“Because Thou art Neither Hot Nor Cold”

2 Kings 13  [class outline]

 

I                      Worshipping the God of Emergencies  13:1-9

A       A Son of Jehu, Jehoahaz, reigns in accordance with the promise [cf. 10:30]

B        Like his father, he continued the sins of Jeroboam, unwarranted worship practice

C        Hazael and his son, Ben Hadad, are used as a scourge to Israel  3

D        Jehoahaz turn to the Lord for relief from the oppression  4

E         Though deliverance comes and life becomes stable, unwarranted and even idolatrous worship continues in Israel  6  At this very time reformation was occurring under Joash in Judah [chapter 12]

F         The military defenses of Israel remain oppressed  7

II                    Following the Pattern of Evil  10-13

A       The son of Jehoahaz, of the same name as the current king of Judah {Jehoash or Joash}, grandson of Jehu, becomes king.

B        The congenital sin of Israel, that “will-worship” instituted by Jeroboam, continues to plague the spiritual life of Israel  11

C        The Lord, however, blessed him with military prowess and natural wisdom and allowed him to be a chastisement to Amaziah of Judah  12

III                  Half-hearted zeal means eventual defeat

A       Elisha, so often maligned, but regularly recognized as a true prophet in Israel, becomes ill with a sickness unto death

B        Joash, Jehu’s grandson, probably indicating and reflecting Jehu’s respect for Elisha, goes to visit him.

C        He addresses him in the same terms used by Elisha when Elijah was taken away [2:12]  But does this indicate the same intensity of devotion to Elisha’s God?

D        Elisha provides a promise with a degree of its fulfillment dependent on the zeal of the King

1         The first part of the promise is unconditional and based on God’s prior covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  see verse 23;  It is symbolized in the simple act of shooting an arrow out the window

2         The second part, striking the ground with arrows, depended on the intensity of the king and his determination fully to follow the instruction of the prophet

E         The king’s response falls short of sincere zeal for the words of the prophet

1         He was not instructed as to how many times to strike the ground, but his true respect for Elisha as a prophet manifest in his zeal or lack of it in fulfilling the second part of this requirement would determine its outcome

2         He responded so as not disregard but not so fervently as t make himself

IV                  Your Fruit Shall remain  20-25

A       The bones of Elisha revive a dead man  20, 21

B        The Lord delivers Israel three times from Aram and restores captured cities [22, 23 parallel to 3-5]; 25 fulfills the prophecy

V                    Application to life in Christ

A       Half-hearted bargains with God do not issue in salvation; only true repentance

B        Reigning sins will continue to dominate if not put to death; Put off the flesh put on Christ

C        We cannot find life in the basis of the faith of others; without personal conviction of sin and a personal view of the glory of Christ we have no personal spiritual life and no personal hope of heaven

D        On the other hand, the entire world benefits in some ways from the gracious covenantal working of God for the benefit of his people.

E         God may use the worldly power and talents of the ungodly to chastise and humble his people [cf. 12 w/ 1 Peter 5:6-11]

F         God confirms the truthfulness of his word by giving clear evidence to validate a true prophet


“Because Thou art Neither Hot Nor Cold”

2 Kings 13  [teaching outline]

 

I                      Worshipping the God of Emergencies  13:1-9

A       A Son of Jehu, Jehoahaz, reigns in accordance with the promise [cf. 10:30] – Though his sons would follow the sins of Jeroboam and he example of heir father, God fulfilled the promise of four generations of earthly reign

B        Like his father, he continued the sins of Jeroboam, unwarranted worship practice – Israel could never overcome this.  Political sovereignty and the use of religion to perpetuate it, always meant more than purity of worship. Though this is obvious in the narrative of Israel’s history, for the reader constantly sees the historian’s reminders of this overarching fact, the same manipulation of religious devotion for personal gain is present in every generation.  It can be seen on a large scale in political campaigns and in our personal lives as we consistently find the temptation pressing us to subdue the purity of Christian truth to some personal goal that seems more urgent and more strategically necessary.

