Saturday, March 31, 2012

2 Kings 3 - Elisha and the Battle with Moab



Kingdoms around Israel 830 map
Via WikiCommons. See full attribution below.
LINK: 2 Kings 3
Parallel passage: 2 Chronicles 22:5-7

BACKGROUND 

Jehoram (Joram) of Israel - 2 Kings 3:1-9:25
Reigned: 852-841 BC for 12 years (brother of Ahaziah and son of Ahab)
Character: Bad mostly
He did evil in the sight of the LORD, ,though not like his father and mother; for he put away the sacred pillar of Baal . . . Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam . . . he did not depart from them" (2 Kings 3:2-3)
Overlap with Judah's King: Jehosphaphat (873-848 B.C.) and Jehoram (853-841 B.C.)
Manner of Death: Murdered by Jehu
Parallel Story: 2 Chronicles 22:5-7

It says here that Joram became king in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, but 2 Kings 1:17 states that his son, Jehoram, was king of Judah. It was common in those days to have a son and heir to the throne become a "co-regent" with their father.  

Moab's king rebelled against Israel again (2 Kings 1:1). So Israel's King Joram teamed up with Judah's King Jehoshaphat to attack Moab. Since Edom was under Israel's authority at the time, they also joined in the battle. In the Desert of Edom, they ran out of water.  The God-seeking King Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of the LORD. So they went to Elisha. At first he was stand-offish. He says, "What do I have to do with you?" which probably means, "Why should I obey you?"  This was probably a dig about the god Baal who was the rain god!  He was saying, "Why should I obey you. Go to your rain god so you can get water."  But Elisha prophesied for King Jehoshaphat's sake. 

Elisha requested a harpist for the prophecy because in the Old Testament, music often came along with prophecy beginning in David's time (1 Chronicles 25:1). The prophecy promised both rain and victory, and that is what happened. They overthrew the cities and towns, cut down the trees, stopped up the springs, and ruined the fields with stones just as the LORD had commanded them. 



Louvre 042010 01
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In ancient cultures, defeat was a sign that their gods were angry. Therefore, in response to the devastating defeat, King Mesha of Moab offered his oldest son as a human sacrifice to propitiate (avert the wrath of) the god of the Moabites, Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7, 33; 2 Kings 23:13). This caused great wrath against Israel for having to see such a detestable act, and they withdrew. 

The Moabite Stone (also called the Mesha Stele)  has been discovered that contains King Mesha's record of this battle and others with "Omri" who was first in the line of Omride kings that included Ahab, Ahaziah, and Joram.   From his account, he claims to have been delivered from Israel because of the god, Chemosh. Even though Israel withdrew from Kir Hareseth because of Mesha's detestable act, the overall battle was won by the Lord!

REFLECTION 

Elijah and Elisha were two very different people. Elijah was a fiery and dramatic confronter of evil. In this passage, Elisha delivered a quiet prophecy of miraculous provision and victory by harp. Elisha would spend over 50 years demonstrating God's power through caring for people.

Elisha could have tried to be just like Elijah thinking that was the way to be God's servant, but He served God the way God designed him.  I had an Elijah in my life once. It was opposite, she was a quiet and intellectual woman of God; and I thought to be a godly woman, I had to be just like her.  One day, I realized that I could never be like Sheryl, and I just needed to be the woman God made me to be with my particular Gifts, Personality, and Strengths (GPS!), and let Him guide me in how He wanted me to best serve Him!

APPLICATION 

Are you more like the fiery Elijah or the quieter Elisha? 

Elijah and Elisha were definitely different personalities. So, if you have not taken this test, go ahead and do it:
Personality Style Inventory 
PDF version (with greater delineation for each question) 
Online version (with an either/or question which doesn't pick up nuances)
I have discovered this new one that is quite good: 
16Personalities 
I have used the first two since graduate school in the 80's. It is a good basic, free test; but if you have already taken the long-form, official Myers-Briggs Test, that is much more accurate (and expensive).

I also want to include this wonderful lecture about introverts that would even be helpful for you extraverts to watch so that you might understand them better (I am what she refers to as an "ambivert" in that I fall close to the middle and a little over on the introvert side even though people do not believe that when they meet me :))

Here is the video. By the way, I do not necessarily like the title because the story of Elisha is about the power of GOD through an introvert!


Susan Cain: The power of introverts (Ted Talk Link

“There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” — Susan Cain 


PRAYER

Lord, work through us to display Your awesome power to an unbelieving world. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 


Map from: By Kingdoms_of_Israel_and_Judah_map_830.svg: *Oldtidens_Israel_&_Judea.svg: FinnWikiNo derivative work: Richardprins (talk) derivative work: Richardprins (Kingdoms_of_Israel_and_Judah_map_830.svg)
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