2 KINGS 10:1 – 12:21 and JOHN 11:1–44
2 Kings 10
Jehu continues his purge of the house of Ahab by slaying 70 sons within the family. This could be sons and grandsons. This is a picture of what happens when the cup of iniquity becomes full. It is not enough to just focus on the cup being full but focus needs to be given as to how it began. We marvel at the faith of a mustard seed and its ability to move mountains. The ever small seed of sin has great potential as well. It can be a simple “thought” that does not get challenged and addressed which in turn can lead to untold consequences. The cup of iniquity and its fullness of the sins of Baal can be traced to Balaam. He had a heart that coveted the offer of Balak (Num 22). That unchecked heart led him to introduce immorality and the worship of Baal to the nation of Israel. God is now using a man by the name of Jehu to execute his wrath and judgement. He was anointed for this task (2 Kings 9:6). God used other nations as instruments of judgement upon Solomon when he turned after other gods. The same principle applies today. Jehu also went after all the other members of Ahab’s household including their priests.
Jehu then came into contact with men of the household of Ahaziah. He ordered his men to take them alive and then later slew them at the pit of the shearing house (vs 14). There were 42 of them that were slain. Jehu then comes into contact with a man named Jehonodab. This was a worthy man which prompted Jehu to call him up into his chariot. He wanted to demonstrate the zeal he had for the Lord. There could be no denying that there was an anointing that was empowering him for his mission. He sensed it; he knew it and he wanted to show it. We see an element of pride at work here. He arrived in Samaria and destroyed all that pertained to Ahab and the worship of Baal there.
We see Jehu exercising deceit for the purpose of drawing as many Baal worshippers together as possible. In the subsequent verses we see Jehu sending notices far and wide to attend this solemn assembly (vs 19-20). At an appointed time Jehu had 80 men positioned at the outside with strict instruction to destroy all the worshippers of Baal. If they failed they too would lose their life. They broke down the image of Baal as well as the house of Baal (vs 27). It was a thorough purge that Jehu performed upon Ahab’s house and those aligned in the worship of Baal. The severity of God’s judgement needs to serve as a reminder to us. We who are enlightened people should be better prepared for that which is to come. God is not mocked! We live at the culmination of the church age and the cup of iniquity is near the brink. This time the associated judgements that are aligned to the cup will be more severe. God will have his Jehu’s to be his instruments. They can be nations, people, plagues or some other means of execution of God’s wrath. The worship of Baal provided a platform for Satan; a platform that resulted in an infection of the Israel and the royal line. How will this be remedied? Jehu is an instrument of judgement but he is not the means of its remedy. The next chapter will address this issue in more detail. Jehu was God’s instrument but he was not a righteous king (vs 31). He took no heed to God’s law which led to his downfall. He did many things right concerning the judging the house of Ahab. As a result there would be 4 generations that would sit upon the throne. Jehoahaz his son was next in line to the throne.
2 Kings 11
Whenever God moves in judgement or a stand is taken against wickedness one can be assured of a response from the enemy camp. The enemy’s last stand in the case of the judgement upon the house of Ahab will be through Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. It is a very dangerous scenario. Upon hearing of the death of Ahaziah her son, she goes forth and destroys all of the royal seed. This is the intent and heart of Satan; to destroy anything that can be linked to the future Messiah. Here he has an opportune moment. If the all of the royal seed could be extinguished how then can the sceptre come forth out of Judah (Gen 49:10)? This would be the end of the monarchy.
Satan made a similar attempt at the time of Moses birth. He moved upon the heart of Pharaoh to enact a law to destroy the sons of the Hebrew women at birth (Exo 1:16). We can assume that the enemy knew that a future deliverer was about to be brought forth. It was the faith of his mother Jocabhad that preserved Moses. The question that needs to be asked is how did Athaliah ever get into such a position to be able to destroy all of the royal seed? How did Satan ever get into such a significant platform to be able to do this? Let’s review a brief timeline.
We can look at the sin of Balaam back at the time when Joshua was about to lead the children of Israel over the Jordan. His uncircumcised heart led to a link between the men of Israel to the Moabite women. This mixture helped to form the foundation of Baal worship. We should recall that in the midst of these events there came forth a priest by the name of Phineas who executed God’s judgement upon a couple who blatantly flaunted their sin. This initiative of Phineas pleased God resulting in Phineas being given the promise of an everlasting priesthood (Num 25:11-13). He was also given a covenant of peace. What Phineas did is what will be required in these last days.
