Script for the May 11th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 11 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 13-14 and John 2. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Kings 13
The spotlight is aimed at the northern tribe of Israel as this chapter begins.
2 Kings 13:1 (CSB): “In the twenty-third year of Judah’s King Joash son of Ahaziah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years.”
As we can assume, Jehoahaz, being a king of Israel, wasn’t a godly man. In fact, the Lord’s response made it clear what He thought of Jehoahaz.
2 Kings 13:3 (CSB): “So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he handed them over to King Hazael of Aram and to his son Ben-hadad during their reigns.”
But God in His grace is always ready and willing to listen to a repentant heart. We’re not sure how he did it but we are told that “Jehoahaz sought the Lord‘s favor, and the Lord heard him, and the Lord delivered him from Aram” (v.4-5).
Yet, in spite of the Lord’s deliverance, Jehoahaz’s army was decimated. From this, we learn the principle that God is always ready and willing to forgive our sins. Yet, He typically does not take away the consequences we brought upon ourselves as a result of our sin. God’s forgiveness of someone who stole money from a bank doesn’t necessarily exempt them from the natural consequences of jail time. So, even though God can forgive our disobedience, it’s in our best interest not to disobey so as not to bring upon ourselves (or others) the negative consequences of our sinful choices.
2 Kings 13:9 (CSB): “Jehoahaz rested with his ancestors, and he was buried in Samaria. His son Jehoash became king in his place.”
In verse 10, we read that Jehoash became the king of Israel and reigned 16 years. But, guess how he lived? Remember, every single one of the kings of Israel lived in such a way to anger the Lord.
2 Kings 13:11 (CSB): “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He did not turn away from all the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit, but he continued them.”
Jehoash soon died and his son, Jeroboam became the king of Israel.
It’s no wonder that Israel will soon be punished by the Lord for their willful disobedience as He allows the Assyrians to take them into captivity.
As we read 2 Kings 13:14, we come to the end of another era. We’ve read about incredible leaders like David and Solomon. We’re gotten to know great spiritual leaders like Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, and Elisha. But all of those men have died, except Elisha. But we are now about to read of his homegoing.
2 Kings 13:14 (CSB): When Elisha became sick with the illness from which he died, King Jehoash of Israel went down and wept over him and said, ‘My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!’”
Wow! This was powerful. When the king of Israel said those words to Elisha as he was dying, he recalled the very words that Elisha had said when Elijah was taken to Heaven in the chariot of fire.
2 Kings 2:11-12 (CSB): “11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire with horses of fire suddenly appeared and separated the two of them. Then Elijah went up into heaven in the whirlwind. 12 As Elisha watched, he kept crying out, ‘My father, my father, the chariots and horsemen of Israel!’”
So when the king said these words to Elisha, it seems that he was acknowledging that Elisha’s ministry was as powerful as Elijah’s, and his departure was just as heartwrenching.
While those words may have been encouraging to Elisha, he still has something to say to King Jehoash of Israel. He told the king to open the window and shoot an arrow through the window. When he did, Elisha said that he was to go to war against Aram and defeat them.
Then, Elisha told King Jehoash to take a handful of arrows and hit the ground. Some say the Hebrew word that is translated as “strike” means to shoot. So, Elisha may have been telling the king to shoot the arrows into the ground. (After all, shooting a lot of arrows out the window could get someone hurt or killed.) It appears that Elisha’s reprimand of the king for striking, or shooting, the arrows 3 times pointed to his apathy, his lack of zeal. So, his victory over Aram wouldn’t be complete.
2 Kings 13:20 (CSB): “Then Elisha died and was buried.”
But we read in verses 20-21 that a dead man was once tossed into Elisha’s grave. When his corpse landed on Elisha’s corpse, the man came to life. It was as if the power of God so powerfully rested on the body of Elisha that the laws of nature sometimes simply raised their hands in surrender.
As 2 Kings 13 concludes, we read that the king of Aram oppressed Israel. Yet, because of God’s grace Israel was not destroyed.
