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As we come to look in God’s word, I remind my heart and yours that there is one indispensable principle of Bible study, and that is total reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. This is God’s word and only He can unveil the Lord Jesus to our heart. Before we look in the word and go to prayer, I want to share this verse, Song of Solomon 5:2, “I was asleep, but my heart was awake. A voice, my beloved was knocking!” I just want to call attention to a voice; that’s the word. “My beloved was knocking.” Every time you hear the word, the Lord is knocking, and He’s knocking because He’s giving an invitation. Here’s the rest of the verse, “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is drenched with dew and my locks with the damp of the night.”
We know that Song is a song; it’s poetry. So, it’s very graphic, but it said that the lover was knocking at the door with his voice, with his word; he’s knocking. He wants her to open the door. Finally, she does and verse 6 says, “I opened, and he was gone.” I know it’s poetry, but there’s a great truth; when you hear the word of the Lord, it’s His invitation for you to open your life and your heart. He won’t knock forever. Here in the poem, it said, “It’s been a long night, and I’ve been out here, and my hair is drenched with dew; don’t wait too long; open that door.”
Heavenly Father, we thank You that we can trust the indwelling Holy Spirit to show us in a fresh way our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You, Lord, for those You’ve brought here, and we just pray that as You speak, as You knock, our hearts would be open to You. I pray you protect Your people from anything I might say that is not from You. Your word, that goes out of Your mouth, will not return void. We trust that, and we thank You for the promise that whatever the Heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted out. We commit our session unto You in the matchless name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
I welcome all of you, and I want to remind you that even though we’re on lesson #25, you might think, “Oh, I’m lost, because I’ve missed twenty-four lessons.” You’re not lost, because we present Christ, and every time you come to a Bible study where Christ is presented, He has a word for you. Even if this is the first time, you can still expect the Lord to meet with you. That’s a great truth.
We’re nearing the end of our study of Elisha, the servant of the Lord. We did Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings under Elisha’s shadow; he’s just a picture. You didn’t come to see Elijah or Elisha; you’ve come to see the Lord Jesus. That’s why we gather. Probably, we’ll wrap up this whole series next week, because there’s not a lot of Elisha stories remaining.
In our meditation last week, we looked at 2 Kings 6:8-23, and the story was Syria’s attempt to capture and probably kill Elisha when he was at Dothan, and God’s miraculous deliverance. I want to review just a very little bit of that, and we’ll get to our new material.
There are many legitimate ways to look at that wonderful passage, but I focused on chapter 6 verse 15, “Now, when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots were circling the city, and his servant said to him, ‘Alas, my master, what shall we do?’” The main message of the story and the revelation of our Lord revolves around this particular individual. This is the attendant, the servant, of Elisha. This is the new attendant. Gahazi, you remember, disqualified himself and he was dismissed in shame and disgrace, and went away a leper. Now, there’s a new servant, and he’s an apprentice. He’s got to learn the ways of the Lord. He’s just beginning; we don’t know anything about him, and don’t even know his name. We know nothing of his family; we just know that he’s a servant of the Lord, and he’s expressing that by serving Elisha.
By way of review, it seemed to me that the key to that story we saw last week was Elisha’s response to his servant when he looked out and saw the enemy surrounding them. He looked with the natural eye, and all he saw was impending doom, and he cried out in verse 15, “Alas, my master, what shall we do?” He was filled with fear, and Elisha’s response to that is in verse 16 & 17, “And so he answered, ‘Do not fear; those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘Oh Lord, I pray to open his eyes that he may see.’ The Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots afire all around Elisha.”
The message of the story is Elisha’s word, “Do not fear,” stop being afraid. You can see why he was afraid. His natural eye saw the enemy and they were surrounded, and you know that’s a reason for fear. Elisha prayed that his spiritual eyes would be opened. He said, “Lord, open his eyes.” His physical eyes saw an army of men, and saw chariots and horses and shields and swords and armor; that’s what he saw. Now God opened his eyes and he said, “Do not fear.” When God opened his eyes, he saw God’s army of angels, his invisible army and chariots afire all around. “Greater is He in you than he in the world.” He said, “There’s more for us than for them.”
