2 Kings 3:1-3 – Moab Rebels Against Israel

Christian Mölk2 Kings Leave a Comment

2Kings 3:1-3

  1. Jehoram was king of Israel around the years 852-841 BC. Joram was the son of Ahab and Jezebel, some of the most wicked leaders in Israel’s history.
  2. When Israel was divided into two kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, Jeroboam was the first king of northern Israel. Jeroboam was worried that if the Israelites continued to worship God in the Temple in Jerusalem, which was in Judah, they would turn their hearts back to the king of Judah and eventually kill Jeroboam. So he had two calves made of gold and placed them in the Israelite cities of Bethel and Dan. Then he forbade his people from going to Jerusalem, saying that they should worship God through these golden calves instead. In addition to this, Jeroboam also instituted a system where virtually anyone could become a priest, whether they were a Levite or not (1 Kings 12:25-31).
    1. The sin into which Jeroboam led Israel was not to worship other gods, but to continue to worship the God of Israel, but in the wrong way: in places other than Jerusalem, through two golden calves, and with unauthorized priests. This false worship was instituted not for religious reasons but for political ones.
      1. But while Jeroboam may have felt that he was still worshipping the Lord God through these golden calves, God apparently interpreted this as idolatry in a prophetic word through the prophet Ahijah: “You have done more evil than all who have gone before you. You have made other gods for yourself, yes, cast idols to arouse my wrath, and you have cast me behind your back.” (1Kings 14:9)
  3. Joram abolished the apparent worship of the idol Baal but continued Jeroboam’s false worship of God.

2Kings 3:4-8

  1. The Moabites lived on the east side of the Jordan River and were forced to pay taxes to Israel. When King Ahab died, King Mesha of Moab took the opportunity to free the Moabites from Israel’s sovereignty.
  2. Jehoshaphat was a good and righteous king who reigned in Jerusalem in Judah and had made peace with the northern kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 22:41-44).
  3. Even though Israel was divided into two parts, Israel in the north and Judah in the south, they were now willing to go into battle together to defeat a common enemy.
  4. Israel and Judah could not have defeated Moab if they had attacked from the north, where the Moabites had strong fortifications. But together they can surprise Moab from the other direction, by going from Judah into the desert of Edom the way south of the Dead Sea.

2Kings 3:9

  1. The military forces of Israel, Judah and Edom are about to perish for lack of water. Whether this was due to poor planning or chance is not clear, but they are certainly in trouble!

2Kings 3:10-11

  1. Only after the Israelites fail in their own plans do they turn to a prophet to listen to God’s plan. If they had turned to Elisha right away, they would have avoided the trouble of failure
    1. It is a common human phenomenon to want to fend for oneself and pray to God only when problems pile up. But if you make a habit of praying and reading the Bible daily, you will avoid many of these worries.
  2. King Jehoram of Israel sees the concrete reality realistically and interprets it as the judgment of the Lord. He must have had a guilty conscience! Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, also sees the concrete reality, but instead sees it as an opportunity for God to bless and save them.
    1. We should think the same way today. If we suffer an accident or crisis, does it mean that God has sent us a judgment or is it an opportunity for blessing?
    2. For a spiritual man, divine hope always remains, even when all hope is gone, humanly speaking.
  3. It seems that Elisha took care of and assisted Elijah in a very practical way. Elisha’s training to become a prophet also included simple and practical tasks.

2Kings 3:12

  1. You can be described as “He’s the fastest in the world” or “She sings beautifully” or something else nice. But to be described as “With him is the word of the Lord” is probably the finest description I can think of.
  2. Normally, of course, the three kings would have called Elisha and heard his words, but now they had to humble themselves and go down to him.

2Kings 3:13-14

  1. Elisha is as brave and outspoken with the king as Elijah once was. Although Elisha’s words could easily get him executed, he is not afraid to tell the truth.

2Kings 3:15

  1. Perhaps Elisha is so holy upset with the wicked King Jehoram that he feels he needs to calm down with some praise to hear God’s voice.
    1. In order to hear God’s voice, we must sometimes turn off all worldly impressions and open our hearts to the Lord. For example, Jesus often went away in solitude when he prayed (Mark 6:46) and he urged us to pray in our chambers (Matthew 6:6).
  2. Paul writes to the churches in Ephesus and Colosse that we should be filled with the Spirit, so that we speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in our hearts (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16).
    1. It’s no coincidence that we sing praises to the Lord every service. There is a close connection between our singing to the Lord and the Lord’s words to us. Prayer and praise are our words to God and the Bible and prophetic greetings are God’s words to us.

2Kings 3:16-19

  1. It is likely that the Israelites were in an area with a “wadi”, an Arabic word for a “valley”. A wadi is normally dry, but can overflow and become temporarily waterlogged during heavy rains or when water flows from the mountains.
  2. God’s word to the three kings is that they should dig pits in the valley so that when God sends water, the pits will be filled.
    1. Without any visible sign, but only by faith in God’s word, the Israelites had to start working and preparing for God’s blessing.
    2. The miracle would not come in the way the Israelites had imagined.
    3. Even though God promised to send water, the Israelites had to dig the pits themselves, so that they could benefit from the water when it came.
    4. Ordering exhausted, exhausted and thirsty soldiers to dig pits in the desert must have seemed like madness.
  3. God wants us to prepare ourselves for the blessing he wants to give us. God wants us to listen to his voice and start working on the task he gives us. Notice that God did not give the Israelites a task they could not do, such as bringing rain. No, God gave the Israelites the task of digging pits, something that was perfectly possible for them to start doing right away. When the Israelites did what was possible for them, God did the impossible that was possible for him.
  4. Flowing water is often symbolic of the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit (John 4:14, 7:37-38). If we want to live a life in the Spirit and be continually filled with the Holy Spirit, we must also “dig pits”. We need to make it possible for God to fill us. If we are constantly filling ourselves with all sorts of worldly things, then it will be difficult for us to even notice when God wants to touch us with His Holy Spirit. But if we live a life of regular time for prayer, Bible and worship, then we are digging pits that the Holy Spirit can fill with his presence.

2Kings 3:20

  1. Probably water suddenly poured down from the surrounding hills. If the Israelites had not dug their pits, the water would have rushed past and they would have missed out on the blessing God had prepared. The water became available because they had dug the pits that God had commanded.
    1. Sometimes it is easy for a church to think that it should build for revival only when it sees that revival has come. But then it may be too late! Better to prepare for the blessings that God has promised and expect God to send a revival.
    1. What “pits” do you need to build in your life and in your congregation to receive the spiritual blessings that God will send your way?
      1. Perhaps you need to expand the church to accommodate more people?
      2. Maybe you need to hire another pastor?
      3. There may not be any children in your church, so you need to start a Sunday school.
      4. Maybe God is calling you to Bible school? You may not understand today what it would be good for, but when the time comes you will understand what spiritual blessings you will be able to receive because you were obedient to God and “dug your pit”, i.e. went to Bible school.
      5. In its most basic form, every time you read the Bible and pray a prayer, you are “digging a pit”. It creates a space in your soul to receive spiritual gifts from the Lord.
  2. The amount of water the Israelites received was in direct proportion to the pits they had dug. If they dug 10 pits, the water would fill 10 pits. If they dug 100 pits, the water would fill 100 pits.
    1. In the same way, we will be able to receive the multitude of spiritual blessings for which we are preparing ourselves. If we pray and read the Bible daily, we can receive more from God than if we only read and pray once in a while.
  3. The three kings came to Elisha to ask God for water, but God gave them more than they asked for! Not only did God give them water, he also gave them victory over their enemies. When we pray to God for what we need most, he also, in his goodness, wants to give us more than we can ask for.

2Kings 3:21-24

  1. When the morning sun shone on the water in the pits, the water looked red and the Moabites thought it was the blood of the Israelites fighting among themselves. But it wasn’t!
  2. The Moabites think that most of the Israelites are dead and that they can now rush in and plunder. Presumably they ran unorganized and unprepared straight into a prepared army and were thus horribly defeated.
  3. God used the water in the pits both to bring blessing and victory to God’s people and to bring confusion and defeat to God’s enemies.

2Kings 3:25

  1. The Israelite army now follows the instructions of the prophet Elisha to the letter, except for Kir Hareset. It would take many years for the Moabites to economically recover from this destruction.

2Kings 3:26

  1. When the king of Moab sacrifices his own son to an idol, the Israelites are so upset that they want nothing to do with Moab and leave.
Share & Print

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *