Script for the May 10th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 10th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 2 Kings 10-12 and John 1. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Kings 10
For the majority of those listening to this podcast who live in the United States of America, we enjoy living in a representative republic. We elect men and women to represent us and, depending upon the office, they will come up for election in a year, or two, or six.
But in a monarchy, it didn’t work this way. The king (or queen) would take the throne and rule until their death. They weren’t put into their position of authority by an election and they couldn’t be taken out by an election.
They could only be taken out by death. But that death could happen in a number of ways. It could come from old age. It could be from an illness that antiquated medical science couldn’t remedy. It could come from being killed in battle. But it could also come from those who believed they could rule better than the king. Sometimes servants felt that they could rule better and so they assassinated the king. But sometimes it was a person who believed that they should be the rightful ruler, so they would move to assassinate the king as well.
The latter scenario was what Jehu sought to resolve. Ahab had 70 sons who lived in Samaria. Since any one of them could claim the throne, thus putting Jehu’s life in peril, he decided to beat them to the punch. He was going to kill them first.
After writing a letter that called for the people of Israel to put one of Ahab’s descendants on the throne so that Jehu could attack the city, the citizens apparently believed they couldn’t survive that fight. So, they refused to do so. Then Jehu sent them another letter.
2 Kings 10:6 (CSB): “Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying: If you are on my side, and if you will obey me, bring me the heads of your master’s sons at this time tomorrow at Jezreel.
All seventy of the king’s sons were being cared for by the city’s prominent men.”
The citizens of Samaria complied and killed all of Ahab’s sons and piled their heads at the Jezreel city gate as Jehu had commanded.
The next day, when the threat was gone, Jehu showed up at Jezreel. One thing he made clear is that whatever they thought of the 70 deaths, they needed to realize that it simply fulfilled the Lord’s prophetic word.
2 Kings 10:10-11 (CSB): “ ‘Know, then, that not a word the Lord spoke against the house of Ahab will fail, for the Lord has done what he promised through his servant Elijah.’ 11 So Jehu killed all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel—all his great men, close friends, and priests—leaving him no survivors.”
But he wasn’t done. He then traveled to Samaria to continue killing any of Ahab’s descendants. He may have found great pleasure in killing any threat to his monarchy, all while justifying his actions by saying he was merely carrying out the Lord’s will.
But, on the way, his group ran into some relatives of Judah’s King Ahaziah. They said that they were on the way to spend some time with the King of Israel’s sons. Wrong answer! Jehu left no survivors.
Then he continued toward Samaria. On the way, he met a man named Jonadab. From Jeremiah 35:6–7, we gather that Jonadab was a man who appeared to strictly obey the law of Moses. He hopped into Jehu’s chariot as Jehu essentially said, “You think you’ve seen people excited about obeying the Lord? You haven’t seen anything yet.”
Again, Jehu wasn’t really a good guy. He just seems to be using God’s prophecy as an excuse to wipe out his opposition.
2 Kings 10:17 (CSB): “When Jehu came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained from the house of Ahab in Samaria until he had annihilated his house, according to the word of the Lord spoken to Elijah.”
Then, in verses 18-27, we read that Jehu deceived all of the prophets of Baal in Israel. He led them to believe that they were gathered for a great sacrifice and celebration to Baal. But it was really for the purpose of killing every Baal prophet in Israel.
Why did Jehu do this? It may be that he wanted to gain the approval of the people in Israel who knew Baal worship was wrong and only the Lord should be worshipped. He will do whatever he needs to in order to secure his throne.
So what is the Bible’s assessment of Jehu?
2 Kings 10:28-31 (CSB): “28 Jehu eliminated Baal worship from Israel, 29 but he did not turn away from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit—worshiping the gold calves that were in Bethel and Dan. 30 Nevertheless, the Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my sight and have done to the house of Ahab all that was in my heart, four generations of your sons will sit on the throne of Israel.’ 31 Yet Jehu was not careful to follow the instruction of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins that Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.”
So, the Lord rewarded Jehu for fulfilling the prophecies. Yet, the Lord’s blessings were not an affirmation of Jehu’s obedience or his motives.
Finally, Jehu’s life comes to an end. We’re told that he reigned over Israel in Samaria for 28 years. When he died, his son Jehoahaz became king in his place.
2 Kings 11
The spotlight focus back on Judah, the southern kingdom. Judah’s king, Ahaziah, had died. So his mom, Athaliah, is determined to take drastic measures.
2 Kings 11:1-3 (CSB): “1 When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to annihilate all the royal heirs. 2 Jehosheba, who was King Jehoram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister, secretly rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from among the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. So he was hidden from Athaliah and was not killed. 3 Joash was in hiding with her in the Lord’s temple six years while Athaliah reigned over the land.”
So Ahaziah’s baby son, Joash, is saved. Believe it or not, we’re led to believe that his grandmother would have killed him in order to secure her place on the throne. But he is spared when he is taken into the temple and stays there for six years while his grandmother reigned over the land.
In the seventh year, a conspiracy is formed with the desire to put the rightful heir on the throne. It’s not much of a stretch to say that Athaliah was a wicked leader and the people were ready for a change.
A seven-year-old Joash was brought out of the temple and pronounced to be king. The temple and courtyard were heavily guarded so that nothing would happen to Joash to keep him from becoming the next king of Judah.
2 Kings 11:12-14 (CSB): “12 Jehoiada brought out the king’s son, put the crown on him, gave him the testimony, and made him king. They anointed him and clapped their hands and cried, ‘Long live the king!’ 13 When Athaliah heard the noise from the guard and the crowd, she went out to the people at the Lord’s temple. 14 She looked, and there was the king standing by the pillar according to the custom. The commanders and the trumpeters were by the king, and all the people of the land were rejoicing and blowing trumpets. Athaliah tore her clothes and screamed ‘Treason! Treason!’ ”
I just can’t get my mind around this. A grandmother sees her 7-year-old grandson for the very first time and she doesn’t run to him and grab him up in her arms for a big hug. Instead, fear comes to her eyes and she cries out “Treason!”
People that had a right to the throne were dangerous to the one who was actually on the throne. So the leaders decided to kill her. I’m glad that I don’t live in an old-fashioned monarchy that was run like this.
2 Kings 11:16 (CSB): “So they arrested her, and she went through the horse entrance to the king’s palace, where she was put to death.”
Because the new king of Judah was only 7-years-old, he obviously needed adult oversight and supervision. So we read that Jehoiada, the priest who had overseen the conspiracy to make Joash king, led in a time of spiritual renewal in Judah.
2 Kings 11:17-18 (CSB): “17 Then Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, the king, and the people that they would be the Lord’s people and another covenant between the king and the people. 18 So all the people of the land went to the temple of Baal and tore it down. They smashed its altars and images to pieces, and they killed Mattan, the priest of Baal, at the altars.
Then Jehoiada the priest appointed guards for the Lord’s temple.”
As a result, the kingdom of Judah was experiencing a time of peace. Apparently, Athaliah had created all sorts of turmoil that made the spiritual renewal and peace something that the people thoroughly enjoyed.
2 Kings 12
This chapter picks up where the previous chapter left off. The first few verses tell us how Joash’s reign accomplished such wonderfully good things in Judah. It was because he was instructed by a godly priest in his formative years.
2 Kings 12:1-3 (CSB): “1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zibiah; she was from Beer-sheba. 2 Throughout the time the priest Jehoiada instructed him, Joash did what was right in the Lord’s sight. 3 Yet the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places.”
Then, we read that Joash led in the repairs to the temple. Initially, the priests were in charge of the repairs. But, a young Joash said that they weren’t getting the job done so it would be delegated to others. We aren’t quite sure whether Joash was right or wrong in his youthful assessment. Yet, we do know that the priests complied and the job got done.
Now, we have a young king who is facing the army of Aram. It is unfortunate that he didn’t seek the Lord’s help. Instead, he tried to work the problem himself and ended up getting rid of a lot of valuables from the Jerusalem temple.