Again, go back to the “do not fear”. Is it possible to have peace, even when your natural eye sees only an enemy, and it looks like there’s no escape, no way out, and overwhelming odds, and you’re surrounded. Is it possible to have peace? According to this story, and I think the balance of scripture, there’s only one cure for fear in all of its subtle forms, and that is that the Lord would open your eyes to spiritual reality, that you would see. I’m not talking about angels; I’m talking about spiritual truth illustrated by those angels. The New Testament fully developed form is, “Keeping your eye on Jesus,” because the Bible says, “He is our Peace.” Peace is not something different than Him. He is our peace. So, the cure for fear is always vision; it’s always eyesight; it’s always keeping your eye on the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 3:16, listen to how wonderful this verse is; it’s a benediction. It says, “And now, may the Lord of Peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.” Isn’t that a wonderful verse!? And then it says, “The Lord be with you.” That’s your hope for peace.
I’m not going to retell the story. That teaching is available on CD or online; you can get that. I emphasize again, if we are seeing with our hearts, if we’re seeing the Lord, we can have the joy of the Lord and the peace of God that marks our life. We read in 2 Corinthians 6:10, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” You can be sorrowful, and still rejoice at the same time. Sorrow and joy are not inconsistent. I can be sad, on the level of earth, and still have the joy of the Lord in my heart. Some circumstances are going to make you sad, but if your eyes are on Christ, you know you still have joy deep down inside. We can have sorrow and joy at the same time. We see that over and over again, especially at a graveside of some Christian who has gone to glory. You see a loved one, a husband, a wife, a friend, and they’re crying, and those tears are real, and that sorrow is real, and the loss is real, and the temporary absence is painful. They sorrow, but not as those who have no hope. Deep down there’s still that joy unspeakable. Jesus said, “If you love Me you’d rejoice; I go to the Father.” We know where those loved ones went.
That’s not true with fear. Sorrow and joy can coexist, but fear and joy are incompatible. You can’t be afraid and have the joy of the Lord at the same time. Perfect love will cast out fear. God wants us to not have fear. The command in the Bible given more than any other command is “fear not”, don’t be afraid.
This apprentice/attendant of Elisha had to learn to have his eyes opened to spiritual reality. Since eyesight followed all through that story, 2 Kings 6:17, “Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes,’” verse 18, “Strike this people with blindness,” verse 20, “Oh Lord, open the eyes of these men.” How was Christ revealed in that story? I felt rather rushed last week because I got long winded, and when I came to the end, I felt like I was rushing. I don’t want the revelation of Christ to be foggy; I want you to see how this reveals the Lord.
Elisha is the man that looks like Jesus; we went into that in our earlier study. Over and over again, Elisha, what he said and how he acted, represented the Lord Jesus. In this story he prays; he prays twice. He prays once for his servant, “Open his eyes,” and then he prays for the unbeliever, for the enemy, and he says, “Open his eyes, too,” but it’s not the same prayer. It sounds like it. For the servant, for the Christian, he prayed, “Open his eyes and deliver him from fear,” but for the enemy he prayed, “Open his eyes, and make him afraid, let him see what a dangerous position he’s in.” When he opened the eyes of the enemy, they were surrounded by the army of the Lord, and he wanted them to see his fear. But he couldn’t say, “Don’t fear,” because God is not going to force a will. It’s up to you, but He did say, “I want you to love them..”
2 Kings 6:22, “He answered, ‘You shall not kill them,’” they were scared to death; they were dead ducks. “’Will you kill those you’ve taken captive with your sword and your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.’ So, he prepared a great feast for them, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again to the land of Israel.” Let them see their danger, and then love them, feed them, and send them away and hope that they respond to that love. All of that became the picture. Elisha is out here picturing Jesus, but Jesus is not out here; He’s in here. Elisha prayed; Jesus is in you praying. So, what should you pray for the Christian continually? Open his eyes that he might see spiritual reality. What can you pray for those that don’t know the Lord? “Oh Lord, let me guide them to the place where they see their danger, where they see what a terrible position they’re in, and then let me love them and hope that they respond to that love and repent and turn to the Lord.” That’s what we looked at last week.
Let me introduce this next story. I want to remind you that these Elisha stories that we’ve been going through, the Holy Spirit didn’t put all of them in chronological order. It’s the story of redemption; it’s the story of salvation. But they’re not necessarily in chronological order, like this came first and then this came second and this came third, and so on. For example, the events in chapter 8 actually took place before the events in chapter 5. It’s not in chronological order. A famine was mentioned in chapter 6:25, “There was a great famine in Samaria.” A famine is mentioned in chapter 8, “Elisha spoke to the woman whose son he had restored to life, saying, ‘Arise, go with your household, and sojourn wherever you can sojourn; for the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come on the land for seven years.’” So, there’s a seven-year famine. In fact, at the end of 2 Kings 4, you remember, when we saw the miracle of the meal put into the pot of poison stew, that was in the time of a famine. So, where do these famines line up? Which came first, and all of that?
The events are in a spiritual and not a chronological order. Sometimes we don’t even know who the king is; it doesn’t mention him. It just says “the king”, “the king”, so you have to study the context to see what time it is, and is that King Ahaziah, is it King Ahab, is it Jerhoram, is it Jehu, is it Amri? Who is the king? So, sometimes it’s vague and it’s hard. The arrangement, again, is spiritual.
It’s a rather long section that we’re about to look at, chapter 6:24 all the way to the end of chapter 7—30 verses. I want to make a couple of introductory observations to set it up, and then I want to point to what I think is the main direction of the story, and then, of course, the reason you got up this morning and came here, how does it reveal Jesus. That’s why we gather; we want to see the Lord. These stories set it up, so that we see some wonderful aspect of our wonderful Lord.
Let me make a couple of observations. The first I’ve already hinted at, and I’ll say it again, the famine in chapter 6, verse 25, “There was a great famine in the land of Samaria. Behold, they besieged until a donkey’s head was sold for 80 shekels of silver and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.” A great famine in Samaria, and that’s different than the seven-year famine in chapter 8, the end of the verse, “The Lord has called for a famine; it will come on the land for seven years.” In both cases, there is strong reason to believe that it’s the same king. It’s Jehoram; it’s the son of Ahab and Jezebel. It’s a cat worshipping idolator. He does not know the Lord, and he does not seek the Lord.
In both stories, it’s the same king but he acts differently in a different famine. For example, in chapter 8, the king was talking with Gahazi, the servant of the man of God, saying, “Please, relate to me all the great thing Elisha has done.” The king seems favorably disposed to Elisha in that famine. That’s not how it was in chapter 6. In this famine, he’s not interested in hearing about the wonderful miracles of Elisha. Verse 31, “And he said, ‘May God do to me and more, also, if the head of Elisha, the son of Shaphat, remains on him today.’” In this famine, he wants Elisha dead; he’s blaming Elisha for this famine. It’s sort of like when Elijah prayed, and there was a famine. Well, it’s the same kind of thing.
This devastated the king. Notice in verse 30, “When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body.” So, it’s a different famine, and this one is a lot different and more severe. In fact, that’s the second observation, that the famine in chapter 6 is very severe.
I want to show a few illustrations of how severe it is. Verse 25, “There was a great famine in Samaria; behold, they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a fourth of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.” There are a couple of graphic pictures here, as you can see. One is the skull, the head of a donkey, and the other is pigeon poop, the dung of a dove. Both are rather repulsive, but you have to understand that it’s what they’re eating because of the famine. They’re starving.
To start off, let me just give you Leviticus 11:3, “Whatever divides a hoof, thus making a split hoof and chews the cud among the animals, that you may eat.” In other words, God said that a donkey was unclean; it didn’t chew the cud and it didn’t have a cloved hoof. So, right away these Jews are eating something very repulsive, but it’s also forbidden by the Lord; this is an unclean animal.
Don’t get all excited, because if you go into the Hebrew and try to figure out eight shekels of silver and what is that at that time, and the five shekels and all of that, and how does that relate to our money, that’s not the point. The point is that it was very expensive; that’s the point. It’s not important; it’s not in the Bible. I’m just giving an illustration. Let’s just use thirty dollars; we can picture that. Then, let’s just say ten dollars. A donkey’s head—and there’s not a lot of meat, by the way, on a donkey’s head—would cost you thirty dollars for that meal, and then you could try to find some meat on the donkey’s head. Just a portion of dove’s dung would cost you ten dollars. That’s how bad the famine was. So, you get the idea.
It’s bad enough that they’re eating unclean animals, but how much meat are you going to get off the skull of a donkey, and how appetizing is either one of these tasting? It’s not very appetizing. According to 2 Kings 6:5, you had to pay a fortune; eighty shekels of silver, whatever that was, for just that little piece of meat that you could scrape off the skull of a donkey. You see the point; the famine was severe.
But there’s another thing besides the skull of donkey and dove’s dung that made it severe. If you thought meat from a donkey’s head and a portion of dove’s dung was repulsive, listen to verse 28, “And the king said to her, ‘What is the matter with you?’ She answered, ‘This woman said to me, “Give me your son, that we may eat him today, and we’ll eat my son tomorrow.” So, we boiled my son and ate him, and I said to her on the next day, “Give me your son, that we may eat him,” but she’s hidden her son.’” Does that shed any light on how desperate this famine was? It’s a terrible famine; it drove them to boil and eat their own children. How contrary that is to a mother to do such a thing as that!
There’s a third observation I want to make before we get into the story; not only was it a different famine from chapter 8 and not only was it very severe, but this famine is marked by God as a chastening from the Lord; it’s not just weather; it’s a chastening of the Lord. God warned about that. It’s not like this came on unexpectedly. Listen to Deuteronomy 28:47&48, this is Moses, “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart for the abundance of things, therefore, you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, and nakedness and lack of things; He’ll put an iron yoke on your neck until He’s destroyed you.” Verse 53, “Then, you shall eat the offspring of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, during the siege and the distress by which the enemy shall oppress you.” You have the same warning given in Leviticus 26:27&29, “Yet, if in spite of this, you do not obey Me, but you act with hostility against Me, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat.” This severity brought on the chastening of the Lord; it illustrates it.
Israel at this time was an idolatrous people, and they had been warned many times; they were up to their chins in cat worship. They were not looking to the Lord at all. One of God’s methods of chastening, especially a nation, is war. In our day I think we ought to sit up and pay attention to a lot of things that are going on. This is the case here. 2 Kings 6:24, “It came about after this, Benhadad, king of Aram,” that’s Syria, “gathered all his army and went up and besieged Samaria.” What it means when it says “besieged”, is that it cut off access; it surrounded it. It was a military band; you couldn’t get in or out. Nothing could come in, no supplies, and nothing could get out. That was one of the strategies of war, to starve them out, and starve them to the place where they’re too weak to fight and starve them to the place where they’ll finally surrender.
We have no way of knowing this particular siege, Syria surrounding Israel, how long it was or when it began. We read in verse 23 from the last story, that the marauding band of the Arameans did not come again to the land of Israel. That was verse 23, but now look at verse 24, “It came about after this, Benhadad, king of Syria, gathered his army and went up and besieged Samaria. One verse says that they didn’t come and attack anymore, and the very next verse says that they came and attacked. How much time was in between those verses? Was it a year? Was it a couple of years? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but there sure is a difference. Syria laid siege against Samaria, which is the capital of Israel. We don’t know how long it was. It may have been a long time, to create a famine like that. I know from the Bible, when Assyria laid siege on Jerusalem, that was three years. That’s a long time to surround Jerusalem. I know when Babylon laid siege on Judah, the southern kingdom, it was thirty months; the Bible tells us that. I know when Babylon laid siege on Tyre, it was thirteen years. We don’t know how long they surrounded to create a famine like that. Clearly it was from the Lord; it was chastening from the Lord.
Having given that background, whatever revelation of Christ we’re going to see in this story is in terms of a severe chastening that came from the Lord. That’s why I gave that background. There are many ways to approach this story, as every story. In our last session we focused on one man, the apprentice, the new servant of Elisha, and everything in the story was revolving around that one man. I’m suggesting that in this chapter, there’s one man again. It’s not Elisha’s servant. There’s one man, and the Holy Spirit focuses this whole story on this one person. I would like to identify that person, and then show you how that is going to reveal our Lord Jesus.
