Highlights In Today's Reading:
When Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, receives word that her son, King Ahaziah, is dead, she proclaims herself Queen of Judah. To make sure she has no competition, she ruthlessly murders her own grandsons. She thinks she has killed all of David's descendants (11:1; II Chronicles 22:10). However, God intervenes and saves the one-year-old Joash (Jehoash), the sole link that preserves the dynasty of David and the lineage of Jesus Christ (II Kings 11:2-3; II Chronicles 22:11-12).
There are two Joashes in II Kings. There is Joash, the king of Judah (chapters 11; 12; 13:10), and there is Joash (Jehoash), the king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, mentioned here, who often rejected Elisha's admonitions and continued to worship Baal in the groves. Now Elisha was . . . sick . . . whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him (13:14). It was quite remarkable for King Joash to visit the dying prophet. It implies that the king knew that the man of God had been Israel's spiritual strength and they needed his counsel and prayers. Joash wept over his face as he lay dying, and referred to him as the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands (13:15-16).
Israel was at that time at war with Syria. As a sign that God intended to give victory to His people, the king was bidden to take the bow and arrows. Elisha, as God's representative, put his hand upon the king's hands. King Joash was bidden to strike the ground and then only struck it three times. The man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it (13:19). If he had smitten the ground six times, he would have shot six arrows and he would have had complete victory. As the arrow was shot through the air, the prophet said the arrow represented the Lord's deliverance of His people from Syrian domination. Deliverance is of the Lord, but it must be accomplished by human effort. Joash had to actively take the bow and arrows, but God sovereignly would guide the people. This illustrates the Scriptures: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The battle is the Lord's (I Samuel 17:47).
We should not let our arrows lie still as if to say: "We are trusting God to shoot our arrows, we will just wait upon the Lord." It is an equally serious error to neglect the hand of God resting upon our activity. You can be sure that Jesus meant: Without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
Thought for Today:
Many well meaning Christians are content to attend church worship and be fed, but God's Word says: Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away (John 15:2).
By Jehoiada, who protected Joash and, in holy judgment, had Athaliah slain (II Kings 11:4-16). Christ keeps us safe to fulfill His will and will return to judge all who obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thessalonians 1:8).
11:7 two parts =b> two companies; 11:8 compass =b> surround; 12:5 breaches =b> the damaged places; 12:11 laid it out =b> paid it out; 13:6 grove =b> the place to worship the goddess Ashtoreth.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by William & Linda Bonner; Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Jim Glaser; English International Shortwave Broadcasts to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East sponsored by Mr & Mrs Casmir A. Zuranski • Staff: Joe Brashier • Government Officials: Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL) and Rep. Charles Gonzalez (TX) • Country: Myanmar (formerly Burma) (48.1 million) in Southeast Asia • Major languages: Burmese and ethnic languages • Limited religious freedom • 87.5% Buddhist; 6% Christian; 4% Muslim (mainly Sunni); 1% animist; .5% Hindu; 1% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and lift up your prayers to God with the spirit of understanding (I Corinthians 14:15).
Optional Reading: Romans 8
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:7