2 Kings 12:17-18 (CSB): “17 At that time King Hazael of Aram marched up and fought against Gath and captured it. Then he planned to attack Jerusalem. 18 So King Joash of Judah took all the items consecrated by himself and by his ancestors—Judah’s kings Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, and Ahaziah—as well as all the gold found in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and in the king’s palace, and he sent them to King Hazael of Aram. Then Hazael withdrew from Jerusalem.”
In 2 Kings 12:20-21, we read that King Joash was assassinated by two of his servants. We aren’t told by the author of 2 Kings why they did this. But, at the end of the day, the deed was done and Joash’s son, Amaziah, became king in his place.
More than a few people have stated that the way John starts his Gospel brings to mind how Moses started the book of Genesis.
John 1:1 (CSB): “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This first verse is a powerful affirmation of the deity of Jesus. He wasn’t just with God; he was God and is God.
But we also observe that Jesus is called the “Word.” This is a beautiful way of describing Jesus. Just as you cannot know someone’s thoughts until they put those thoughts into words, so God has revealed His mind to us by sending us Jesus. In the Old Testament, God seems so mysterious. For certain, there are men and women that enjoyed Him but there was so much about Him that just seemed hard to know. Yet, when God sent Jesus, and as we look to Jesus, God becomes much easier to know and enjoy. Jesus is the one who has made God knowable to us.
Then, we read something else spectacular…
John 1:2-3 (CSB): “2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.”
In these two previous verses, we read that Jesus was the one who created all things. Yet, when we read Genesis 1, it says that God (we assume the Father) spoke and things came into being.
I want to toss a thought your way and you can take it or leave it. But what is Genesis 1 really tellings us? Did God really say words when it says: “And God said…”? Or is that just a picturesque way of saying that God willing the creation into being but Jesus was the Word, the one who came from the Father who did the work? I definitely think this is worth contemplating.
There’s so much in this chapter that it would take a month of Sundays to do it justice. But since I’m trying to keep these podcasts to a reasonable length, let’s just summarize some of it and hit a few high points.
In verse 6, we are introduced to John the Baptizer. He was the one who came before Jesus to prepare the way for him.
In the next few verses, it refers to light. Realize that when we read about light as it pertains to Jesus, it is speaking about truth and righteousness that pushes back untruth and immorality.
Then, we read in verse 10 that Jesus created the world. Yet, verse 11 tells us that the people He created rejected Him. Verse 12 tells us that everyone who believes in Him becomes a part of the divine family as a child of God. This is incredible truth!
Then, verse 14 tells us about the incarnation of Jesus. “The Word became flesh.” This means that Jesus maintained His complete deity while also becoming fully man.
But then we read about the essence of Jesus…
John 1:17 (CSB): “for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
This verse is incredible! It tells us that the law that can only condemn the sinner came through Moses. But grace and truth came through Jesus. It’s important to keep these in balance.
If we are grace and no truth, we are liberals. We don’t take God’s Word or sin seriously.
But if we are truth and no grace, then we are legalists. We are harsh and condemning.
Jesus didn’t come as a liberal or a legalist. He came with truth but with just as much grace. We should strive for that as well.
In verses 19-28, we read about John the Baptizer’s ministry near the Jordan River. He was the forerunner who got people spiritually ready for Jesus. His ministry was harsh and he called things like they were. People were made aware of their sin and he led them in a baptism of repentance.
Yet John couldn’t give them a permanent solution to their sin problem. That’s where Jesus came in. He pointed people to Jesus as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
As we make our way to the end of this chapter, we observe that Peter and Andrew, Philip and Nathaneal, are following Him. They are not yet Apostles. They are only following Jesus as disciples right now. But one day soon, Jesus would go up onto a mountain, pray all night, and then come down the next day and call the 12 to Himself. So these four disciples have no idea how incredible of a journey they are about to go on.
But that’s kind of like us, right? When we give up our desires in order to wholeheartedly follow Jesus, we have no idea what He will do with us. Most certainly, there will be exciting things that happen in our life and we can take it to the bank that there will also be very difficult times.
But those difficult times just give us an opportunity to determine if Jesus is really worth it. I hope that we determine that He is.
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to earth to make the Father known to us. Thank You for teaching us what truth and godliness is. And thank You for paying our sin debt so that we can be forgiven and made a child of the Father. We pray this in Your Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!