Summary: God responded to the prayer of an ungodly king because He saw the oppression of His people and came to their rescue. God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.
For the last two chapters (2 Kings 11-12) we looked the Southern Kingdom of JUDAH.
• We saw how Queen Athaliah seized power and how Joash was saved as an infant and raised secretly in the temple of God for six years until he was made King.
• Today – 2 Kings 13 - we are swinging back to the Northern Kingdom of ISRAEL.
• We are going to look at the descendants of King Jehu in chapter 13, the first part Jehoahaz (his son), and the 2nd part - Jehoash (Jehoahaz’s son, Jehu’s grandson).
2 Kings 10:30 “The LORD said to Jehu, "Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."
• Jehu would have a dynasty in ISRAEL for four generations, as the Lord promised.
• We are going to read of Jehoahaz, Jehoash (2 Kings 13), Jeroboam (14) and Zechariah (15).
Since God promised him 4 generations of successors, it means they would not be removed from the throne prematurely.
• We see the next 3 kings all “rested with their fathers” (13:9, 13, 14:29), that is, they ruled until their death.
• Until Zechariah, Jehu’s 4th generation. Zechariah is assassinated by his army captain Shallum (15:10). That ended Jehu’s dynasty, as the Lord has said.
Let’s read the reign of Jehu’s son JEHOAHAZ in 2 Kings 13:1-9 and then a few verses on his son JEHOASH who reigned after him, in 13:10-13.
We see this common phrase in the books of the Kings.
• The phrase in verse 2 “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD by following the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit, and he did not turn away from them.” That’s for King Jehoahaz.
• We read it again in verse 11 “He 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.” That’s for King Jehoash.
• We are going to read this again in chapter 14, 15, 17, 21, 23 and 24.
It’s like a broken record. This is no surprise. With each passing king, we read this again.
• More so for ISRAEL (Northern Kingdom) because all their kings, except for Jehu, did evil in the eyes of the Lord and led the people into sin.
• The kings did not turn from their evil ways but continued in them.
The Lord’s wrath was upon them, and for Jehoahaz, the author says “… for a long time God kept Israel under the power of Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad his son.” (13:3)
• They turned their backs on God and suffered the consequences of their evil ways.
BUT then came the surprise: Jehoahaz pleaded with God. At one point, he actually sought the Lord’s favour! (13:4).
• Is this for real? This coming right after verse 2 that says he did evil in the eyes of the Lord and caused Israel to sin and did not turn from them”?
• It was a surprise. But what was more surprising, than this surprising turn, was the Lord’s response: “…the Lord listened to him.” (13:4b)
• The Lord listened to the cry of an ungodly man! It came as quickly as he prayed it. Not that Israel has been good.
Psalm 103:10 10He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Psalm 103:8-9 8The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever; 10he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Why did the Lord responded to their cry? “… for He saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel.” (13:4c)
• He saw their suffering and distress. God was moved with compassion by their pain.
• It was like Jesus when he saw the crowd, “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (cf. Matt 9:36) and He was moved with compassion.
God has compassion on them when He saw how badly they were oppressed.
• We see this same expression in EXODUS when God saw the plight of His people in Egypt.
• Exodus 3:7-10 7The LORD said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey - the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt."