2 Kings 1-25 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight 2KIN1
The Bible from 30,000 feet, soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Father, we're instructed in your word to do that, to bring voice to those who are voiceless, to speak up for those who cannot, those who are oppressed. Father, we do pray that through our prayers, through our calls, through any action that you might prompt us to take that this scourge that has been on our nation for far too long, at least in this regard, in this style, in this manner in which it is being carried out would be stopped. I pray that your people would rise up and be that voice to bring this to a focus, to bring this to attention, and that, in this regard, the gates of hell would not prevail. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Well, besides that one, there are other blights on our nation. And one of them is the Civil War. When this nation divided and, through strife, decided to fight one another, the North against the South, the president at the time, Abraham Lincoln, went through 12 generals. Not only that, but he was driven to his knees time and time again because of the pressure that he felt during that Civil War. It is estimated that as many Americans died in the American Civil War almost as those Americans who died in every single other war we've ever fought together. That's a lot of lost lives, all because of a split, a division, certain issues that divided us, and fellow countrymen took up sword or gun at odds with others.
In First and Second Kings, we have something similar. We have seen in First Kings a major event, the split of the nation, the nation that was once united 12 tribes under a monarchy. The major event in First Kings was a division between north and south, 10 tribes in the north, Judah and Benjamin, two tribes in the south.
The major event in Second Kings follows on the heels of that division. And that is the collapse of the nation. It is divided in First Kings. It will eventually and finally collapse in Second Kings. The north and the south will both be taken into their respective captivities.
Now typically on Wednesday nights, it's always been my joy to sit in the stool, open my Bible, and go verse by verse through a chapter or two. The hardest thing to do is to cover 25 chapters in the short length of time that you and I have. So we're going to fly over it. This is the Bible from 30,000 feet. We're just going to touch on the highlights or, I should say, low lights of this book.
Have you ever heard of a book or read the book by Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities? It's a novel about two cities set in the French Revolution, Paris and London. You could call Second Kings a tale of two kingdoms, because it follows a parallel course of the northern and southern kingdom.
I'll tell you this upfront in advance. It's not an easy book to get through. It's hard to follow. It ping pongs between the south and the north, a king up here, a king down there, a battle here, a battle there, a prophet here, a prophet there, and it kind of bounces back and forth. I'm going to try to bring some semblance and cohesion to it and tell you why it has done that way.
But we follow, essentially, two parallel tracks, the track of unrighteousness and the track of righteousness. It is a horrible time. And yet, God raises up some pretty good people during this time to speak truth to the kings of these nations, even raise up good kings who are the kings themselves.
A little bit of background. I mentioned the kingdom split. It happened in 930 BC. In the year 930 BC, the kingdom split. Rehoboam took the two in the south. Jeroboam took the tribes in the north. Now let me give you another fair warning. Some of the weirdest names you've ever heard of are in this book. You're going to see. I don't expect you to remember them, especially because some of the weird names are also known as-- they're known by other names just as weird. So you'll have one weird named guy also known as another weird named guy, but they're the same guy. So I'm just warning you, it gets confusing.
OK, so the kingdom split in 930 BC, the headquarters up north in Israel is Samaria. Samaria will continue after the split a couple hundred years until the year 722 BC. 722 BC is a key date. You should at least write that down if not know that by heart. And I think you're up for knowing it by heart. 722 BC is when the northern kingdom collapses. It falls to the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians come in, destroy it, occupy it, and repopulate it.
Meanwhile, down south, they linger on for another 132 years. They are not taken captive by the Assyrians. They last a century and a half almost until the Babylonians come in, and then the southern kingdom collapses.
Second Kings, as I've gone through it and I read through the whole book today to get a little refresher course on it get up to speed, it reminds me of the earlier episodes of American Idol. You remember American Idol. There's always one or two great contestants, and then the rest are like really bad singers.
And so that's what you have here, a couple of standout individuals who are really good and really godly and really righteous. But they are the exception to the rule. The rest are bad players, bad singers, and they get kicked off the show.
Altogether, Israel up north, and when I say Israel in this context of this study, I'm talking about the 10 northern tribes, right? When I talk about Judah. I'm talking about the two down south. So south and north, Judah down south, Israel up north. Israel up north has a total of 20 kings after the division with Jeroboam and Rehoboam, 20 kings. Every single one of them, every single one of them is evil.
Meanwhile, down south, there are also 20, but actually 19 kings and one queen. Gals, you might like that, but she's not very good. Her name is Athalia. You'll be introduced her a little later on in chapter 11. So you'll have 19 kings down south plus one queen, so 20 monarchs altogether. Eight of the 20 are good. 12 are bad. So the only really good standout ones are the ones down south.
Now God warns them. They don't listen. God judges them. There is this principle that is reinforced in Second Kings that is seen throughout the Bible but it's highlighted here, and that's this, sin can be forgiven in an instant. But consequences may last a lifetime.
A person's sin can be forgiven at the moment they ask God for forgiveness and trust in Christ. It's gone. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. All things become new. Awesome. Hallelujah.
However, if a person has given themselves to drugs or alcohol or a certain behavior, they're going to reap consequences of that sometimes through an entire lifetime. That principle is highlighted here. But it is seen in very stark form in a few scriptures.
In the Book of Job, there's a guy named Eliphaz who said, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble will reap the same. Sound familiar? Galatians chapter six, do not be deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. He who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.
Then there is that verse in Hosea chapter eight, which says, for they sowed the wind, and they will reap the whirlwind. So forgiveness can happen instantaneously. Consequences linger on sometimes through a lifetime. That's one of the things that are seen in this book.
However, the other thing that is seen is that God is a covenant keeping God and a pursuing God. He doesn't let you just stay in that horrible place. He runs after you to rescue you. He reaches out even during your worst times of rebellion.
Case in point in the New Testament, Judas Iscariot. Jesus predicted that he would betray him. He did. But Jesus reached out to Judas. And the final time we see him reaching out to Judas is at the Last Supper when he invites Judas to sit next to him in the place of honor. Knowing what was coming, predicting what was going to happen, yet, he brought him intimately to a place of honor, I believe, still reaching out to him till the very last moment.
Jesus said to the church of Thyatira, I gave her space to repent, but she repented not. So during this time, you will see how God sends this ambassador, this emissary, this prophet, several of them. Two of the notable ones are Elijah and Elisha. Elijah, we saw a little bit of last time in First Kings. We'll see a little bit more of him, but he quickly passes off the scene in this book.
He is succeeded by another prophet named Elisha. We'll look at both of those in the early part of this book. What did they do? They're like doctors or nurses to defibrillate the bad heart of the nation, to shock it into turning back to God.
But it was too little too late. It doesn't work. They don't pay heed. It doesn't last very long. And so we have this book laid out before us. Let me give it to you in two sections, two swaths. We outline it into two numbers, one and two, first of all, the struggling kingdoms, number two, the surviving kingdom.
The struggling kingdoms plural, that's north and south, the parallel tracks, righteousness and righteousness running through the book, especially chapters one through 17. Then in chapter 18, it focuses on one nation only, the surviving kingdom. That is the kingdom of Judah chapter 18 to 25.
Let's begin with this struggling kingdom, the tracks of these two nations Israel and Judah, one through 17. Do you remember First Kings? It's been a couple of weeks. It ended with the ministry of Elijah, J is in that word, Elijah the prophet.
Chapters two through eight introduce us to his successor Elisha. The book of Second King opens up with the king up north in Samaria, northern kingdom, called Ahaziah. Ahaziah is in the north. Jehoram is in the south. And Elijah and Elisha will interact with them. OK?
So chapters one through 17, 12 kings are highlighted in the north from Ahaziah to Hoshea. Told you there's some awesome names here. And then there are 16 kings in the south from Jehoram to Zedekiah. Don't worry. There will not be a test on the names of Second Kings.
I want to take it a chapter one verse eight and introduce you to the prophet Elijah. Again, he's about to go off the scene. But notice how he is described. Look at the section where it says, he's a hairy man, wearing a leather belt around his waist. So just a gnarly looking dude like Bigfoot.
And he said, the king said, oh, I know who that is. That's Elijah the Tishbite. Tishba is up in Gilead. On the way, our last day in Galilee, if you've been on a tour, and we head down south, right off to the east side of the bus is the area of Tishba or Gilead where he is from.
Now go to chapter two verse one. It came to pass when the Lord is about to take Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Now to us they sound similar, and we get them confused. Do we not?
Now the reason we get these two confused is because of the English language. This is not how they sound in Hebrew. It's not Elijah in Hebrew. And it's not Elisha in Hebrew. It is that way in English, so they sound similar.
The Hebrew pronunciation of Elijah is Eliyahu. And the pronunciation of Elisha is Elisha. So you don't get Eliyahu and Elisha confused, but you do get Elijah and Elisha confused. They just sound too similar, so that's why I'm going to really be pronunciation heavy when I get to their name.
Go down to verse nine. So it was when they crossed over that Elijah said to Elisha, ask what may I do for you before I am taken away from you. Now Elisha must have anticipated this question, because he was on the ready when he said, please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.
Now at first read, at first blush, you might think, boy, guy's asking for a lot, like twice the miracle power. Is that what he means, double portion, twice the energy and ability? No. The idea of a double portion when, in a Hebrew family, a father passed on the inheritance to his children, the firstborn son got a double portion indicating that he was the successor, the family successor of the father. So what Elisha is asking from Elijah is, let me be your ministry's successor. Let me take over the ministry that you began. That's the idea of a double portion.
So he said, well, you've asked a hard thing. You know, I would say that to anybody who says, I want to be in ministry. Man, I want to be a minister. I want to serve the Lord. What you ask is a hard thing.
I could tell you horror stories, and I won't unless you really get serious about ministry, and then I will. In fact, I had a pastor, Pastor Chuck Smith, who when young man said, I want to go into the ministry, he would, in some cases, discourage them. And I remember asking Chuck, why do you discourage some of us who want to go into the ministry?
He said, listen, the ministry is so hard, if my words can discourage you, you shouldn't be in it. Because there'll be enough real discouragement that'll knock you off your feet. So he says, what you ask is a hard thing.
Nevertheless, if you see me when I'm taken up from you, it shall be so for you. But if not, it shall not be so. Then it happened as they continued on and talked that, suddenly, a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire and separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Now stop there. Elijah did not die. Right? He's taken up into heaven. He goes up into heaven. Does not die. He escapes death. So he is the exception to the rule. The rule is it is appointed to every man once to die. After this, the judgment. That's the rule.
However, God's free to break his own rule. And he does so with Elijah. Elijah doesn't die. By the way, Enoch doesn't die either. Remember Enoch in the book of Genesis? He was instantly translated into heaven. He walked with God. And he was not, for God took him. So God has an exception to the rule. Elijah is one of the exceptions. He does not die.
However, it is my belief that he will die. I'd just like to throw that out and just see people's reaction to that. He didn't die, but he will. Go, when? Now this is my belief. I believe Elijah will come back. I know he will come back because Jesus said he would. And he quoted Malachi chapter four because Malachi said that Elijah would show up before the great and awesome or terrible day of the Lord.
Well, when does that happen? Well, in the Book of Revelation chapter 11, there are two people that will appear on the scene in the last days called the two witnesses. Listen to the description. In Revelation 11, it says, if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. So that's pretty bad. That's not just bad breath. That's deadly breath.
And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. They have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy, which is, by the way, 3 and 1/2 years. If you know First Kings, you know that's roughly around the time that Elijah had the same thing happen. And he continues, and they have the power over the waters to turn them to blood and to strike the Earth with all plagues as often as they desire.
Then it says, when they have finished their testimony, the beast rises up out of the sea and kills them. That's when I believe Elijah will die. I believe the two witnesses, this is my opinion, are Moses and Elijah.
Well, why? Because the two witnesses sound in what they do a lot like Moses and Elijah. We know that Elijah predicted a three year drought. And chapter one of Second Kings, he brought fire down from heaven. Now I didn't read that to you, but let me just tell you the story really quickly. I don't have the time. So I'm going to talk fast, because I think you can take it.
The first king is a guy named Ahaziah. Ahaziah falls through the lattice in his house. He's severely injured. But he doesn't die. He wonders if he's going to die. He says, go find Elijah the prophet and find out if I'm going to die. Elijah the prophet says, yep, you're going to die because you called on false gods.
And 50 people come to arrest him. The kind says, get 50 people, go arrest him. So soldiers are outside of Elijah's home. And the captain goes, man of God, come down. I'm taking you to the palace. And Elijah said, if I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and destroy you. So fire comes down from heaven, destroys all 50. I guess he's a man of God.
50 more come. Captain goes, man of God, please come to the palace. Elijah smiles, goes, if I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and wipe all you out. It happens. Third group comes. Now he's pleading for his life. Please, I'm a family man, please come. So he goes peacefully with him. Point being, he calls fire down from heaven and shuts the heavens from raining. Those are two signature marks of Elijah. One of the witnesses will do the same.
Also, Moses turned the water to blood in Egypt, one of the plagues. One of the witnesses will do the same. Let me add to that. Both Moses and Elijah left this world in an odd manner. One was taken up in a whirlwind to heaven. He was airlifted. That's Elijah. Moses died but his body was not found.
And we get to this weird New Testament text. Maybe you've noticed it in Jude verse nine where it says, Michael the archangel contended with the devil disputing over the body of Moses. Why would you have some argument about Moses' body? Why would Satan be interested in Moses' body? I believe the Lord has some purpose for it in the future. And so, I think he'll retain for his own purposes Moses and Elijah and use them again.
And now we want to move on. We want to get into the next few chapters. So I said Elijah did many miracles. Elisha did more miracles than Elijah. OK? Not going to go through all of them, but I want you to notice quickly three of them.
Chapter four, number one is a poor widow. She runs out of oil. Second, also in chapter four, is a Shunammite woman. I said there's weird names in this book, a Shunammite woman. That means she is from the town called Shunem. You go, Shunem? Where's that? By Nazareth where Jesus will be from, up in the Galilee, not far from that area.
So there's two miracles. One involving a widow, she is destitute. Her husband dies, who was also a prophet. They're financially strapped. Creditors are coming to take their sons into slavery. Elisha pours oil that fills up the pots. She's able to sell it and make a living.
The second, this couple from Shunem meet the prophet. They build a little room for him like a casita. We would call it a casita. But it's like a rooftop place where he had a bed, a lamp, a place to be refreshed.
And while he's there, he predicts that this couple, he's an old coot, and she is not quite so old, but Elisha the prophet predicts that they're going to have a baby, which they do. They have a son. According to the word of the Lord, son grows up. He's out in the field one day, probably sunstroke, keels over. And he dies.
She runs after Elisha in chapter four verse 27. And when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet. But Gehazi, that's his servant, came near to push her away. Now watch this. But the man of God, Elisha said, let her alone for her soul is in deep distress.
She's mourning over the death of her son. She's calling on Elisha to come and do something. He says, let her alone for her soul is in deep distress, and the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me. Now imagine being so tuned into the spirit of God that you're actually shocked when God didn't tell you what's going on.
I don't know what's happened. The Lord has hidden this from me. He has not revealed this thing that has happened to me. He always does. But He hasn't yet. So she tells him what's happening, and he goes and heals, raises that child from the dead.
The third miracle I want to highlight is in chapter five, a guy by the name of Naaman. And Naaman is the commander in chief of the Syrian army up north, the supreme commander. But he comes down with a case of leprosy. So he is a leper, not a leopard, a leper, a case of a disease.
Now leprosy, in those days, was so loathsome that if a person got it, essentially, it was a death sentence. Today, it still happens. But you put a person on a course of multiple drugs, multiple drug therapy. And within a few months, you avert the disease. You slow it down. You stop it. And if you get it in time, it won't be debilitating.
But if you let it go, it affects the nerves, the eyes, the nose, et cetera. It's from a bacterium called mycobacterium leprae. And it can render a person completely debilitated, not even feeling pain in the extremities.
So when you get it in those days, you're as good as dead. He comes down with it. He's hopeless. But there is a servant girl that works for Naaman's wife who happened to be an Israeli. And she goes, oh, man, I wish my master could meet this prophet of God in Samaria.
Well, he hears that, goes to the king. The king says, go to Samaria, find this guy, get healed. So Naaman goes. Verse nine, chapter five, Naaman went with his horses and chariot and stood at the door of Elisha's house.
Now typically, when somebody like this who's important comes to your house, what do you do? You go out. You go out and meet him. You make a big show. Somebody important, you bow down to. There are certain formalities that you would do. But certainly, you would go outside and greet the person. Watch.
And Elisha sent a messenger to him saying, go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean. But Naaman became furious and went away and said, indeed, I said to myself, he will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of Yahweh, his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leprosy. Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.
Why should I go down to the muddy Rio Grande River? If you've seen the Jordan River, you know why I say that. Because it's this muddy little stream. You go, that's the Jordan River? That's what people say when they say the mighty Rio Grande. You know it's in our lore. It's in our country's music. And then you see the mighty Rio Grande, and you go, I'm disappointed, especially if you're from a place where there are real rivers like this guy was from. And he goes, you want me to wash in the Jordan?
Now here's a cool thing. It's a principle I find all over the Bible, here included. I called it the Nazareth principle. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? That was the question. We found the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth. The rebuttal, can anything good come out of there? Why was Jesus born in Nazareth? Why was he told to wash in the Jordan?
I call it the Nazareth principle. And it sort of ties in with my verse that I quote a lot, my life verse, Corinthians one. You see your calling brethren. Not many mighty, not many noble, not many strong are called. God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, the weak things to confound the mighty, the base things to confound the noble.
So God takes human logic and turns it on end. And it doesn't make sense. It's not logical, but it is theological. It makes God sense. Go wash in the Jordan seven times. What? Jordan? He didn't even come out. He didn't wave his hand and make a show. And some people want the show. And Elisha is kind of saying, do you want the show, or do you want to get fixed?
People come in for counseling. Some want to just be coddled. The good counselor will say, do you want to be coddled or do you want to be cured? Do you want this thing fixed, or do you just want to verbally vomit all over? I understand the pain, but this can be fixed if this, this, and that take place.
So he goes down. And the seventh time, he comes up completely healed. So it worked. Chapter six through eight are more miracles of Elisha. We won't get into them. But God is providing a witness in this very dark time of these two kingdoms. Chapter eight is insight into how God keeps a covenant. When God makes a promise, He's going to keep it.
So verse 16 says, in the fifth year of Joram, the son of Ahab the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat having been king of Judah, Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, began to reign as king of Judah. So just that verse, look at those names, Joran, Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram. I'm going to make it worse. Sometimes Jehoram is called Joram. And sometimes Joram is called Jehoram. It's the same name. One's a nickname. One's a shortened name. So there is a Joram in the south and a Joram in the north, or a Jehoram in the south and a Jehoram in the north. And the Jehoram in the south is tied to his dad Jehoshaphat. Man, this is weary.
Verse 17, he, that is Joram or Jehoram was 32 years old when he became king. And he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. OK, so to make it even more confusing, Joram, a.k.a. Jehoram, reigned for eight years as co-regent or assistant king to his dad Jehoshaphat. When his dad Jehoshaphat, then he was the single king. But until then, he shared the kingdom.
Verse 18, and he walked in the ways of the king of Israel. This is the guy down south, the Judah king. He walked in the ways of the kings of the north, just as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did evil in the sight of the law. But watch this. Yet, the Lord would not destroy Judah for the sake of his servant who? David. As he promised him to give a lamp to him and his sons forever.
Joram also known as Jehoram introduced idol worship the worship of Baal down to the southern kingdom. But God promised the tribe of Judah would be preserved and protected and the messiah would come through the tribe of Judah. Genesis chapter 49, the scepter will not depart from Judah until messiah shows up.
So the tribe of Judah is singled out prophetically. God makes a promise to David. God made a promise about Judah. So God is going to protect it because he made that promise. He's going to keep that promise. Now God has made a promise, therefore, expect spiritual warfare. Now it's targeted. Now Judah has a bullseye on it now. David and his kingdom, his progeny has a bullseye on them.
OK, more kings north and south come and go, more wars, more judgments. But watch this. Go to chapter 11 verse one. Let's meet this woman, this queen. Chapter 11, verse one, when Athaliah, the mother of Ahaziah, saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal heirs. That is one verse you want to underline or put a asterisk by or a star. She destroyed all the royal heirs.
But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, the sister of Ahaziah, took Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons who were being murdered and hid him and his nurse in the bedroom from Athaliah, so that he was not killed. So he was hidden with her in the house of the Lord for six years. This is a good cover up job. If you can hide a child for six years, and the queen mother doesn't know about it, you did a good job. While Athaliah reigned over the land.
OK, so get the picture. All of the royal heirs are killed except one. This is a close call for redemptive history. This is a close call for salvation history. Because what if they were all destroyed? Well, it would mean there'll be no line of David. It means there will never be a messiah that God promised.
I'm going to expand on this in a few weeks when we do a little short series called bloodline, and I'm going to show this in detail. But back in the Garden of Eden, after Satan deceived Adam and Eve, God made a promise in chapter three, verse 15 where God said, I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. And he that is Christ, eventually, the seed, he will bruise your head. And you, Satan, will bruise his heel.
That's the promise. From that moment on, you see warfare expanding as Satan gets the picture of who the tribe is, who the family is, who the person is, where the messiah is going to be born. This is why David gets attacked and almost killed. This is why when Jesus is born in Bethlehem like the prophet predicted, King Herod kills all the children of Bethlehem. But Jesus is spared.
You go, why would a mad man do this? Why would a pharaoh do what he did? It's Satan's attempt to destroy the seed. I'll just put that thought in your head. Hold onto that for a couple weeks. We'll uncover it on a Sunday morning.
Chapter 12, verse one, it says, in the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king. Jehoash is also called Joash. So he's got a couple different names he goes by. One's a long name. One's a short name. So this is Joash called Jehoash. so he became king. And he reigned 40 years in Jerusalem.
His mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada-- these names are tough, aren't they? OK, so Jehoash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. What's going on here?
There is a king who has a godly mentor who happens to be a priest. So he is mentored by this priest. He becomes king himself, Joash, Jehoash. So now you have a politician with a godly background. He does what is right in the sight of the Lord, as you would expect having been tutored and instructed by this godly priest.
But his righteousness only lasts while his mentor lasts. When his mentor dies, when the priest dies, he starts taking on the values of the people around him. So don't turn to it, but you may want to write in the margin of your Bible Second Chronicles 24 verse 17. Second Chronicles 24, 17 through 19. Let me read it to you.
It said, now after the death of Jehoiada-- that's the priest mentioned here-- the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. That is King Joash. And the King listened to them. Therefore, they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers and served wooden images and idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass. Yet, he sent prophets to them to bring them back to the Lord, and they testified against them. But they would not listen.
As long as the mentor was around, he was good. But when that influential leadership died, he was bad apples. There's a principle here. If your faith is only propped up by others, you will stumble when those props are gone. It's good to have an example. It's good to have a mentor. I recommend that for all people to have somebody who you can look up to who can work you through the hard areas of life.
But you need to come to a place where you build your own roots, man, and you stand before God yourself man or woman of God. And you are getting the strength directly from the Holy Spirit. So that when they die or if they fall or something happens, your faith is not shaken, because it's in Him not them. So that happens with Joash, a.k.a. Jehoash.
OK, go to chapter 14. Let's go ahead to there. We get an insightful little nugget here. It says, in the 15th year of Amaziah, the son of Joash the king of Judah, Jeroboam-- different Jeroboam than the first Jeroboam-- Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel became king in Samaria. That's up north. He reigned 41 years. And he did evil in the side of the Lord and did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who had made Israel sin. That's the other Jeroboam.
He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the sea of the Arabah. That's the Dead Sea way down south. Watch this, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he had spoken through his servant who? It says Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gathhepher.
Now here's why I'm giving you this nugget. Jonah is best known for his encounter with the fish, that great sea creature. I bring this up because this section shows us in Second Kings that he had a ministry to the northern kingdom as a legitimate prophet. He is from a town called Gathhepher. Gathhepher is about four miles northeast of Nazareth in Galilee.
