2 Kings

2 Kings 5-8

2 Kings 5 is one of my new favorites.  Naaman is a commander to the king of Aram.  You can see on this map that it is a growing nation that threatens Israel.  BUT God does not discriminate.

Session 11: Aram (biblical region) - Wikipedia | Bible mapping ...

The faith of the Israelite slave girl contrasts with the free people of Israel and the kings who worshipped false gods. Naaman is an important guy in his nation.  First, the fact that Elisha sent a mere messenger to greet him got his britches in a twist.  THEN to tell him to wash in the Jordan River….the river the servants use??   Oh, the humanity!   He is a “somebody”.  Ohhhh the sermon I can make out of this story!  I have seen so many times people who think jobs are beneath them!  How often do we see people at church or at work that need the spotlight (the glory).   To do the servant’s work is beneath them because they have arrived, they are a Naaman! Moving on…

So the “enemy” of Israel declared there is only one true God- This is a salvation story!  Yet, the man who served Elisha: Gehazi-chose MONEY as his God!

I told you yesterday I didn’t like Gehazi!

Chapter 6-The axhead.  This story is a “folktale” amoung the Jewish people.  How God can raise up or lift up the most sunken heart.  We can read it as the Israelites are the axhead, they were once the instrument God used and they have flung off the handle and are not useable to Him.  Not true, we will see God raise them back up to be used again. (I have seen many people fall deep away from the Lord and they too were restored)

Elisha traps blinded Arameans- (I feel like I am reading New Testament parables today)- Read this story and then think back to this Proverb:

Proverbs 25:21-

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

Famine in Samaria- Let’s break this crazy story down.  First, let’s start with the prophecy of this happening: In Deuteronomy 28 Moses gave a warning for disobedience as they enter the Promised Land:  If you would like to read the whole thing click here.  However, in reference to the cannibalism, we read today here is the verse:

53 Because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you.

So the cliff note version is: The king of Aram is attacking Samaria (the Northern tribes: Israel).  Well, because Israel has fallen so far from the Lord, He has brought a huge famine on them. They are trapped in their hunger because they cannot leave the city walls since they are surrounded by the army of Aram.  Does the king of Israel take ownership for the dilemma they are in?  Heck no!  He blames Elisha probably for not killing the Arams in the last chapter but instead feeding them!

Chapter 7 continues the story but starts with a very powerful statement and prophecy:

Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seats  of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?

“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”

I have talked about this topic before..Is anything too big for God?  I can tell you I am the officer in this story with a lack of faith.  My father and my brother are atheists.  My mother is a non-practicing catholic BUT because she participated in the sacraments she feels she has the “fire insurance”.  When I pray for my family I know God can do the impossible BUT my family is SO LOST that when I get done praying I think “ even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?  No, because they will NEVER CHANGE!”  I am the officer!!

Well, this story is proof that I am wrong. Even though this story has so many layers to it about honesty, not being opportunistic, sharing the Good News of the Gospel, and not keeping it to ourselves…I am the one trampled at the gate!

Chapter 8 The Shunammite story is obviously not in the chronological sequence since Gehazi is in the story.  But it is a story about trusting the word of God.  She was told to pack up her belongings and leave for 7 years.  Would you?? She did and was blessed for her obedience!

I am feeling pretty down today…first I am trampled at the gate…now I would be eating my own children in hunger because I wouldn’t have left!

The Murder of Ben-Hadad (he is the King of Aram).  I bet they don’t teach this story is children’s ministry!  So the King of Aram has a sickness (we can pretend it is Covid).  He sends Hazael to Elisha to find out if he will survive it.  The answer is YES…BUT Elisha offers up some extra information to Hazael:

  1. Hazael will harm the Israelites (this makes Elisha weep)He will:  will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!!!
  2. Oh, and he will be King after Ben-Hadad

I don’t think he processed all that because the only thing he saw was the crown on his head!  But wait…didn’t Elisha just say he was going to survive the illness??  Ain’t nobody got time for that-the crown is so pretty…so he waterboards him and kills him!

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We end with a recap that you have read before:

kings-of-israel-judah | Kings of israel, Old testament bible ...

2 Kings

2 Kings 1-4

Two days ago we read 5 chapters in 2 Chronicles.  It was a lot to read.  We are now reading it from a different viewpoint with different details (easier details).  (I point that out so that if it seems familiar you don’t think you are going crazy)

2 Kings 1: We begin with the Judgement on Ahaziah.  He fell through the lattice and wants to consult with Baal-Zebub of Elkron.  This is not the fertility Baal, this one is worshipped in Ekron, (border of the Philistine territory).