2 Kings 6:26, “As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall…” All eyes on the king of Israel. Verse 30, “When the king heard this, the words of the woman, he tore his clothes. He was passing by on the wall, and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body.” Verse 31, “Then he said, ‘May God do to me more, also, if the head of Elisha, the son of Shaphat, remains on him today.’” In our last story, he had respect for Elisha. He said, “My father, my father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them? Shall we smite them?” He’s calling Elisha “father”. Now he wants his head; now he wants to kill him. It’s the same king. We’re going to focus on the king, and I’m quite sure, and all commentators agree, this is Jehoram, the son of Ahab. All the events in this chapter deal with Jehoram, the son of Ahab and Jezebel, the king of Israel. Jehoram knew this chastening was from the Lord. 2 Kings 6:33, the end of the chapter says, “Behold, this evil is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” It’s Jehoram that said, “This evil is from the Lord. He knew it.
I’m going to tell a little bit of a story here, and ask you to enter into it, I hope, to my Spirit controlled imagination. This chapter is like the fifteenth round in a prize fight. Jehoram, all through the record, has been fighting the Lord. He’s been resisting the Lord, round after round after round, over and over. Even though he was an idolator, the Lord loved him, and the Lord wanted him as His child. In this chapter, what we have, and that’s why I called attention to the chronology, because in this chapter what you have is God’s final attempt to reach Jehoram; this is the last round. In this story we’re going to see God reach out in a way that is so wonderful and so beautiful trying to reach this ungodly king.
We have many warnings, Proverbs 29:1, “A man who often hardens his neck after much reproof, will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.” God will go after you time and time and time again, and as we began, He’ll knock with His voice, and He’s drenched with dew, and standing on the outside. It’s a long night for Him; He’s knocking and knocking, “Let Me in, let Me in.” But then suddenly, without remedy, God turns away, and stops knocking, and draws no more. It’s a terrible time. Genesis 6:3, “And the Lord said, ‘My Spirit will not always strive with man.’” He’ll strive and strive and strive, but not always. Romans 1:28, “Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind to do the things that are not proper.” We’re told that the original language is that not only did God give them over, but God gave them up. It’s terrible thing when God gives up on you; it’s a terrible thing when God gives up on me. It’s a terrible thing when God gives up on anybody. That’s Jehoram now; he’s about to face that. This is God’s last attempt to reach him.
I want to show you how this story is a summary of all God’s attempts to reach Jehoram. Every part of this story is a new invitation to respond. I’m going to ask for your patience; I don’t want to take too much of your patience, but I’ve got to give some background, building up to this story.
I want to begin with Ahab and Jezebel because Jehoram is a son of Ahab and Jezebel. 1 Kings 21:25, “Surely, there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel, his wife, incited him. He acted very abominably in following idols.” I’m not going to go through and mention all his sins, but he was one wicked man. 1 Kings 16:30, “Ahab, the son of Amri, did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.” And at the end it says that he went to serve Baal and worship him. Because Ahab and Jezebel were so wicked, God put a curse on their house, on their family. 1 Kings 21:20, “Ahab said to Elijah, ‘Have you found me, oh my enemy?’ And he answered, ‘I have found you, because you’ve sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon, and I will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free in Israel.’” A tremendous curse was put on Ahab’s house, which means that Jehoram was born in the wrong family. He’s in a family that’s under a curse, and he knew it.
Jehoram knew that his father and mother were killed because of their idolatry. That should have been a warning. He knew that his brother, Ahaziah, was also killed because of his idolatry, and he wouldn’t turn to the Lord. He certainly knew how the prophet felt about Baal worship. Remember when he met him out in the battlefield, 2 King 3:13, “Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father, the prophets of your mother.’” Why now are you wanting help from the God of heaven; go to your false god. Then he said that if it weren’t for Jehoshaphat being here, I wouldn’t even look at you and wouldn’t even talk to you. That’s how Elisha spoke to Jehoram.
2 Kings 3:2, “He did evil in the sight of the Lord, though not like his father and his mother; he put away the sacred pillar of Baal which his father had made. Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from that.” Because his parents died of Baal worship, and because his brother because of Baal worship, and because the prophet condemned him because of Baal worship, he must have felt a little guilty, so he put Baal worship away. But he didn’t turn to the Lord; he turned to cat worship, instead. Now he’s worshipping the animals. He’s not responding, even though he’s had these warnings.
Though he was in a family under a curse and he didn’t respond, the Lord still loved him and wanted to rescue him, so He gave him another chance. 2 Kings 3, and this is when he went to war against Edom. This is when he recruited Jehoshaphat in the battle, and they got mixed up and they went the wrong way, and ended up lost in the desert, and the enemy surrounded them. They were dying of thirst; some of their animals died of thirst, and they were in danger of dying of thirst. They couldn’t turn back; the enemy were on one side, and they were dying of thirst, but God rescued him. He did a miracle. Remember the trenches; he gave them a word to, “Dig trenches; there will be no rain and there will be no wind. In the morning those trenches will be filled with water.” He rescued them from dying of thirst. Then he said in verse 18, “This is but a slight thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also give the Moabites into your hands.” He not only delivered them from dying from thirst, He delivered them from dying from the sword.
Did Jehoram respond? The answer is no; he still went back to his idols, even though God saved him. He had a very hard heart. Even though he didn’t listen to the warning, and even though he didn’t respond to the miracles, the Lord still reaches out.
We saw last week another deliverance, when the Lord delivered the Syrians into his hands. Remember how excited he was? He was being plagued by these Syrians, and God led the Syrian army right into the middle, surrounded by his army. He was so excited, verse 21, “The king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, ‘My father, shall I kill them; shall I kill them?’” He’s got the enemy army right at his fingertips; God did that for him. How many chances is God going to give this wicked Jehoram, the sons of Ahab and Jezebel?”
But God reaches out again. Chapter 8 verse 4, “Now the king was talking with Gahazi, and the servant of the man of God said, ‘Please, relate to me the great things Elisha has done.’” Now he’s hearing testimony of all the miracles that God has done. Not only did he hear of all the miracles, but he was an eyewitness of resurrection. Verse 5, “Gahazi said,” right at that time this woman walked in with her son, “’ My lord, oh king, this is the woman, this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.’” “You have an opportunity not only to hear about the mighty works of God, but in front of your eyes you see someone that God raised from the dead. How many chances, Jehoram, are you going to get?” But we read the record that there was no repentance. There was only hardening and turning back to cat worship, but does the Lord give up on him? God loves him.
He cries out in terror in verse 7 of chapter 5, “When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Am I God to kill and make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of leprosy? Consider how he is seeking a quarrel against me.’” And then in verse 8, “It happened that when Elisha, the man of God, heard the king of Israel had torn his clothes, then he sent word to the king saying, ‘Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he’ll know that there is a prophet in Israel.’” Once again, he was delivered. He said, “I can’t; how in the world am I going to cure a leper?” And the man of God said, “Send him here and you’ll know.” He was warned by his parents’ death, his brother’s death, and he was delivered from thirst and the sword, and he had the army of the enemy brought right to his feet, he had heard testimony of the works of the Lord, he was an eyewitness of the resurrection, he saw God’s ability to cleanse a leper, and he does not respond. That brings us to our story. So, all of that was background, so that we can look at ground fifteen, the last round. I see this story as a clincher, as a summary of God’s heart, trying to reach this terrible and wicked man. The cleansing of Naaman, the leper, detailed the gospel. We went through that and saw what a wonderful good new it is, but this story lays out the gospel, I think, even more completely than the cleansing of Naaman, the leper.
In picture form, this is the Lord’s final knock and final invitation. I want to tell the story in terms of that invitation. God is inviting, for the last time, a very hard hearted idolator. I don’t want to be irreverent and put words into God’s mouth, so I’ve asked the Lord to protect me from that, but I want to carry out a conversation between God and Jehoram, as He invites him, and I’m going to weave the story into that conversation.