C        Hazael and his son, Ben Hadad, are used as a scourge to Israel  3  Had the kings of Israel been spiritually alive, they could have seen the grace of God in these trials.  The text clearly says that the success of Hazael against Israel, seen so clearly earlier by Elisha [8:11-13], comes directly from God’s anger against Israel.  We should be driven to mourn for our sin by personal calamity and thank God for the rod of chastisement; look at Daniel’s response to his knowledge of national calamity in Daniel 9

D        Jehoahaz turns to the Lord for relief from the oppression  4  God hears the prayer of Jehoahaz and gives him what he asks for.  He simply did not ask for enough.  The deliverer comes, but unlike Jesus when he delivers his people, this deliverer cannot root the idolatry out of their hearts.  Jesus not only removes his people from the oppression of sin in its penal consequences, but removes the love of it from the heart.  He establishes a certainty that all of its ravages will eventually be rendered powerless and even without presence before the people of God [1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24]

E         Though deliverance comes and life becomes stable, unwarranted and even idolatrous worship continues in Israel  6  At this very time reformation was occurring under Joash in Judah [chapter 12]  It is frequently the case that we feel more smartingly the ravages of physical oppression than we do the reality of spiritual bondage.  We consequently have more intense desire for physical relief and comfort than for spiritual redemption.  While our souls starve and we sit on the precipice of hell, we are quite happy if we have bread and ease and our enemies are kept at bay.  The fact that the “Asherah also remained standing in Samaria” held far greater danger to Israel than the presence of the sword of Hazael.

F         The military defenses of Israel remain oppressed  7  The evidences of God’s anger against Israel lingered before them even as the cause of the anger had not been removed.  We might experience temporary reprieve from wrath in his life, but in eternity there will be no spell of mercy for those under God’s wrath.  By the same token, even when we are forgiven and united with Christ, the impact of sin often remains in mind and body.  Substantial healing occurs here but full restoration of God’s image and removal of all presence of sin and its temporal consequences awaits the revelation of the glory of Christ.  Look at 1 Peter 1:3-9; 2 Peter 3:10, 11; 3:11-15

II                    Following the Pattern of Evil  10-13

A       The son of Jehoahaz, of the same name as the current king of Judah {Jehoash or Joash}, grandson of Jehu, becomes king.  As we will see, this continues for four generations until the death of Zechariah by assassination.

B        The congenital sin of Israel, that “will-worship” instituted by Jeroboam, continues to plague the spiritual life of Israel  11  The historian who wrote 2 Kings wants this point to sink with the power of indelibility into our conscience so that we will not arrogate to ourselves the right to legislate in matters of divine worship without warrant from God’s word.

C        The Lord, however, blessed him with military prowess and natural wisdom and allowed him to be a chastisement to Amaziah of Judah  12  We constantly are brought to admire the wonder of God’s sovereign disposal of his natural gifts.  He gave Jehoash great skill and bravery in military matters and even used him to humble Amaziah, a more godly man than he.  Believers often have inferior natural gifts to those that are around them in the world.  Literary art, fine art, music, philosophy often flourish under the control of those who have no faith in the truth of Scripture and no appreciation for the glory of Christ as Redeemer.  We must learn to admire the witness that God gives of himself in all of nature and all people.  Even the birth of a child so magnifies the character and glory of God tat his enemies have no rebuttal to make to that miracle [Psalm 8 :2]  God has chosen the things that are not to put to shame the things that are.  The ways he has of humbling his people and showing them they constantly need correction, they always need to see that they are children of grace and that in the end the giver of all gifts, no matter in whom they reside, is more glorious than the sum total of all that he has distributed among the sons of men.  In fact the whole world will be burned up and replaced by a new heaven and new earth that shows forth the true splendor of his moral glory [2 Peter 3].

III                  Half-hearted zeal means eventual defeat

A       Elisha, so often maligned, but regularly recognized as a true prophet in Israel, becomes ill with a sickness unto death.  Only one prophet endures forever.  “In times past God spoke to our forefathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.”

B        Joash, Jehu’s grandson, probably indicating and reflecting Jehu’s respect for Elisha, goes to visit him.

