Summary: Jehoash showed little interest in what he was told to do. He was going through the motions but with little faith. He did not take God seriously or the Word of God seriously. Elisha was the one who showed faith in God.
We saw the reign of Jehoahaz last week; we move on to the reign of his son Jehoash today, Jehu’s 2nd generation.
• God promised Jehu 4 generations on the throne of Israel.
• Let’s read again 2 Kings 13:10-13.
Like his father, Jehoash “did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he continued in them.” (13:11)
Except for a short account of Jehoash’s war with JUDAH in the next chapter, we have nothing much to say about his reign.
• A short biography and then his obituary. Sixteen years in four verses.
• Only after we buried him, the author recounted an incident for us. It highlighted his attitude towards God in an encounter with Elisha. Read 2 Kings 13:14-19.
Jehoash sought the prophet, weeping. It looks like he was sad because Elisha was terminally ill and dying.
• He came to Elisha and cried, “My father! My father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” (13:14).
• It was the same cry we heard when Elisha saw Elijah being taken away in a whirlwind (2:12): "My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!"
The prophets represented the defence of Israel.
• We read in 2 Kings 6 how Elisha was able to foil the plans of the King of Aram repeatedly. He was able to tell the king of Israel the very words the King of Aram speak in his bedroom (6:12).
• But with the departure of this prophet, all divine intelligence would be gone.
Jehoash was crying, not for Elisha but for himself!
• He was desperate and fearing of a more devastating defeat at the hands of the Arameans. Will God help? Yes. The Lord is gracious and compassionate.
• Jehoash might have come with self-preservation in mind (without any real faith in God), but the Lord will help him overcome his enemy.
Elisha wasn’t disturbed at all. He knew it was not the military that matters.
• It has nothing to do with “the chariots of Israel and its horsemen” but the Lord’s horses and chariots of fire!
• Which Elisha had seen TWICE - once when his mentor Elijah was taken away (2:11), and another when he was surrounded by the Arameans in Dothan (6:17). He has to ask the Lord to open the eyes of his servant so that he could see the Lord’s chariots of fire and horsemen protecting them.
Elisha’s faith is in God. He has faith in God’s help. He has faith in the Word of God.
• And so Elisha gave the King the Word from God! It was, in fact, an assurance from God that Israel would have certain victory over the Arameans.
• It wasn’t even “you might win the war” but “you will completely destroy them!”
This time around the promise of God wasn’t given in words but in ACTION.
• He asked the King to take a bow and some arrows. He put his hands on the King’s hands, and ordered him to shoot the arrow out the East window.
• He shot the arrow and Elisha proclaimed the Word of God: “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” (13:17)
It was an acted oracle. The prophecy of God was released through that act.
• God will give Israel victory over Aram. In fact, to be precise, the Arameans will be completely destroyed at Aphek.
• That’s the Word of the Lord. That’s the promise of God.
Elijah then gave him a second set of instructions - take the arrows and strike the ground. Nothing new, it’s a confirmation. Singlish way of saying, DOUBLE CONFIRM.
• Having done the first act and heard God’s Word, Elisha expected Jehoash to understand what his actions would mean.
• But the king struck the ground 3 times and stopped! He actually stopped!
He wasn’t taking this seriously. He was indifferent and half-hearted, and not quite believing it.
• And Elisha was angry. Why didn’t you strike it 5 or 6 times? Do you really want to win the war? Do you want to defeat them for good?
• This was a prophetic act, just like the first. The king should have known by now but he showed little interest.
If you do not really believe God and His Word, then this means little to you.
• Jehoash might have thought this is ridiculous. It won’t change anything. It is just some religious thing he has to do, so just get it over with and move on.
• It’s a disregard for the Word of God, because he has little faith in God.
• He did not take the promise of God seriously. He did not take God seriously.