Introduction to 2 Kings: Just a quick explanation of how Israel and Judah end.
2 Kings 1: Ahaziah (King of Israel) is challenged by the prophet Elijah, who does God’s work with the help of his messenger. He is challenged three times but different commanders, the first two end with the commanders and their 50 men burning to death because Elijah calls on God to help. The third recognizes the importance of Elijah and asks him to come with him back to see King Ahaziah. The King wants to know why Elijah is against him and Elijah makes it clear that it’s because the King sought out help from a different god when he fell and not from their God. The King dies.
2 Kings 2: Elijah’s time is up and he goes to heaven. He is succeeded by Elisha. Elisha performs various miracles with God’s help to show the people that he is a man of God.
2 Kings 3: Moab’s rebellion against Israel unites Israel and Judah again as they prepare to battle Moab’s army. Initially they are frustrated because they don’t see water or resources, so they think God brought them out here to die at the hands of the army of Moab. They ask Elisha to speak with God and he tells them that God will provide water and victory:
He said, “This is what the Lord says: This valley will be filled with pools. 17 This is what the Lord says: You won’t see any wind or rain, but that valley will be full of water. Then you’ll be able to drink—you, your cattle, and your animals. 18 This is easy for the Lord to do. He will also hand Moab over to you. 19 You will then attack every fort and every grand city, cutting down all the good trees, stopping up all the springs, and ruining the good fields with stones.” (2 Kings 3.16-19)
It is passages like this that really fascinate me. Yes, they end up winning, but not to the extent predicted. The interesting part of this and we see it throughout the Bible is the knowledge of the importance of water and the sudden appearance of water for God’s people. I remember in Father Kevin’s first sermon addressing science and religion in 2014 when he talked about the passage where Moses hits the rock with his staff and water shows up. I need to listen to this again to better understand the meaning of this text, not the literal meaning.
One last thing…in the CEB study bible, there is an insert talking about the “Mesha Inscription,” an “inscription from the 9th century BCE that tells of King Mesha, who, with the help of his god Chemosh, conquers part of the Transjordan area, thereby recovering it from Israelite control. The inscription illustrates the story in 2 Kings 3.” (p. 573 OT) Ok, that’s pretty cool.
Galatians 4: In this chapter Paul shares his concerns for the Galatians. He is worried for them because they were led to believe they needed to follow the Law in order to be Christians. He wants them to understand that it doesn’t have to be this way. He argues that following the Law will lead them back to slavery, but following Jesus will lead them to freedom. He seems to be arguing that the ones who are trying to get them to follow the Law don’t have good intentions, thus they pretty much shouldn’t be trusted. WOW!