It begins that God is speaking, “Jehoram, look where you are; you have closed your heart to every attempt I’ve made to redeem you, to save you; you haven’t listened to the warning; you haven’t responded to the miracle that I saved you from dying of thirst and dying of the sword. I brought an army right at your feet; you could have had victory. You sat and heard my prophet tell miracle after miracle; you were an eyewitness of resurrection, and you saw My power to cleanse leprosy, but you’ve forced me to this severe chastening. I had to bring this terrible chastening on you. You’re at the bottom; it can’t get worse.”
“Look at your diet; you’re eating from a donkey’s head, and you’re eating dove dung; look where you are. Women are eating their children, and you can’t get lower. I love you, and I’ve brought you down; this is chastening. What’s your response? Verse 31, ‘May God do to me and more, also, if the head of Elisha, the son of Shaphat remains on today.’ You want to kill My servant. After all I’ve done and after all the times I’ve called you, don’t you know,” and here’s part of the story, God is speaking, “Don’t you know that this severe chastening that has brought you to the bottom I can take away and turn things around in one night? Don’t you see that?”
2 Kings 7:1, “Elisha said, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord; thus says the Lord, ‘Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” “Overnight I can turn this… You are spending a fortune on unnourishing, illegal, unlawful food; it’s horrible. Tomorrow, I could sell you the best of the wheat and the meat and everything at a bargain price—overnight. And Jehoram, you are so afraid of the enemy, I can take care of the enemy.”
2 Kings 7:6&7, “And the Lord caused the army of Arameans to hear a sound of chariots, a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, ‘Behold, the king of Israel is hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the king of the Egyptians, to come upon us.’ Therefore, they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses and their donkeys, even the camp just as it was, and fled for their life.” “Jehoram, I opened My servants’ eyes so they could see My invisible army; I opened the enemy’s ears so they could hear my invisible army. They heard them, and they fled. I did that, and I could do it. Jehoram, overnight I can change this; I can take away My chastening and I can make you prosperous. All you need to do is to turn to the One, True and only living God.” And then He said, “It’s all by grace.” You see how He’s painting the gospel.
2 Kings 7:3, “There were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate, and they said to one another, ‘Why do we sit here until we die?’” You know what leprosy pictures (sin). “These men are lepers, and they also were cursed; Jehoram, they’re in the same place you are; it’s life or death for you. I led them by My grace; they didn’t deserve it; they were undeserving and ill-deserving, and I led them by grace to the place of My victory, and when they arrived there, I had already dealt with the enemy; that was a finished work. And what did they find? They found tents and they found horses and they found silver and they found gold and they found clothing and they found rich food in abundance, and they found discarded weapons and they found chariots. They were rich; these lepers were led by Me, by grace freely into the place of all abundance. And then, what did they decide to do? They decided to share it with you.”
Verse 9, “They said to one another, ‘We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent; if we wait until morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now, therefore, come, let us go and tell the king’s household.” “Jehoram, you’re without excuse; look at what I’ve done. I can remove the chastening in one day; I can turn everything around by My grace; I can take care of the enemy; I can let you hear of all the abundance that can come to you. But there’s one more thing you need to know, Jehoram.”
Verse 2 of chapter 7, “The royal officer on whose hand the king was leaning answered the man of God and said, ‘Behold, if the Lord should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?’ Then he said, ‘Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat of it.’” “Jehoram, I’m ready to turn things around, and I’m ready to do it overnight, and I’m ready to lead you where I’ve dealt with the enemy, and I’m ready to give you abundance, but if you don’t believe, you’ll see it but you won’t taste it. You’ve got to have faith.” What a message! That’s the gospel, and that’s what He now illustrates to Jehoram.
So, God has promised that He would do all those things. Question: and I’m going to answer it, did Jehoram respond? Yes, but not positively. He turned again to his idols, and he turned again to his animal worship, and he got himself in a war—again, another war. This time, 2 Kings 8:28, “He went with Joram ( Jehoram) the son of Ahab to war against Hazael king of Aram (Syria) again, and the Arameans wounded Joram….so the king Joram returned to be healed in Jezreel…” I called the last chapter round fifteen; maybe this is round sixteen, because he’s wounded. “Jehoram, listen up; it’s getting close. Now you’re wounded.” At least now he has time to consider everything.
