I really liked Carly’s take on these chapters last time (is there a limit on how often we can do this? No? We’re in charge or our own blog? Perfect!)
I’m sad to say goodbye to Elisha. Who will be the voice of reason now?? Somehow, God always has someone, somewhere.
The back and forth on these kings of Judah and Israel, and their similar names (plus the overpowering fragrance of my new laundry detergent) are confusing. Why, O why, do they both have a King Joash at the same time?!
Let’s circle back to tough times with Elisha gone. Yesterday I was feeling a tad perplexed about how few Christians there are in Italy. But even saying that means I have made some major judgements about the legitimacy of Catholics and other denominations that seem distant to mine. When did I become judge over who knows God and who doesn’t? He can bless or use who ever He wants.
“Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the LORD, and the LORD listened to him, for He saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. (Therefore the LORD gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.)” (13:4-6)
As much as I’m always going to fight to know God as accurately as possible, and encourage the same for others, it is really not my job to worry about everyone else’s theology. The LORD is powerful enough to do what He’s going to do, with or without our help.
For another example: He has managed to use me and bring beautiful things out of my life, even though my theology isn’t perfect and constantly evolves.
In the meantime, let’s learn from the mistakes of these kings who led people the wrong way, didn’t take idolatry seriously, and ended up experiencing the wrath of Hazael (whose glossy summery in 13:3 maybe calls for a reminder from 8:12).
Sin is never getting away with a good time, it is a fast track to suffering. This is why a loving Creator God gave us thorough directions for life abundance.
So instead of worrying about how many legit Christ followers are around, I will keep seeking after the LORD, and His righteousness, and looking for His Kingdom. I’m sure it’s here somewhere.