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14th April

2 Kings 12-14; Psalm 104

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
14th April

2 Kings 12-14; Psalm 104

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in 1-2 Kings, we've read through Solomon's reign, the splitting of the kingdom, and the era of kings and prophets. Solomon's reign began with eliminating his rivals. He then asked God for wisdom, which led to peace and prosperity in Israel. Solomon built the temple and his palace but disobeyed God by accumulating wealth, horses, and marrying foreign wives, leading to idol worship.

God told Solomon his kingdom would be divided after his death: Israel in the north under Jeroboam and Judah in the south under Rehoboam. Jeroboam led the northern tribes in worship of other gods. After Jeroboam, leaders like Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab followed in Israel, all doing evil. In Judah, Rehoboam also did evil, as did his son Abijam. Then came Asa, who returned the people to God but relied on Syria instead of God when attacked. He was replaced by his son, Jehoshaphat.

The story shifted to Elijah, a prophet who condemned Ahab for idolatry and predicted a drought. Elijah performed miracles, defeated Baal's prophets, and fled from Jezebel. He met God, anointed new leaders, and chose Elisha as his successor. We read as Elijah was taken to heaven, and Elisha stepped up to fill his place. We saw Elisha performing many of the miracles Elijah had done.

Syria started warring against Israel. They tried to capture Elisha so he couldn't help Israel, but he blinded them. They then sieged the capital Samaria, and the people turn to cannibalism as was predicted back in Deuteronomy 28:53. But God was still in control and the siege was lifted. Elisha then visited the king of Syria to predict his death, and saw the terrible things that the new king, Hazael, would do to Israel.

This then started the section of the book focused on Israel's journey to exile. Elisha anoints Jehu as king in the north who process to kill Joram king of Israel, Ahaziah king of Judah, Jezebel, and all the Baal worshipers in Israel. In Judah, Ahaziah's mother, Athaliah, led wickedly before one of Ahaziah’s son, Joash, was old enough to reclaim the throne.

2 Kings 12-14

Yesterday we read how Jehu killed a lot of different people to become king of Israel, and how Joash (sometimes called Jehoash) escaped murder from his mother to become king in Judah. Joash was passionate about God and his temple. He realised that the temple was looking derelict, so he goes to the priests and ask them to put aside some of the money that came into the temple through offerings, and use it to make repairs. The priests agree but then never get round to doing it.

A few years later Joash comes back and, seeing that they've done nothing, takes the responsibility out of his hands. He sets up a box that the money went straight into, and then whenever that box was full he gave the money straight to the builders who were repairing the temple. The temple was once again being restored to its former glory.

But then Hazael, king of Syria, threatened to attack Syria. Joash was afraid, but instead of turning to God, he raided the temple of all of its riches and paid Hazael to leave them alone. In that moment, he chose fear over faith just like his great-great-great grandfather Asa (1 Kings 15:1). He completely undid all that hard work that he'd done for the temple. His reign ended when some of his servants struck him down and killed him. A sad end to a strong reign.

Jehu, king of Israel, dies and his son Jehoahaz becomes king. He continues doing evil like his father did, and most of his reign is spent at war being beaten by Hazael, king of Syria, and later by his son. Towards the end of his reign, Jehoahaz cried out to God for help, and God stopped Israel from being completely destroyed. But by this point, Israel is in a bad way.

After Jehoahaz comes Jehoash (also known as Joash, not to be confused with Joash, also known as Jehoash, the king of Judah). Jehoash was also a king that did evil. During his reign, Elisha passes away. While Elisha is on his deathbed, Jehoash goes to visit him and Elisha tells him that he will defeat and destroy Syria. He then tells Jehoash to start striking the ground with his arrows. Jehoash starts but then stops after just three strikes. Elisha then gets mad at him.

This is probably because, even though we didn't read it, Elisha had made clear the expectations was to keep striking until he said stop. Because of Jehoash's disobedience, he would now only defeat Syria three times, and not completely destroy them. Then Elisha dies, and we get a great story of how a dead man accidentally got thrown into Elisha's grave and comes back to life. This goes to show the power of God that was working through Elisha.

In Syria, king Hazael dies and his son Ben-hadad takes his place. Just as Elisha prophesied, Jehoash was able to defeat Ben-hadad and the Syrians three times, reclaiming land and cities that had been taken from Israel by Hazael.

Moving back to the southern kingdom of Judah, now that Joash is dead, his son Amaziah becomes king. He does what is right, killing the people who killed his father, but not killing their children as other kings might have. He leads people in the right way to live. Unfortunately, he doesn’t remove the cultic places of worship for the foreign gods, and so during his reign, people continue to worship the other gods there.

But then Amaziah gets cocky and goes to war with Jehoash, king of Israel. Jehoash tries to warn him not to go ahead with this, but Amaziah is determined. Israel defeat Judah so badly that they destroy a good section of the walls of Jerusalem and raid it for all its riches. Because of this, some of Amaziah's men killed him and replaced him with his son Azariah. Amaziah was the third king of Judah in a row to be killed by his men.

Meanwhile, in Israel, Jehoash's son Jeroboam becomes king. Jeroboam led the people of Israel to sin. But despite this, he brought a lot of security to Israel. He defeated their enemies and reclaimed land that had been lost in previous wars. It even says that God used Jeroboam to make this happen. Once again, we see God using bad people to achieve his purposes.

Psalm 104

This psalm isn’t attributed to anyone and falls into the category of praise psalm.

Psalm 104:1-9 - Praise God for his creation

Psalm 104:10-18 - God’s provision for all creatures

Psalm 104:19-23 - God created day and night

Psalm 104:24-30 - Wonder at God’s majesty

Psalm 104:31-35 - Praise God for his creation

The psalmist opens with praise to God for his creation. God is majestic, clothed with light and the heavens are his tent. He is lord over the seas and the clouds. He set the foundations of the earth and covered it with the chaotic seas, controlled by his might. He sculpted the mountains and the valleys and fixed them all in place.

Next, the psalmist focuses on how God’s creation provides for his creatures. He created springs that burst forth and gathered so beasts could drink from them. Near those springs, he grew trees which serve as homes for the birds. From God’s place over the earth, he can water the very mountains so that the earth can produce fruit.

God is the one who causes grass to grow for livestock and plants to grow for humans. He is the one who designed wine and oil and bread for humans to enjoy. The trees and mountains were created by God to provide homes for birds and goats and badgers.

Next up is the cycle of day, night and the seasons. God made the moon and the sun. He made the darkness, the place of chaos where wild beasts roam. And that darkness has to give way to the sun, that when the wild beasts go back to their dens and human come out and work.

The psalmist then comes back to wonder at how great and majestic all creation is. God made it all and filled it all with his creatures. The sea, which for so many is a place of chaos, is actually a place of life and abundance because of God. Even the Leviathan, the great beast that the other nations see as the embodiment of chaos. God made the leviathan to be a pet he could play with.

All beasts, even the ones we see as chaotic or evil, look to God for their food. God is the one who provides and cares for them and when God hides from them, they die and return to dust. It’s his spirit that brings forth life.

And so the psalmist ends with praise to God for his creation. May God be glorified for his works. The psalmist will sing his praise and meditate on his works. Let those who are wicked and who reject God’s good works be no more.

This psalm sees all of creation as belonging to God. Even the bits that we might not like or don’t see their purpose. They all find their source and life in him.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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