Foolishness , Grace & Faith
Evangel Tabernacle | On 20, Jul 2014
by: Pas. Carlos Barcelona Jr.
2 Kings 13: 10- 19
In the thirty-seventh year of Joash king of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned sixteen years. 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; he continued in them. As for the other events of the reign of Jehoash, all he did and his achievements, including his war against Amaziah king of Judah, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehoash rested with his ancestors, and Jeroboam succeeded him on the throne. Jehoash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel. Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!”Elisha said, and he shot. “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
Today, I would like to entitle my sharing: FOOLISHNESS, GRACE AND FAITH
We haven’t heard from or about Elisha since 2 Kings 9:1, when he sent one of the sons of the prophets to anoint Jehu to be king of Israel. This means there was over forty years of both trouble and silence in the land and it was during the time when Jehoash became king of Israel.
What does this passage teach us? We can learn 3 things:
I. THE FOOLISHNESS OF CHASING WRONGLY
We all have the tendency to pattern our lives on the lives of others. We become the protégé of someone else. And if we are not careful enough we can fall into a foolish pursuit of ways of living.
One of the best Biblical examples of a person who has this foolish pursuit of ways to live is King Jehoash.
1. He pursued wrong examples.
Jehoash was the son of Jehoahaz who was the son of Jehu. Who is Jehu? He was a military hero who had purged Israel of Baalism. 2 Kings 10: 28. “Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.”
So the Lord promised that his sons would sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation. He named his son after Yahweh for Jehoahaz means “Yahweh has grasped,” dramatizing his hope that his son would do right in the sight of the Lord. Unfortunately, his son did evil in the sight of the Lord.
What was that evil in the sight of the Lord? The Bible tells us that Jehu himself and his son Jehoahaz were guilty of perpetuating the “sins of Jeroboam.”
What is this “sins of Jeroboam?” It was preserving the calf images at Dan and Bethel. They did not prohibit the people from using forbidden icons when they worshipped Yahweh. So no matter how obedient a king might otherwise be, if he did not lead the people to obey God’s command and turn away from the use of the molten bulls, that king was condemned.
Jehoash, like his father and grandfather, he followed after Jeroboam 1, the first king of Israel. He didn’t have to worship Baal but like his parents, he didn’t do anything about the sin of idolatry therefore he was evil in the sight of God.
Lesson: We can do what is right in our eyes and still be evil in the sight of the Lord. When we keep quiet and do nothing about sin, we are evil in the sight of God. We don’t have to be involved in a sin; our neglect, inattention, disregard and laxity to it will result to judgment.
2. He pursued his own desires.
V. 11 “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; he continued in them.”
Not only he did not destroy the high places or the sins of Jeroboam, he allowed them to continue. No matter how evil or ungodly his parents were, he still had a choice.
Joshua 24: 14- 15 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
We do have a choice. Don’t blame everything on other people. Don’t totally blame our fathers/parents for our failure because we played a part.
Truth: There is the permanence of evil. A bad man does harm to others besides himself. Not merely while they live, but after they are gone, their lives, words and deeds will influence us. We may think they are very obscure and insignificant but in ways we know not, influence may reach our hearts and our lives.
Lesson: So let us also be careful how we are influencing others. For good or for evil we are exercising some influence on those around us. If we would influence men for good, we ourselves must live near to God.
II. THE GRACE OF CHOOSING WISELY
One day, Jehoash came to Elisha with fear and trembling over 2 things:
1. The sound of the Syrians.
The Syrians defeated his father in a war and “was only left with 50 horsemen, 10 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers; for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing.” 2 Kings 13: 7 And the Syrians are now against him.
2. The silence of God.
Are you not troubled or bothered when God is silent? It is better to be rebuked by God than to have no word from Him at all.
It was during his reign that there was no prophet, nor sons of prophets going around. Elisha was an old man and about to die but the king of Israel went to see him. The king showed respect for the prophet and even addressed him with the same words Elisha used for Elijah when Elijah was taken to heaven. “My father! My father!” “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”
The king’s chapter was about to close but God’s heart was moved by his gesture because:
1. There was a desire for God’s grace.
Elisha was like a father to the nation and was more valuable than all their armies. He knew that Jehoash was in trouble because of the Syrians and because God turned His face away from them. Yes, Jehoash was a compromising king who disobeyed God, but Jehovah is “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth.”