I'm bringing this up for a reason. It shows you how misinformed the Pharisees were in Jesus' day. They said, this is Jesus. He's the prophet. And the Pharisees said, oh, search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee. Those poor boys didn't know their own history. Gathhepher is in Galilee. Jonah the prophet was from Galilee. So now you know more than they did.
I'm bringing this up too because it shows us that Jonah was a real person. This is a historical reference that confirms the fact that Jonah was a real guy and indeed a prophet in Israel. And I bring this up because every now and then, I meet people who have a hard time believing that story of Jonah or even the veracity of the historicity of Jonah.
He wasn't a real person. The story of Jonah isn't a real story. I say, well then, what is it? Some will say it's mythology. It's just a little story to delight children. You tuck them in at night, tell him a fanciful story of a guy in a fish. So it's myth, legend, untrue.
Others say it's an allegory, that the fish represents Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon. And Jonah represents the Jews being swallowed up by the big fish of Babylon. And still others will say it was just a dream. There was a guy named Jonah. He was historical , but he had a dream about getting swallowed by a fish but it never really happened. It was just the result of a late night falafel with onions. He had this weird dream. And you have the story of the book of Jonah.
This proves there was a guy named Jonah. He was a prophet. And if you go, yeah, but I don't know if I can believe the story of Jonah in the Old Testament, then you need to add to what I just said the words of Jesus. Jesus, do you believe in him? Well, the Jesus you believe in said, as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so the son of man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. You have a problem with Jonah, you got a problem with Jesus. Jesus said he was historical. He was a prophet. And he was in that fish's belly like the story says.
Here's another must mention. Go to chapter 15, and that is a guy named Azariah. Aren't these fun names? Do you remember any of them so far? I don't. Azariah, you probably know him by another name. When I say it, you'll go, oh, I've heard of that guy, Uzziah. You've heard of Uzziah. I'll ring that bell in a minute.
Here's the thing about Uzziah or Azariah, he became king. How do I phrase this? He became king at the age your children get their driver's licenses, 16. Can you imagine a 16-year-old being the king of anything? Can't even be the king of his bedroom, can't even manage that sometimes. He is the king of a nation. Turns out, he's a great king. So don't undercut the young people. He was a godly king, a great king, brought great expansion, great reform to the nation.
Chapter 15, verse one, in the 27th year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Azariah, a.k.a. Uzziah, the son of Amaziah king of Judah became king. He was 16 years old when he became king. And he reigned 52 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Jecholiah of Jerusalem.
And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father Amaziah had done. Turns out, he becomes one of the great kings of Judah. Now he is best known by the scripture in Isaiah chapter six. You'll recognize it. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and lifted up, seated on the throne. The train of his robe filled the temple. And I said, woe is me. You know that story?
So he was such a good king after 52 years that when he died, the people were demoralized saying, what are we going to do now? The king is off the throne. So a vision comes to the prophet for the nation. Uzziah may be off his throne on Earth, but God, your God, is on his throne in heaven. So no matter who's on or off the throne or out of the White House, God is on the throne in heaven. And that would anchor the people.
So he did right, except, verse four, that's not a good word to have when you've done right. Except that the high places were not removed. The people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. So flaw number one is he was very lenient. He didn't really put an end to all the false worship that was going around.
It says, then the Lord struck the king. This puzzles us, because they said he was such a great king. And now, we have God striking him. So that he was a leper, again, not a leopard, a leper. He had leprosy until the day of his death, so he dwelt in an isolated house. And Jotham, the king's son, was over the royal house judging the people of Israel.
This begs the question, why did the Lord strike him? Because of flaw number two, not mentioned here, but you fill in the blank as to why. In Second Chronicles 26, I'll read it to you. Second Chronicles 26, again just write that little note so you can make a reference to why God struck him. Second Chronicles 26 says that this King Uzziah, Azariah, his heart was lifted up to his own destruction for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.
So he was filled with pride and thought, I've always wanted to be a priest. I know I'm not from the tribe of Levi. But I want to be a priest. I really, really, really want to be a priest. So he went in and offered incense like a priest. He wouldn't called by God to this. God didn't set his mantle on him or give him the exception. He intruded into the priestly office, so God struck him with leprosy until he died.
Who does this remind you of? Again, a good king, but he had a couple of fatal flaws. This pride reminds you of King Saul. King Saul took the animals and made an unlawful sacrifice also intruding into the office of a priest before all the people. That's when the prophet tore his robe and said, God's going to tear the kingdom from you. And He did. So Uzziah lived with leprosy until he died.
Another must mentioned is King Hezekiah, chapter 18. Just a quick little pericope section of scripture I want you to see. Chapter 18 verse three, and he did what was right in the sight of the Lord. We go, yay, good for him. According to all that his father David had done. I like this. He removed the high places. He broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image, and broke in pieces-- watch this-- the bronze serpent that Moses had made.
Now stop right there. Man, this thing has been part of their history for years, hundreds of years. Remember the brass serpent? He ruined this cool museum relic. But here's why. He broke it in pieces. For until those days, the children of Israel burned incense to it and called it Nehushtan. They gave it a name. Means something made out of brass, a brass thing. Nehushtan, they burned incense to it. He trusted in the Lord God of Israel. So that after him was none like him among the kings of Judah nor who were before him.
Now refresh your memory. Numbers chapter 21. They are journeying, the children of Israel, from Mount Hor. They complain because of the manna. Remember that? Hate this manna. We have been manna bread, mannacotti, manna souffle. I hate it every single day. And so they start complaining. So God sends serpents to bite them. The only cure is make a brass serpent, hold it on a pole. If you look at it, you'll be healed. And it would turn this judgment away.
So they kept that thing. But it had now would become an object of worship, much like things like the Shroud of Turin become objects of worship or bones of saints get preserved in little boxes or a piece of the True Cross. Ever seen those? I remember seeing a little piece of the True Cross. And all the pieces that I've read about, there must have been like 1,000 true crosses because it just kept multiplying.
Now I want you to quickly go back a few verses. We're going to finish out this book very quickly. But go back a few verses into chapter 17 because it shows you fall number one, the fall of the northern kingdom collapsed to the Assyrian Empire. Chapter 17, verse 20, and the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, delivered them into the hands of plunderers until He cast them from his sight for He tore Israel from the house of David. And they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Kind of a summary statement of the last past history.
Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord and made them commit a great sin for the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did. They did not depart from them until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight as He had said by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, northeast, as it is to this day.
Then the King of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel. They took possession of Samaria and dwelled in its cities. This is 722 BC. Assyrians come in, depopulate the land, repopulate the land with people from different cultures. That was what they did.
Those people from other cultures that repopulated the land brought in their own worship systems, their own idols. So now worship already corrupted in the land gets worse, worse, worse, worse. Forward to the New Testament. By the time of the New Testament, the Samaritans, remember Jesus visited Samaria, have a rival temple on a rival mountain to Jerusalem called Mount Gerizim.
This is why the woman at the well said, we worship on this mountain. Your father's worship in Jerusalem. They had a rival temple. They had rival scriptures. They made up their own scriptures. They said that Abraham offered Isaac not on Mount Moriah down south, the temple, but on Mount Gerizim. So there was a rival worship system. That's how bad it had gotten. OK? One kingdom down.
Now chapter 18 to 25, we'll do this quickly. This is the surviving kingdom of Judah. They'll last about another 132 years. Chapter 18, verse 13, in the 14th year of King Hezekiah-- here's a good name-- Sennacherib-- oh, these are fun-- Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. Sennacherib was the king of Assyria after Sargon the Second was the King of Assyria.
And there are historical records called the Annals of Sennacherib where it even says that they came against the fortified cities of Judah. Actually, they did it twice. They were averted once. They came back. Now this is Assyria that took the northern kingdom. They never took the southern kingdom, but they came very, very, very close.
They came once. They left. They came again under Sennacherib, made all sorts of threats. They heard of war on another front. They went to that front. They came back to Jerusalem. And let's just sum it up. I'll show you what happened.
Chapter 19, verse 35, it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the Lord went out and killed in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000. And when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses all dead. Can you imagine looking down the walls of Jerusalem, the enemies that you once feared now are corpses. That's a good day, right? If they're going to say, we're going to wipe you out and attack you.
Who did that? It says what? Angel of the Lord did that. It took one angel to kill 185,000. Now understand the importance of the statement that Jesus said, don't you know that I could call 12 legions of angels? If one can do that, 12 legions of angels, that's like thermonuclear war. Total wipe out.
Time passes. Babylon emerges. Now its King Nebuchadnezzar. He makes three successive attacks on Judah, 605 BC, 597 BC, 586 BC. That's when it falls. It collapses. In 605 BC, he makes the first of three deportations. He takes people out of Jerusalem and expels the Jews and brings them to Babylon. That first round, a young man is among them by the name of Daniel. To get the back story, read Daniel chapter one. Daniel is among the first captives in 605 BC being taken captive.
The last good king is King Josiah. He's the great grandson of King Hezekiah. He restores worship. He dies in a battle. Look at chapter 25, verse one, it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign in the tenth month on the 10th day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and encamped against it. They built a siege wall all around it. The city was besieged until the 11th year of King Zedekiah.
By the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine became so severe in the city, there was no food for the people of land. The city wall was broken. The men of war fled at night. He tried to escape, put out his eyes, took him to Babylon. OK, that was a lot in a little quick statement. I'm going to fill in the blanks really quickly.
After Josiah died, his son Jehoahaz takes the throne. Jehoahaz is only on the throne for three months, barely warms the throne. He is deposed by Egypt and sent to Egypt. The Egyptians put Eliakim on the throne and change his name to Jehoiakim. Isn't this fun? Eliakim, Jehoiakim, same dude.
He's on the throne 11 years. Jeremiah warns him not to rebel against Nebuchadnezzar. He does. Nebuchadnezzar deposes him and puts after Jehoiakim a guy by the name of Jehoiachin on his throne. He's on the throne three months and 10 days. He rebels. He's taken to Babylon.
Zedekiah gets on the throne. Babylonians swoop in. Zedekiah tries to run. They capture him down by the fords of the Jordan River, kill his sons before his eyes. Then put his eyes out, so that the last memory he will live with till his death in Babylon is the death of the Babylonians murdering his two sons.
Question as we end. We're done. Question as end. What made the difference between the kingdoms? Answer, the kings. The kings made the difference. Leaders determine legacy. You have a good king, good outcome. You have a bad king, bad outcome.
Question to ponder. Question to ask yourself. Who is the king of your heart? Is it you? Is it really you? Are you calling the shots in your life? Or have you let King Jesus occupy that rightful place in your heart? David prayed, unite my heart to fear your name. That means I don't want to live with a divided heart. I don't want divided loyalties. Unite my heart so that you are the king and I have total loyalty and allegiance to you. Jesus said that you're to seek first the Kingdom of God.
Let's pray. Father, in this tail of two kingdoms, we have seen a whole host of kings and a queen with what is to us unusual names. But it's hundreds of years of history. Thank you, Father, for your kingship. Thank you for your willingness to rule over our lives because, frankly, Lord, apart from you, our lives are a mess.
Thank you, Lord, that in the midst of our mess, you brought a message through a messenger named Jesus. And, Father, many of us have crowned him king of our lives. And because he is the king, the kingdom is secure. If we are the king, our kingdom is insecure, temporary at best, no matter what good exploits we do or successes we have.
Lord, it is my prayer that some here tonight would depose the king of self and coronate the King Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We're closing this service. I just wanted to give an opportunity for those who have come maybe invited by a friend or a loved one, though he may be a good person or even a religious person, there's never been a time when you have said, Jesus, come into my life. Come into my heart. Be the savior. Rule and reign over me. Make sense of this life of mine.
Some of you would even say, I've made a mess of my life. You bring your life just as you are, all the good, all the bad, all the yuck, all the successes. They don't really mean anything at this moment. You bring yourself to God. You invite Jesus to come in is your king, your Lord and Savior. If you want to do that or you need to come back home to Him as we close this service, would you just raise your hand up in the air. Raise it up high.
You're saying, yes, pray for me, Skip. I want to give my life to Christ. God bless you in the middle, toward the back on my left, way in the back on my left, in the back to my right. Anybody else? Just raise that hand up, acknowledge that you need him. We'd love to pray for you. Right over here, yes, sir. Thank you for that. Anyone else? Right up here in the front. God bless you.
Father, thank you. We do pray for each and every one of these who has raised a hand. Pray now, Lord, that you'd rescue the heart completely, the heart behind the hand, the life, renew, restore, and use for your glory in Jesus' name. Amen.
Let's all stand. As we stand to our feet, we're going to close with a song. If you raised your hand, would you please do one final thing? It won't take long. Just get up from where you're standing as we sing, find the nearest aisle, stand right up here. I'm going to lead you in a prayer publicly to receive Christ as lord and master of your life. Jesus called people publicly. And you're going to find great encouragement as you come.
If you raised your hand, come on up. Come on up.
(SINGING) My healer, my blessed redeemer, my answer, my saving grace. You're my hope in the shadows, my strength in the battle, my anchor for all my days. As you stand by my side, you stood in my place, Jesus, no other name.
Isn't it great that to get to heaven, you don't have to know Jehoiada, Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim, Joash, Jehoash? You just have to know one J word, Jesus. That's the only name. That is above all other names. Anybody else who raised a hand or didn't or I didn't recognize, just please make a public come forward and let me lead you in that prayer. We'll sing through this one more quick time. You get up and come. God been dealing with your heart for a while, do something about it. Don't wait any longer. Make the choice to follow him right now.
(SINGING) --grace. You're my helper, my healer, my blessed redeemer, my answer, my saving grace.
Those of you who have come forward, let me quickly lead you in a prayer. Can I do that? Come a little closer. We won't tell anybody. We'll just be real quiet about it. So I'm going to pray out loud. I'm going to ask you to pray out loud after me from your heart. Say these words to God. This is you giving your life over to the one who made you. OK? And he's going to come and live inside of you, transform you, give you new thoughts, new joy, new peace, a brand new start. OK?
Let's pray. Say, Lord, I give you my life.
Lord, I give you my life.
I know that I am a sinner.
I know that I am a sinner.
Please forgive me.
Please forgive me.
I believe in Jesus.
I believe in Jesus.
I believe he died for my sins.
I believe he died for my sins.
And he rose from the dead.
And he rose from the dead.
I turn from my sin.
I turn from my sin.
I turn to Jesus as my Savior.
I turn to Jesus as my Savior.
Help me to follow him.
Help me to follow him.
In his name, I pray.
In his name, I pray.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit Calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 feet.