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Day 101 – Thru the Bible
Today we begin Second Kings and continue Psalms.
Here’s a replay of the video that walks us through 1 & 2 Kings.
Video – Read Scripture: 1 & 2 Kings
2 Kings 1 – This is not the first time that Elijah had called down fire from heaven. Back in 1 Kings 18, Israel was worshiping Baal instead of Yahweh, and so Elijah initiated a test to demonstrate that Baal was a false God and Yahweh was the true God—“the God who answers by fire, He is God” (1 Kings 18:24).
Now, in 2 Kings 1, Israel’s king has rejected Yahweh as God by sending his messengers to Ekron to consult Baal-zebub (lord of the flies). Elijah’s interception of the messengers, his rebuke of the king, and the deliverance of the Lord’s judgment does not sit well with the king, and so Elijah is summoned. When Elijah responds with fire to the king’s summons, the point is clear: Yahweh, not Baal-zebub, is the true God.
As Believers, the events recorded in 1 Kings 18 and 2 Kings 1 may seem overly harsh. We may cringe when we read that the Lord was willing to kill more than five hundred men just to prove that he was the one true God. But these events make an important point: the recognition of the one true God is a matter of life and death. These temporal consequences are severe, but the eternal consequences of false religion and rejecting the true God are more so, making God’s display of His true power a merciful warning to all.
The New Testament makes this same point. There came a time during the ministry of Jesus when a certain town rejected Him. Two of the disciples wanted, like Elijah, to call down fire from heaven and destroy the town (Luke 9:51–56). After all, Jesus is the one true God, and His disciples were zealous to make that known. But Jesus rebuked His disciples.
Why? Because this time, God Himself would suffer death in order to make it known that He alone is God. In this instance, the severity of God’s wrath toward His own Son becomes the demonstration of His steadfast love toward us. Yes, knowing God is a matter of life and death. But the gravity of this knowledge is matched by the depth of God’s love: He was willing to die in order to make Himself known to us.
If we long to make the one true God known to the world, then we too must answer with “fire”: the fire of the Father’s love for us, as demonstrated in the death of His Son.
How does this remind you of the great price Jesus has paid in order to purchase your freedom from your sin?
2 Kings 2 – Hope is something God’s people need, and hope is something we have in abundance. Sometimes, however, the pictures of hope presented in the Old Testament can be difficult to understand, like the one presented in this text.
First, we must remember that the ministries of Elijah and Elisha were preparing God’s people for exile. Because of Israel’s rejection of the Lord, judgment was coming, and that judgment was destruction and exile. The ministry of Elijah was presented in such a way as to teach God’s people that He was able to protect and provide for them, even while they were in exile—but this did not change the fact that exile was coming.
Consider the way in which the ministry of Elijah comes to an end. He departs the Promised Land through Jericho and across the Jordan River, retracing the route through which God’s people first entered the land back in the book of Joshua. Exile was coming, and Elijah’s actions became a prophetic picture of it.
We must also consider the way in which Elisha’s ministry began. He crossed the Jordan River on dry ground, came to the city of Jericho, and reversed the curse of the bitter water in that town Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34). In this way, Elisha foretold of Israel’s return from exile and the reversal of that curse with a retelling of Israel’s initial entry into the land in the time of Joshua.
In other words, the events recorded in 2 Kings 2 were written to provide hope for God’s people. Even as the Lord brings judgment, He insists on giving His covenant people hope. Whether before or during exile, then, God’s people had before them a clear picture of the hope their faithful God provided.
Our covenant Lord is a God of hope. Believers need not despair despite the difficulties and failings of this life. We are reminded by this text that the Lord protects and provides for His people. He promises to bring us home and reverse the curse of our alienation (Ephesians 2:19).
Israel had the picture of Elisha’s miraculous river crossing to give them hope. Today, what is our much deeper reason for hope? Hint: Acts 23:6; 24:15; 1 Peter 1:3.
2 Kings 3 – A major theme that runs through the book of Kings is God’s steadfast love for His covenant people. The Lord remains committed to the covenant even when His people persist in acts of covenant breaking. In other words, the Lord treats His people graciously, in ways that they (and we) certainly do not deserve.
These few verses in 2 Kings 3 remind us of this important aspect of grace. Elisha treats the evil king of Israel graciously, in a way that he does not deserve. The reason for this treatment is the immediate connection between Jehoram, king of Israel, and Jehoshaphat, king of Judah: “were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you.”
Elisha’s regard for Jehoram did not stem from Elisha’s relationship with Jehoram, but rather through Jehoshaphat as a mediator. In other words, Jehoram benefited from the good relationship between Jehoshaphat and Elisha.
The pattern of mercy and grace exhibited here is a small picture of a larger reality appearing in the New Testament. The Lord continues to treat His covenant people according to His steadfast love, in ways that we do not deserve. The reality that undergirds this type of gracious treatment also remains the same. It is rooted in the consideration of another, a mediator.
Thankfully, in the New Testament, the mediator is not another flawed king. It is the Lord Himself, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 9:15; 12:24). The hope of each Believer, the grounds for our assurance, achieved by virtue of our union with Jesus, is that the heavenly Father treats His people with grace, mercy, and compassion because of our unbreakable connection with His Son.
Were it not that the Father has regard for Jesus, the King of kings, He would neither look at us nor see us. How does this connection alone produces peace, joy, and assurance in the our lives?
Psalm 101 – Book 4 of the Psalter (Psalms 90–106) contains two psalms of David: Psalms 101 and 103. Psalm 101 is a royal psalm that tells of the Greater Son of David who will reign with righteousness and justice. Because of the perfect righteousness of this King, His commitment to live in peace with His own people, and the complete vanquishing of God’s enemies He will bring about, this psalm must refer ultimately and only fully to Jesus. He is the King from the line of David to fulfill all that the Messiah was to do.
The king opens the psalm pledging to sing and make music to God. He will extol the “steadfast love and justice” of the Lord, which anticipates the incarnation of the final King who comes displaying the “grace and truth” of his Father (John 1:14, 17). Jesus, the true King, will embody the very character here extolled, all for the purpose of saving His people and conquering His enemies. The perfection of His own life surpasses any other person, including David himself. This King will display “integrity of heart” while declaring that He will not set before His eyes “anything that is worthless” and will “know nothing of evil.”
Here is one, then, who lives a perfect life, sinless and obedient, which qualifies Him to save His people from their sins. But He not only will save and purify His people (Ephesians 5:25–27), He also will judge the wicked (Ps. 101:5, 7–8; Psalm 2). Only Jesus, the perfect Savior and Judge, can fulfill the vision of this glorious psalm.
How does this Psalm lead you to worship the King of kings?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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