2 Kings 13:24 (CSB): “King Hazael of Aram died, and his son Ben-hadad became king in his place.”
2 Kings 14
Now, the spotlight aims south again, at the nation of Judah
2 Kings 14:1-2 (CSB): “1 In the second year of Israel’s King Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, Amaziah son of Joash became king of Judah. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem…”
Amaziah was generally a godly king. Yet, he continued to tolerate pagan worship within his kingdom.
We’re told that he killed the men who had assassinated his father. However, he didn’t kill any else in their family even though other kings might have done so. His reason was that the Word of the Lord said that people are to be put to death for their own sins, not the sins of family members (roughly quoted from Deuteronomy 24:16).
2 Kings 14:7-8 (CSB): “7 Amaziah killed ten thousand Edomites in Salt Valley. He took Sela in battle and called it Joktheel, which is still its name today. 8 Amaziah then sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, king of Israel, and challenged him: ‘Come, let’s meet face to face.’”
It’s so easy to become full of ourselves and give ourselves more credit than we are due. When we have been incredibly successful in an endeavor, we may wrongly assume that our success will continue. The people of Israel, under Joshua’s leadership, defeated Jericho and then became presumptuous afterward and lost to a much smaller city. In 2 Kings 14, we realize that Amaziah’s victories made him think that he could defeat Israel, too.
King Amaziah of Judah horribly miscalculated and would pay dearly for it. The king of Israel only came when Amaziah insisted that they fight. Israel won the battle and sent Judah’s army into a chaotic retreat but king Amaziah was captured. King Jehoash of Israel proceeded on to Jerusalem and destroyed 200 yards of their protective city walls. He also raided the temple of all of its gold and silver. He further raided the king’s palace before returning to Samaria.
In verse 16, we read of King Jehoash’s death. His son, Jeroboam, became king of Israel in his place.
King Amaziah of Judah had been captured but his life was spared. In fact, he was released at some point and went back to rule in Jerusalem. But a king’s reign can sometimes feel as if it is always balanced on a razor’s edge. At any moment, the king could be assassinated so someone else could take over.
2 Kings 14:19-20 (CSB): “19 A conspiracy was formed against him in Jerusalem, and he fled to Lachish. However, men were sent after him to Lachish, and they put him to death there. 20 They carried him back on horses, and he was buried in Jerusalem with his ancestors in the city of David.”
Azariah, a 16-year-old, became king of Judah.
Now the spotlight aims at the northern kingdom of Israel again.
2 Kings 14:23-24 (CSB): “23 In the fifteenth year of Judah’s King Amaziah son of Joash, Jeroboam son of Jehoash became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. 24 He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He did not turn away from all the sins Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit.”
But we read of God’s grace even under the wicked reign of King Jeroboam. We are told that the Lord observed how bitter life was in Israel for both slaves and free people. So he delivered them. It is true that the Lord is gracious to the good and the wicked, to those who obey Him as well as to those who are opposed to Him. This is why Jesus told us to love our enemies.
Matthew 5:44-45 (CSB): “44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
We are told in verse 29 that Jeroboam died and his son, Zechariah, became king of Israel in his place.
As we read verses 1-12, we get to see the occasion upon which Jesus performed His very first recorded miracle. The occasion of this miracle was at a great time of celebration; it was at a wedding.
Many Jewish weddings at that time lasted for days. There would be much dancing, lots of loud laughter, and it was the host’s responsibility to make sure that people enjoyed themselves.
To run out of wine was the unpardonable sin. Apparently, Jesus’ mother, Mary, felt responsible for this problem or she simply cared deeply for the wedding party and believed that Jesus could do something about it.
Yet, when Mary told Jesus about the problem, clearly implying that He do something about it, Jesus responded in a way that requires our attention.
John 2:4 (CSB): “ ‘What has this concern of yours to do with me, woman?’ Jesus asked. ‘My hour has not yet come.’ ”
If I called my mom “woman,” it would be horribly disrespectful. But not in first-century Jewish culture. Jesus was showing no disrespect. It seems that He was merely stating that He didn’t believe it was time to begin to draw attention to Himself as He formally started His ministry. Yet, He did go ahead and turn water into wine with apparently only a few people knowing about it.
