Read 2 Kings 3
3 Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.
4 Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. 5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. 7 He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”
“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”
8 “By what route shall we attack?” he asked.
“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered.
9 So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.
10 “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”
11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?”
An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.”
12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”
“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”
14 Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you. 15 But now bring me a harpist.”
While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”
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.
21 Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border. 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!”
24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.
26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.
In 2 Kings 3 we are shown three different kings: Jehoram, Mesha, and Jehoshaphat. Jehoram was born of his father Ahab, who was an absolutely dreadful king. His own mother, Jezebel, was potentially even worse. Clearly we can see Jehoram did not come from a faithful, God-fearing family. In fact, he came from the complete opposite. It is mentioned that Jehoram was not as bad as his parents, but he was still a wicked king. He put away the pillar of Baal, but persisted in many other abominations. How many of us are like Jehoram? Maybe you come from a rough background (or maybe you don’t). At some point, we all compare ourselves to others and think, “As long as I don’t do as many sins as they do, I am good.” This is far from the Truth and far from the heart of God. There is no wiggle room for any of the sins that crucified our Savior to the cross.
The second king we are introduced to is Mesha, king of Moab. During the reign of Ahab, Mesha would pay a hefty tribute to Israel. However, when King Ahab died, Mesha attempted to escape taxation. This was Moab’s chance to be free of the political and financial grip Israel had placed on them. Israel and Judah then joined together to defeat Moab because of their refusal to pay their tribute.This was unprecedented because Judah and Israel were separated due to civil war. The nation of Edom also joined in.
During their trek to defeat Moab, Jehoram was filled with guilt as he cried out to the Lord. His sins that were discussed previously began to weigh on him heavily as those he marched with for seven days went without water. Jehoram thought that his previous sins would cause the downfall of himself and all those he marched with. While Jehoram was wallowing in his fear, doubt, and pity, Jehoshaphat sought out God in the midst of the challenges they faced. In the midst of chaos and distress, Jehoshaphat found a godly man (Elisha) and took the other leaders down to meet him.
When the kings arrived to speak with Elisha they were met with strong words. It was made clear immediately that Elisha would have nothing to do with them, except for one thing: Jehoshaphat was with them. God would speak to them through Elisha because Jehoshaphat loved God and followed Him. Elisha then prophecies over the trio of kings that God will deliver their enemy into their hands and allow them to find water. Elisha shows them that God is in control of all things: water, nations, leaders, nature, everything. To no surprise, God came through. Water was found and the Moabites were delivered into the hands of the kings.
However, at the end of this chapter we are met with a tragic reality: Once the king of Moab ran out of ways to kill the other armies, he offered his firstborn son as a burnt offering to be hung upon a wall. He was so desperate to not pay his tribute that he killed his eldest son. Disgusted, the three kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom left the battle and returned to their own lands.
There are two takeaways here: The love of money will cause us to do unthinkable acts and God doesn’t halfway deliver His people; He fully delivers them. However, He requires us to keep moving forward when things look grim. God had delivered the Moabites into their hands, but when they saw the king of Moab burn his son, they returned to their own lands. When the world reacts in unimaginable ways, will you turn to God or to your comforts that God wanted to set you free from in the first place?
- Are you currently comparing yourself to the sins of others or to the perfection of Jesus? Do you recognize you need a Savior every moment of every day?
- What has God fully delivered you from?
- What does God want to fully deliver you from now that might be uncomfortable?
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