Map of the Territory of the Philistines (Bible History Online)

Baal-Zebub is a false god that was thought to have the power of prophecy.  His name means “Lord of the Flies”.  The Lord that controls the flies is Belzebub-that’s right, the devil!  Put that in your head for a minute! (and yes, that is why they named the book that, because of the pig head on the stick scene they worshipped).

Chapter 1 is not a hard chapter but I wanted to point out that they keep mentioning Elijah’s fashion sense.  His belt and cloak.  This will be the same outfit John the Baptist wears as he comes in the spirit of Elijah and that is why he is mistaken (if that confuses you, we will get there in 3 months so just ignore)

“Because Ahaziah had no son, Joram (Jehoram)  succeeded him as king in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah.”

Genealogy of the kings of Israel and Judah.svg

2 Kings 2- Here is the travel map for this chapter:

Map with Elijah and Elisha | Online dating advice, Elijah, Popular ...

Elijah and Elisha are sitting in a group of prophets who all know that Elijah will be taken up to heaven.  Elisha is taking every moment to stay with him before he goes.  Elisha, like a son, asks for a double portion of his spirit (lower case s).  He was asking for a double portion of his strength for ministry.  A blessing only comes from the Lord so they left it in God’s hands.

And then it happens!

The Books of 1 and 2 Kings • FaithEquip

Elijah is taken into heaven alive never to be seen again.  Wait….that’s not true!  (In my opinion, and it is only an opinion, we will see him again.  I believe he is one of the 2 witnesses in Revelation for several reasons….but let me stay on task.)

In 1 Kings 19 when Elijah fled, he was showing “lack of faith”. He JUST saw God bring fire from heaven and completely consume a soaking we offering yet, he was afraid of Jezebel’s reaction?? When God approached him, he said he was the only one left.  Oh dear…we are ALL replaceable!  He then says:

15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 

Elisha now begins his “prophetic ministry” (I made that phrase up) by showing that God was with him, just like many in the past such as Moses and Elijah. We will actually see a close parallel between Moses and Elijah.   He begins with the parting of the Jordan River and then the water is purified at Jericho.

I have to put the end of 2 kings 2 in this blog.  The short version is 2 years ago exactly today:  me, my sister in law and brother in law took 9 kids on a hike in the Smokey Mountains.  Due to a storm that came in, and the forest fires the year before destroying the trails, we got lost for HOURS.  It was the second scariest moment of my life.  Long story short (too late) we lost my middle child on the mountain. Police and rangers were involved and we were losing sunlight.  We turned a corner and we were staring at a family of bears.  In my head, my daughter must have been killed by the bears.  Well, she wasn’t.  I packed up the next morning (from he trauma) and headed back to Nashville and went to church that Sunday and THIS WAS THE SERMON….

23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria.

I about fainted in Church!  Clearly, I researched the heck out of this paragraph that week!

Chapter 3-this is a repeat story from 2 days ago but let me address the water that looked like blood.

20 The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water. (It is the rainy season)….

22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

Edom means RED.  The rocks there were red.  Petra was built on a red mountain.  The rivers (the sediments) would be red from the rainy season.  Hello, that’s why the sea is called the Red sea! BUT God used it in a might way for the victory of the battle.  He is so amazing!

Chapter 4- Sorry this is long, but we could spend a month on these 4 chapters, so much we skipping BUT Elisha performs a miracle with the oil-providing for the widow (just like scriptures tell us too) (oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit)

The Shunammite’s son- random thoughts

  • In the beginning, do you think she was flirting with him to try to make a baby (the old fashion way)?
  •  She obviously did not tell her husband the severity of her son’s condition because he says “It’s not a New Moon or a Sabbath”.  Translation- Can this issue wait till my day off?  Ain’t nobody got time for this, I am working.
  • The staff is a symbol of power: God’s authority BUT he was never going to let Gehazi use it to heal him.  First, he is not a messenger for the Lord, and second, he is not a great guy…he probably would have charged them if it worked.  Elisha…get up off your butt and go!!  Just like David…we get LAZY.

Death in the Pot!- I am so using that phrase the next time my husband cooks!

  • The famine was getting so severe that what was left was either rotten or poisonous, but flour representing bread provided for them.

Man we skipped a lot of details….the next time we do this read-through (in a couple of years)  we will cover the rest