So, was Jesus merely using His abilities to grant people’s requests? Or was there something bigger going on here?
When we read passages that refer to the future glorious reign of Christ, such as Amos 9:13-14, we realize that new wine (not fully fermented) will be enjoyed in abundance. So it seems that Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine was a foreshadowing of His future glorious reign on planet earth.
In verses 13-24, we read of the cleansing of the Temple. It appears that Jesus did this at least twice. Once is mentioned here at the beginning of His ministry. The second time (if there were only two occasions) was on the Sunday of Passion Week, the week He would die on the cross and then rise again.
So what are we intended to learn as we observe Jesus cleansing the Temple? Let’s look at it…
John 2:13-14 (CSB): “The Jewish Passover was near, and so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and he also found the money changers sitting there.”
The Passover was an annual celebration that reminded the Israelites of how God had protected them from the 10th plague in Egypt. They were responsible for killing a lamb, painting its blood on their doorposts, and eating the meat.
When we look closely at that story, we realize that it is a picture of Jesus and salvation. Jesus is the ultimate and final Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. When we receive His free gift of salvation and are “covered” by His blood, we are no longer objects of God’s wrath and judgment.
So, the Passover was very dear to Jesus’ heart. But when He went into the Temple at the time of Passover, He was appalled by what He saw. The noise was more than chaotic. The stench of the animals doing their business in the Temple area was nauseating. The exorbitant “convenience” fees that were almost certainly charged in the Temple turned worshippers into angry consumers. This was not a place of worship as it had been intended. It was a zoo! So Jesus did something about it.
John 2:15-16 (CSB): “15 After making a whip out of cords, he drove everyone out of the temple with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 He told those who were selling doves, ‘Get these things out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!’”
So what is the lesson here? What was Jesus prohibiting?
Some people think it was merely the buying and selling in the Temple area. And when they apply that simplistic understanding to church life, they say that you can’t buy or sell inside the church building. You can do it in the parking lot but not in the buildings.
I really don’t think that simplistic understanding is what we are to draw out of this biblical account. I believe that it teaches us to vigilantly protect the place of worship. And when we are talking about the place of worship, we are talking about the place where God’s people meet to worship Him. But, we are also talking about our bodies since we are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
So, the lesson seems to be that we are to vigilantly get rid of any distractions that could take away from the experience of worship. Anything at all in our church gatherings or in our personal life that would keep us from enjoying our God needs to go. And it is up to each of us to determine what those things are. We don’t want to be legalists but times of worship (enjoying our God) need to be protected.
It was on this occasion that Jesus said something cryptic. It makes sense to us but it didn’t to His original hearers.
John 2:19 (CSB): “Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up in three days.’”
The Jews thought that Jesus was talking about the Temple he had just cleared. They said that it had taken 46 years to build. Saying that He could rebuild it in three days was ludicrous.
Yet, Jesus was referring to His body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit. It would be placed upon a cross but the Father would raise it in three days.
As this chapter comes to a close, we observe something interesting about Jesus. Essentially, we are told that people placed their trust in Him. Yet, He didn’t place His trust in them. Listen…
John 2:23-25 (CSB): “23 While he was in Jerusalem during the Passover Festival, many believed in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. 24 Jesus, however, would not entrust himself to them, since he knew them all 25 and because he did not need anyone to testify about man; for he himself knew what was in man.”
We understand that God loves us. In fact, when we get to the next chapter of John, we will read that it was precisely because of God’s love for the world that He gave His Son for us. Yet, even though the Lord loves us, He doesn’t entrust Himself to us. He knows that we will let Him down.
While this may seem a bit discouraging, we know this lesson all too well. Even well-intentioned people sometimes let us down.
So, if nothing else, these final verses of John 2 let us know that it wasn’t because of us that God demonstrated His love and sent His Son to pay our sin debt. It was because of Him and His grace.
Lord Jesus, thank You once again for showing us in Your Word how our salvation has nothing to do with us. We can’t earn salvation and we can’t maintain it. It is strictly up to You. Our only responsibility is to live in obedience to You as a grateful response for all that You have done for us. Thank You for saving me. I 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!