Monday, May 9, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 92. Jeroboam II KIng Of Israel

Prophets And Kings
Day 92
Jeroboam II King Of Israel

We meet the second king named Jeroboam today. Hims not a godly man but the Lord does use him to regain Israels lost territory.

2 KINGS 14:23-29
"In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years." (2 Kings 14:23) This king enjoyed a very long reign.

But he was not a godly man. "He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit." (2 Kings 14:24) This king is well-named, for he follows in the footsteps of his predecessor Jeroboam I, the man who set up the golden calves at Dan and Beersheba and said to the nation, "Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." (1 Kings 12:28b) 

At this time Israel is being mistreated by her neighbors and the Lord uses Jeroboam II as a deliverer for them, even though he is not committed to the Lord. Not all of our presidents in the United Sates have been committed to the Lord. Some who were committed to the Lord did great things for our country, some did not. Some who were not Christian men did great things for our nation, some did not. A man can have great leadership skills and a vision for his nation without necessarily being very godly and that describes Jeroboam II quite well. He wants to see a return of Israel's former glory. He wants to reclaim all the bits and pieces of her borders that her neighbors have taken. Though not much of a praying man, he knows the word of God and he knows which territories the Lord promised to the people. He feels he is the man to get them back. "He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through His servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher." (2 Kings 14:25) 

The Jonah mentioned here is the Jonah who was swallowed by the large fish. We don't know what Jonah said to King Jeroboam II but evidently he made pronouncements of victory for him in his quest to regain Israel's territories. Jonah may have been an adviser to the king. If so, we see that Jeroboam did not altogether eschew God. His religious life was probably similar to those kings before him: believing that bowing down to the golden calves was not a true abandonment of God. 

Jonah was a prophet in Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II, along with the prophets Amos and Hosea. These men spoke against the idolatry of Israel, for that's what the worship of the golden calves was at heart. Yet we find that Jeroboam II held these men in some respect, perhaps fearful of them, perhaps fearful of the God they served. 

"The Lord had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering; there was no one to help them. And since the Lord had not said He would blot out the name of Israel under heaven, He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam son of Jehoash." (2 Kings 14:26-27) The Lord chooses this time and this king to help His people, not because Jeroboam is a godly man, but because God made a promise He will never break. He promised Israel would never cease being a nation before Him. When the Lord made this promise it wasn't a conditional promise, as some promises of Scripture are. The people have been unfaithful to Him but their existence doesn't depend on their faithfulness; it depends on the unbreakable word of the living God. 

The Lord would be well within His rights to wipe any of us off the face of the earth. We all have sinned against a holy God. But He is loving and merciful even when we are at our most unlovable. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) The Lord didn't say to His people Israel or to us, "Clean yourselves up and make yourselves holy, then I will love you and be your God." He recognized our utter inability to make anything of ourselves. He saw how we were suffering in our weaknesses and that there was no one to help us, just as there was no one to help Israel in today's passage. And, just as He sent a deliverer to Israel in the form of Jeroboam II, He sent a Deliverer to us all in the form of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"As for the other events of Jeroboam's reign, all he did, and his military achievements, including how he recovered for Israel both Damascus and Hamath, which had belonged to Judah, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jeroboam rested with his ancestors, the kings of Israel. And Zechariah his son succeeded him as king." (2 Kings 14:28-29) We do not possess some of the books regarding the kings. We have 1st and 2nd Kings which deals with some of the events in the lives of the kings of both Israel and Judah, plus we have 1st and 2nd Chronicles which mainly deals with the kings of Judah. The main thing we know about Jeroboam II is that he was the king who recaptured the territory Israel's neighbors had taken from her. And he wasn't able to do this because he was a godly man, but because God keeps His promises. God saw how oppressed the people were by her enemies and He stepped in.

At one time we were not part of the body of Christ. We were like Jeroboam II's kingdom: our walls broken down, losing ground day by day, oppressed by our own sins and by our enemy the devil. But God looked down and had pity on us. He was not willing to let us perish. And so, in the fullness of time, a Deliverer came. A holy and righteous Deliverer came to save us from ourselves and from our mortal enemy Satan. Jesus took back for us what we had lost: the parts of ourselves we willingly gave away in our sin and the parts of ourselves we were too weak to defend against the enemy. Jesus set us back on our feet, whole, restored, revived. We have a mighty Deliverer and we owe all our victories to Him. Glory to His name forever.

Below is a song link for today's study.

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