Summary: Consider God's warning signs - words from the prophets, internal chaos and the external threat from Assyria.
2 Kings 15:8-31 THE WARNING SIGNS ES 17 Jun 18 1665
Warning signs are good. They are meant for our good and can save lives. God warns. God warns before He judges.
• Let’s consider the warning signs from three directions. The upward – warnings from God through the prophets, the inward – corruptions within Israel, and outward – the rising of Assyria against Israel.
This chapter is wrapped by two Kings of JUDAH - AZARIAH (Uzziah) at the start and JOTHAM at the end.
• In between these two JUDAH Kings, the author runs through FIVE Kings of ISRAEL – Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah and Pekah.
• After that we are left with the last King of Israel HOSEA in chapter 17. That signals the end of the Kingdom of Israel.
We are onto the last stretch and the author gave us a quick run of these 5 Kings in just over 20 verses. Let’s read 2 Kings 15:8-31.
These FIVE Kings of Israel came and went while Azariah was King in JUDAH (who reigned 52 years).
• We see this contrast. You have ONE King in Judah and FIVE kings changing hands in Israel. That was how bad the situation was in the North.
• While Uzziah was having a stable, prosperous and successful time in the South, Israel was experiencing chaos and unrest within their nation.
• It wasn’t even the kings changing hands but being assassinated. We have FOUR conspiracies and assassinations in this short span of time.
Zechariah (Jehu’s 4th) 6 months Killed by Shallum
Shallum 1 month Killed by Menahem
Menahem 10 years
Pekahiah (son of Menahem) 2 years Killed by Pekah
Pekah (Gilead 12, Samaria 8) * 8 years Killed by Hoshea
Hoshea 9 years
We have more assassins on the throne than natural successors.
Zechariah succeeded his father Jeroboam II, but only for 6 months.
• Shallum conspired and killed him, taking the throne and ending Jehu’s dynasty.
• As the Lord so said. 15:12 So the word of the LORD spoken to Jehu was fulfilled: "Your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation."
We’ve been watching this countdown of Jehu’s dynasty over the past few sermons.
• God said it first in 10:30 that Jehu would have 4 generations on the throne.
• We traced the successions in the past few chapters and now it came. Jehu’s dynasty ended here with the death of Zechariah.
• You can called it an assassination, a tragedy or a coup; the author says, it is the fulfilment of God’s Word.
The author’s conviction is clear, as he recounts Israel and Judah’s history.
• God will bring His Word to pass. It is certain. There is no other way.
• What God says is true and will come true. For Jehu, as well as for Israel. For Israel as well as for us.
• Whatever the Lord says through the prophets - the warnings given before the judgement – are about to come true. Israel ought to take heed.
Then comes another warning sign of God’s impending judgement – the corruption at the top. We have a recount of quick succession of godless reigns in Israel.
• Four conspiracies almost in a row, four kings being assassinated, and with the killers taking up the thrones.
• Resulting in some very short reigns - 6 months for Zechariah, 1 month for Shallum, 2 years for Pekahiah.
Israel was going from bad to worst. If the people were more discerning, they would have known that something was not right here.
• And we hear the author ‘playing this broken record’, we cannot avoid it:
• “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as his fathers had done. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit.”
• It appears for Zechariah (15:9), Menahem (15:18), Pekahiah (15:24) and Pekah (15:28); all the kings except Shallum.
And I think this line did not appear for Shallum because his reign was too short.
• Not that he was good (obviously) but that his appearance in the scene was too brief to comment, only 1 month. He could not even warm his seat!
• He made 2 golden calves and declared them as Israel’s gods, telling the people not to return to Jerusalem. “You can worship this new gods in Bethel and Dan.”
• (Such can only be the creations of man, because true God can only come through a revelation. How can God be a creation of our mind and hands?)
• And since then, Israel has been worshipping his idols and we have this tedious repetition of Jeroboam’s name and his influence, generation after generation.