C        He addresses him in the same terms used by Elisha when Elijah was taken away [2:12]  But does this indicate the same intensity of devotion to Elisha’s God?  Elisha used these words after he had tended the needs of Elijah for some time and had followed him through all efforts to dissuade him from continuing in his service.  He had requested from Elijah the one gift that he would be abundantly useful in the service of God in the same manner as Elijah.  Jehoash had not indicated any love for Elisha or his message prior to this as far as we know from what is recorded.  He pays a visit to gives a word and uses pious language without soul commitment to its reality.  He did not really believe that the word f the Lord through the prophet was the true protection of Israel.  Had he done so he would have been more intense and thorough in effecting the symbolic acts Elisha instructed him to do. 

D        Elisha provides a promise with a degree of its fulfillment dependent on the zeal of the King

1         The first part of the promise is unconditional and based on God’s prior covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob  see verse 23;  It is symbolized in the simple act of shooting an arrow out the window.  By this action Elisha announces that Aram wil be defeated.

2         The second part, striking the ground with arrows, depended on the intensity of the king and his determination fully to follow the instruction of the prophet. 

E         The king’s response falls short of sincere zeal for the words of the prophet

1         He was not instructed as to how many times to strike the ground, but his true respect for Elisha as a prophet manifest in his zeal or lack of it in fulfilling the second part of this requirement would determine its outcome.

2         He responded so as not disregard the strange request of Elisha but not so fervently as to make himself look undignified. Three strikes of the ground is enough to show polite deference to a man about to die, but does not indicate that he thought anything important was at stake in Elisha’s instruction.  The king certainly did not want to compromise his dignity by foolishly beating arrows on the ground unless some pre-announced benefit was guaranteed.

3         Elisha became angry at Joash’s mild response and said that as a result he would not completely rid Israel of the oppressive aggressions and brutality of Aram.  He would win nly three battles.

IV                  Your Fruit Shall remain  20-25

A       The bones of Elisha revive a dead man  20, 21.  This strange event surely would be told far and wide.  That a true prophet had been among the people merely heightened their guilt and rendered certain his word that they would defeat Aram three times, but no more.

B        The Lord delivers Israel three times from Aram and restores captured cities [22, 23 parallel to 3-5]; 25 fulfills the prophecy

V                    Application to life in Christ

A       Half-hearted bargains with God do not issue in salvation; only true repentance.  Many pray that God will relieve them from difficult temporal circumstances.  This arises from a sense of self-preservation and not from a sense of self-loathing connected with conviction of sin.  Deliverance from eternal wrath only comes to those who see clearly that they deserve it.  One who resists the idea that he deserves wrath will never receive Christ and his atoning work in the manner of saving trust.

B        Reigning sins will continue to dominate if not put to death; Put off the flesh put on Christ.  External reforms are necessary but have no substance apart from a consistent dealing with the issue of remaining, or indwelling sin on the one hand and embracing Christ’s moral and spiritual beauty on the other.  See Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-32

C        We cannot find life on the basis of the faith of others; without personal conviction of sin and a personal view of the glory of Christ we have no personal spiritual life and no personal hope of heaven.  The faith of parents will not suffice for children.

D        On the other hand, the entire world benefits in some ways from the gracious covenantal working of God for the benefit of his people.  The permeation of human society with justice, kindness, mercy, brings benevolence and justice to culture.  God blesses the entire world with good things including genius and industry of the world that he might show the extravagance of his goodness and provoke praise and blessing and adoration from his people.  The patience that God shows the world because of his desire for the salvation of his people in itself is conducive to repentance.

E         God may use the worldly power and talents of the ungodly to chastise and humble his people [cf. 12 w/ 1 Peter 5:6-11]  In conflict, the world often gets the upper hand; the one who uses deceit, who cheats, who overpowers with cruelty seems to win many battles and gain the advantage.  These circumstances chastise God’s people but do not finally overwhelm them, for they know that God will have the final word and after having caused hem to suffer for a while will confirm them in eternal joy.  [cf. Psalm 82; 1 Peter 3:13-22].

F         God confirms the truthfulness of his word by giving clear evidence to validate a true prophet.  The verifying test of an Old Testament prophet is no less true of a New Testament prophet.  The prophets who received revelation about the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel had credentials equally as clear aas did Elijah and Elisha [see Ephesians 2:19-3:7; 2 Peter 3:1, 2]