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2 Kings

 

Introduction

 

The books commonly known as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings are really one long book. (They were separated due to the length of ancient scrolls.) Beginning with Samuel, the last of the judges, this book describes what happened in the days of the kings who ruled first the whole nation, and then the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The reigns of Saul and David are described in detail. The repeating structure within the book tells how old a king was when he came to the throne, where and for how long he ruled, and something about his character and the notable events of his reign. (Some traditions call this book the “Book of Reigns.”)

 

Beneath this pattern of historical succession, however, another rhythm can be discerned. Saul, the first king, does not follow God faithfully, and God announces he will seek a man after his own heart to rule Israel. God finds this person in David. He puts him on the throne, promising that his descendants will always rule Israel if they continue to serve him. Unfortunately, the kings after David are not committed to following God’s way. Many of them abandon God and lead the people to do the same, although a few of them call the people back to obedience. Using David’s wholehearted dedication to the Lord as its standard, the book of Samuel-Kings traces the tragic wavering of the people’s devotion to God. Their covenant failure leads to the nation first being divided and then later conquered by the powerful empires to the east.

 

The “Book of Reigns” is therefore a tragic closing of the whole covenant history that began in Genesis. Just as the first humans were exiled from God’s garden, now Israel is sent out of the “new Eden” God intended in the Promised Land. Land and temple have been lost in the darkness of judgment, and only a flickering light remains. The deeper purpose of God for Israel—to bring blessing and restoration to the nations—seems to have been frustrated. But hope remains alive in God’s promise to bring a descendant of David back to the throne.

 

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2 Kings Chapter 1 (ESV)

 

8 They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

 

9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10 But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

 

11 Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king's order, ‘Come down quickly!’” 12 But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

 

13 Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. 14 Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.” 15 Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king

 

REFLECTION:

  1. If time permits, please read the whole chapter through to learn the ailment of Ahaziah and Elijah’s prophecy from God.
  2. Ahaziah showed complete contempt for God and His prophet by sending soldiers to arrest Elijah. He apparently wanted to get a reversal of the prophecy against him (v4, 6) and resorted to massive force to secure it. "Man of God" means prophet. Elijah replied that he was indeed a servant of God. For this reason the king should have submitted to him. The issue in this thrice repeated confrontation was, who is in charge and has more power, Yahweh or Ahaziah? Fire from heaven settled the controversy. This was the last miracle of Elijah – calling down the fire to consume the soldiers. It was intended to demonstrate to Israel once again that they must hold God in awe.
  3. Yet the God who is terrible in judgment is also merciful. The third captain took the proper humble approach to God's prophet (vv. 13-14).  He begged for his life and lives of his soldiers and they were spared.
  4. What is truly my heart toward God? Humility, arrogance, contempt, respect ….?  How do I live out my heart at family and workplace?  Do I rely on God's mercy and wisdom or use my position and authority to control others and further my own gain?

 

PRAYER: 

Stay with God for a few moments.  Invite the Holy Spirit to shine into even the darkest part of my heart.  Talk with Jesus about what was revealed about my heart: toward God, family, and colleagues at work…..

End this time with a prayer of confession and re-dedication to honour and respect God in all areas of my life.