There’s a sad sequel to the story. 2 Kings 9:1-10, we read about the anointing of Jehu, who was also wicked, but he was God’s instrument. Chapter 9 verse 7, with that anointing came this command, “You shall strike the house of Ahab,” there was a curse on the house, and now it’s arriving. “You shall strike the house of Ahab, your master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants, the prophets, the blood of the servants of the Lord at the hand of Jezebel, for the whole house of Ahab shall perish. I will cut off from Ahab every male person, both bond and free in Israel.” So, now Jehu, the instrument of the Lord, has a sword in his hand, and he’s going after the house of Ahab.
Where does he go first? 2 Kings 9:16, “Then Jehu rode in a chariot and went to Jezreel, for Joram was lying there.” He’s been wounded, and now with the sword in his hand, Jehu goes to the place where Jehoram is. Verse 20, “The watchman reported,” they saw him coming, ‘He came even to them, and he did not return; and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi, for he drives furiously.’” How graphic is that! He’s not only driving, but he’s a wild man; he’s driving furiously, because now the judgment of the Lord is about to fall on the house of Ahab, and he’s coming swiftly. The hour comes, verse 22, “When Jehoram saw Jehu, he said, ‘Is it peace, Jehu?’ He answered, ‘What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother, Jezebel, and her witchcrafts are so many?’” What peace? There is no more peace.
Jehoram, even though he’s wounded, makes his way to a chariot and tries to run away. Verse 24, “Jehu drew his bow with his full strength and shot Joram between his arms; and the arrow went through his heart, and he sank in his chariot.” All the opportunities were spurned; he saw it, but he didn’t taste it. He couldn’t enter in.
The story reveals the heart of the Lord. I hope you saw in the background who was Christ in this story. I love 2 Peter 3:15, “Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” I’ve had, since the Lord saved me in 1958, I’ve had many, many revelations of the Lord, but as I reflect back, I don’t know any as wonderful as His patience toward me. I’ve been a hard son of the Lord, and He’s been so patient. I would have given up on me a long time ago. I really would have. When I think of the rebellion that I had along the way, and how many chances that He gave me. God is long-suffering, but He’s not omni patient. The Lord is omnipotent, He’s all powerful, but He’s not omni patient. The Lord is omniscient, He’s all-knowing, but He’s not omni patient. The Lord is omnipresent, He’s present everywhere, but He’s not omni patient. If He were omni patient, He’d never judge, and there would be a point where to be patient one second longer would violate His justice and His holiness, and so He’ll be patient as long as He can until that would violate His justice, and then judgment must fall. There’s a point. This story presents our Lord Jesus as long-suffering.
2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, today is the day of salvation.” This is the day. Praise God for His patience. I don’t know your life. I’m just guessing that you’re like me, and you probably have had a lot of rebellion in your life. Look where you are! You’re here at a Bible study! How did you get here? The patience of the Lord, the long-suffering of the Lord, that’s why you’re here. It’s because God has had mercy on you. We began this story and I’m going to say it again, “A voice! My beloved was knocking and wanted to come in. ‘My beloved, my lovely one, my fair one, my dove, my beautiful one, open to me,’” but when she arrived, He was gone.
I don’t know what God is doing in your heart, but listen up, huh, and hear that knock and respond. Don’t be like Jehoram. God gave us this story as a great warning, and also a great revelation of how patient He is and how much He tries, no matter how rebellious we are. With that we’ll close in prayer.
Heavenly Father, thank You for putting these stories in the Bible and helping us to begin to see how wonderful You are and how great You are. We pray that we would not presume on Your great patience; we don’t ever want there to be a time that You give up on us. Thank You for Your love and Your grace, even when we were enemies, you loved us. Thank You, Lord, for Your patience in our life, and for Your long-suffering. We pray that we would honor You with an open heart and responsive heart. Work in us what You did for Lydia; give us a heart that responds to You. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.