The sin of idolatry came alive once again through the latter years of King Solomon. He loved many wives and eventually began worshipping their gods. What do you think happens to the people when such a standard is set? It only accentuated after the kingdom divided under Jeroboam. He established places of worship at Bethel and Dan which heightened heathen practices. The cup of iniquity became ripe under the reign of Ahab and Jezebel. Ahab married the daughter of a heathen named Ethbaal who was both a king and priest. It was at this time when Ahab sought to make alliances with King Jehoshaphat, the godly king of Judah. Regrettably, he (Jehoshaphat) made the statement that “I am as thou art” and proceeded to have an arrangement with Ahab. This was not the only time. The alliance and friendship became so strong that an eventual marriage took place between the son of Jehoshaphat and the daughter of Ahab. Her name was Athaliah. When the judgement went forth against the house of Ahab through Jehu, Athaliah took action which is what we are seeing here. She came to this position due to compromise, uncircumcision of heart and alliances. What is the remedy? Who can stand in her way and thwart this deadly assault on God’s eternal plan?
One of the godliest couples you will ever see in scripture is a husband and wife named Jehosheba and Jehoiada. Who are they? Most people probably never heard of them. I can assure you that heaven knows their name. In fact, I have often used this couple as a godly example of an ideal marriage in weddings I have spoken at. Jehosheba took initiative to steal away one of the sons of royal lineage for the purpose of hiding him. His name was Joash. He was hidden for a period of 6 years when Athaliah had rule over the land. Jehoiada was a priest and he taught the child while preserving him during this period. At the appropriate time Jehoiada made arrangements to bring the true and only heir to the throne. The timing and execution had to be right otherwise the son could be lost and with him any trace of Judah royalty.
It was the king Jehoiada who presented him in the temple with the armed guards, who placed the crown upon his head and proclaimed him as king (vs 9-12). Athaliah, once she became aware of what had taken place cried treason treason. Jehoiada the priest, like Phineas before him became the instrument that placated the heart of God. He gave instruction to have Athaliah put to death outside of the temple court. What we see in this most instructive chapter is one of the primary functions of a true priesthood. It was the priest that preserved the monarchy and brought an end to the wiles of Athaliah. After her death he gave instruction to destroy every evidence of Baal, including the remaining chief priest Mattan (vs 18). The land rejoiced as a result of Jehoiada’s reforms. Joash, though only 7 to 8 years old came to the throne under the guiding hand of the priest Jehoiada. This couple (Jehosheba and Jehoiada) was responsible for preserving the royal lineage of Judah. Their marriage serves as a powerful reminder as to what can be accomplished when two people gather together under the headship of the Lord. Do we truly appreciate the role of the priesthood? Remember, it is the priesthood that shapes and prepares a king to have rule. We will see this in greater detail in the next chapter.
2 Kings 12
King Joash begins his reign in the 7th year of Jehu’s reign in Israel. His reign was a righteous one primarily due to the guidance and instruction he was receiving from Jehoiada the priest. We have made the statement on a number of occasions as to how the priestly role helps to shape for royal rule. David was successful as a king because he came to know the heart of God. He was anointed to be king but yet had to flee and run from Saul for a season. He had to see God as sovereign which he did when he could proclaim that Saul was God’s anointed. He had the chance to kill his pursuer and it would have seemed reasonable to do so but David saw it differently. When he came to the throne he was prepared. He had a heart for God; he had slain a bear, a lion and a Goliath. He had a love and reverence for the Ark (the presence of God) and was deemed capable to establish the Ark in a tent upon Mt. Zion.
Remember, the Ark had been removed from Moses Tabernacle due to a corrupted priesthood. It should also be noted that Saul never sought after the Ark during his reign as king (1 Chr 13:3). Throughout the history of the Bible it took about 3000 years before Israel had its first king. You do see the priesthood functioning from the time of Moses long before there was a recognized king. When Jesus was first introduced into the fullness of His earthly ministry it was as a Lamb, not a King (John 1:29, 36). When Jesus comes the 2nd time it will be as a king. In the millennium we reign with Christ as priests of God (Rev 20:6). This is re-emphasized by Peter when he addresses the last church as a Royal Priesthood (1 Pet 2:9).
So why do we hear little mentioned about the priesthood today? It seems that everything is about kingdom living. True kingdom living must have a priestly basis and foundation. This means having a message that embraces the cross, a message where one knows the heart of God, His ways and His glory. This leads us back to King Joash. First of all, he owed his life to a priest and his wife (Jehosheba and Jehoiada). Secondly, his kingdom flourished while he was under the guidance of Jehoiada the priest. Third, his kingdom went into apostasy after the death of Jehoiada. The priest was no longer there to guide and advise him. In his later years he allowed the hallowed things, the treasures to be removed from the house of God and sent to Syria. He had no reverence for the things of God.
When you see the “hallowed” things being removed it speaks of little regard for the message of holiness. The true priesthood has the Old Testament reality of the Urim and Thummim. This was the ability to hear and know what God was speaking and doing. It was also the ability to know what the people should do. Today’s church (for the most part) is void of this priestly function. There is reliance on the fact that God is good, He answers prayer and that all we have to do is to keep crying out for more of Him. These things are true but when we ask for more of Him do we really mean it? Such a prayer may require a commitment, a cost and an acknowledgement of unconfessed sin. If we are able to respond in such a way the Lord is more than gracious in being able to change us more and more into His likeness. The problem today is that we view God and His ways through man-made lenses. I personally feel we need to see a restoration of the true priesthood in these last days. When Israel came out of Babylon you had a resurgence of the priestly office under Ezra and Joshua. They had the ability to address sin, lead a nation into repentance and pave the way for God to once again restore his glory to the temple. It will be even more so in these last days. Yes, we are all called to reign with Christ as kings but let’s take the words of the Apostle Paul to heart.
2Ti 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
2Ti 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
2 Kings 12 can be summed up very simply. Joash the King reigned well while Jehoiada the priest was alongside him. Joash the King failed miserably as a King after Jehoiada the priest died. This will be picked up again in 2 Chronicles.
There are many wonderful Bible stories that come forth from this chapter. We are introduced to Lazarus, with his sisters Martha and Mary. We come to know that Lazarus is sick. Mary and Martha inform Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick. The response of Jesus was an interesting one. He said his sickness was not unto death. Jesus had great love for this family but He did not seem overly concerned in having to rush to where Lazarus was at. In fact, he spent another two days where He was. Jesus knew that Lazarus would be a sign; He knew that he would die and it was for this reason He tarried. This was going to be an opportunity to demonstrate what would happen to Him after His death. After a few days the Lord then determines to return to Bethany. This causes concern amongst the disciples due to the threats of stoning that He previously experienced (John 8:59). The Lord made clear that while there was light man could see; He knew His time had not yet come. At the same time it would provide an opportunity for the Lord to present the message of resurrection life. He also made clear to His disciples that Lazarus was dead, not sleeping and that a profound sign would be given to them concerning Lazarus.
The Lord approaches the place of Lazarus and discovers that he had been dead and in the grave for 4 days. Martha meets with Jesus and speaks saying if you only had been here earlier he would have not died. The Lord says to her that your brother shall rise again. Her response would be our response. Lord, we know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day (vs24). This is how we would view it with no thought of a miracle of resurrection to take place here and now. It is here where the Lord addresses Himself as “The resurrection and the life”. This is one of the descriptions of who Jesus is! He is the Son of God but as the Son of Man He is about to conquer the grave and obtain the keys of hell and death. Soon afterwards we find Mary coming to Jesus and saying the same thing as her sister. She too lamented that Jesus was not on hand to heal Lazarus. The truth is Jesus deliberately refrained Himself from coming until he knew for certain that Lazarus was dead.
I have been struck at the range of dynamics taking place at this moment. Jesus as the Son of God had to become man in order to take upon our sin and reconcile us back to God. Jesus as the Son of God created the heavens and the earth and through Him all things exist (Col 1:16). He had the ability to raise Lazarus from the dead due to who He was as the Son of God. Jesus, as the Son of Man had limitations; He could be tempted, He was capable of sinning and experiencing the joys and sorrows that make up the life of a man. Jesus, as the Son of man was reliant on the Spirit of God (Heb 9:14). It was the Holy Spirit that would raise Him from the dead. It will be that same Spirit that would now raise Lazarus from the dead (Rom 8:11).
Jesus as the Son of man has yet to go to the Cross however he did declare Himself as the Resurrection and the Life. I am not trying to get overly carried away on a theological point but it must be stated that Jesus never ceased being the Son of God. Jesus could only become the Son of Man by being willing to lay aside His prerogative of deity so that he could take sin upon Himself as the Son of Man. The works He did as the Son of Man was through the Holy Spirit. We have seen this from the beginning when Jesus was conceived. It was through the agency of The Holy Spirit that the Son of God could become man in the flesh. This whole discourse regarding the raising up of Lazarus helps to give a greater insight to the ministry and person of the Holy Spirit. What is also notable is how moved Jesus was when He saw the grieving over Lazarus (vs 35).
This was a moment filled with great emotion and significance. There were observers who wondered why He was not there for His dear friend when He was able to heal others (vs 37) Jesus, who was moved with great emotion instructed that the stone be taken away and then cried forth the following: “Lazarus come forth”. This was a picture of what would soon take place concerning Him. This miracle was meant to be a sign to bring glory to God. Lazarus, who was good and dead has now come back to life to the amazement of all. A body that has been in the tomb for 4 days has no semblance of life. What a powerful sign for the people of Jesus day especially as He drew nearer to the Cross. It is a powerful reminder to us as well. Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life. Do we have a Lazarus in the tomb situation in our life? Let’s believe the Lord to speak “Lazarus come forth” in a personalized way, even today. God loves us and is moved with the struggles and needs that we might have. Jesus chose to demonstrate this miracle through people who were very close to Him. They were those who worshipped Him as seen in Mary which we will look at in the next chapter. Indeed, let’s believe for those words “Lazarus come forth” to our unique area of need.