God is ever on the watch for signs of the prodigal’s return. His ear is ever open for the cry of penitence, for the faintest prayer for forgiveness and help.
Lesson: God is only waiting for us to draw near.
2. There was a desire for God’s verdict.
The king was longing for God to take action. He waited with fear and trembling for an opportunity to cry out to God for deliverance. He knew he was no match against the enemy and therefore it was time for God to make His ruling. It was time for God’s sovereignty.
Lesson: When we come to the Lord, we should ask for His will.
God in His mercy had promised deliverance for His people and He would keep His promise. However, Elisha gave Jehoash God’s promise of victory in a way that required the king to execute faith.
(That leads us to our 3rd point…)
III. THE CARRYING OUT OF FAITH
It is a well-known principle that what a person believes ultimately determines how a person behaves. Eve believed the Devil’s lie that she wouldn’t die; she ate the forbidden fruit, and she eventually died. With his eyes wide open, Adam believed he should imitate his wife, so he took the fruit and ate it, and he plunged the human race into sin and death. But when our Lord was tempted by Satan, He countered Satan’s lies with God’s truth and said, “It is written.”
When we believe the truth, God works for us, but when we believe a lie, the Devil works against us.
4 CONDITIONS OF FAITH
What is the condition of your faith?
1. Shallow Faith
It is obeying God to please people. And while becoming mature in experience, we become frustrated. The desire to want to be free to make our own decision grows but never allowing the truth to come into our hearts to take root.
E.g. When the wife dies, the husband backslides. When parents are not around, the children gradually leave the faith. Even Christian leaders have children whom they used for the ministry but when they are on their own, they forget about their parents and the Lord.
2. Crisis Faith
This faith is rarely deep or lasting and undependable. Because once people see hope of deliverance and their pain eases up, they forget the Lord and return to their old ways until the next crisis.
E.g. patients in hospital will say, “If God heals me and gets me out of here, I’ll be the best Christian you ever met.” God did heal them and allowed them to go home but never met them again in church.
How many times can we call on the Lord when we are in trouble and then ignore Him when we are safe? People who depend on crisis faith need to heed this warning:
Proverbs 1: 24- 33 “But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
We shouldn’t assume that because God heard and helped us, we are automatically going to heaven.”
3. Ignorant Faith
It is said that when you believe, you must obey, but it is also true that many of those who obey do not really believe.
When the prophet put his hands on the king’s hands, it obviously symbolized a conveying power from God. When Elisha commanded him to shoot an arrow toward the area where the Syrians were in control, it clearly spoke of victory over the enemy. But when Elisha told him to take the remaining arrows and strike the ground with them, he didn’t have the spiritual understanding he needed to make the most of it.
Being able to follow directions does not guarantee complete victory. King Jehoash could follow directions but he missed complete victory because He lacked spiritual discernment and insight that people who live in the Word and walk by faith have. Because he had ignorant faith, he limited himself to only three victories over the Syrians.
4. Intelligent Faith
It is not enough for us simply to know God’s will and obey it. We should also understand God’s will and God’s ways.
Intelligent faith lacks no perseverance and determination. It is not content with half measures and incomplete achievement.
It is faith in God’s presence, power and promise. It is the greatest stimulus to activity. It makes us active and careful. It rouses us to put forth all our energies. It makes us patient under difficulties. It causes us to persevere even when we see no immediate result.
It is not enough to simply know God’s truth. We must obey the truth from the heart. Truth in the mind can lead to obedience, but truth in the heart and obedience from the heart will produce godly character.
God’s word and God’s will must be internalized so we can develop consistent Christian character. Until duty and discipline become delight, we are only reluctant servants who only obey God because we have to, not because we want to.
At times we have our own foolishness. Instead of becoming good influence we have been influenced badly by what we see or hear from people or circumstances. Lately we may have noticed that the wrong influence starts to bear fruits of fear, confusion and trembling and pain has come. When you are feeling like this, it’s time to turn to God’s grace, God’s will and mercy. He is “the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth.” And let’s start living an intelligent faith that produces godly character.