happen to them. God is faithful to his children and he will bring discipline. It may take several years for this to occur but come it will. No matter how long when it comes it is painful. Again Hebrews twelve tells us “ no discipline for the moment seems to be joyful, but sorrowful….