2 Kings 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Israel and Judah had some of the best land. The neighboring Moabites envied such ground and often would attack both nations to take it. Two kings had already sat on the throne of Israel and now Joram, the son of Ahab was there. The current Moabite king revolted once again against Israel to take the land. Jehoshaphat still sat on the throne in Judah and joined forces once again with the contentious brother of Israel to fight against the enemy.
However, as battle plans were being considered, once again we read of how Jehoshaphat wanted to seek the counsel of God before the attack. Elisha was sought out. The favor of God was on Jehoshaphat and this was the only reason Elisha even responded to the inquiry for direction.
The word Elisha had was different. The men were to dig ditches in the valley. Although there would not be any wind or rain God would fill these ditches with water and bring an illusion to the Moabites that Israel had turned on one another and a bloodbath had ensued.
Let’s think about this. God promised to send water to a valley without any cloud even on the horizon of rain. They had to trust God would provide and believe their trenches would catch the water He would send. Also consider, earlier in this passage it lets us know the men of Israel were tired, hungry and thirsty. Being told to go out and dig ditches on dry ground seemed ridiculous. Yet, this work was absolutely essential in the victory.
The point to consider is often God asks us to prepare for the things He wants to provide. Even when it makes no sense, when we’re as good as dead in our exhaustion, so many times than not He asks us to prepare in anticipation for what He’s going to do.
Charles Spurgeon wrote a beautiful challenge for all of us to consider:
“If we expect to obtain the Holy Spirit’s blessing, we must prepare for His reception. ‘Make the valley full of trenches’ is an order… to make ready for the Holy Spirit’s power; be prepared to receive that which He is about to give. Each man in his place and each woman in her sphere, make the whole of this church full of trenches for the reception of the divine water-floods.”Charles Spurgeon
Where is God asking you to dig a ditch in anticipation of His provision? Where is He asking you to continue to work even though you’re tired and exhausted? Where is He asking you to trust Him in the desert with a promise of His rain to come even though not a cloud is in the sky?
2 Kings 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The verses here in 2 Kings 3 really put into perspective just how evil Ahab and Jezebel really were. Their son, Jehoram (aka Joram), is now king over Israel. We read that he turned from the false god Baal, yet, he still did evil in the sight of God. Though he may have rejected one false god that his parents worshipped, he didn’t return to the Lord. He simply changed his devotion to a different false god.
In our modern-day political age, we complain about having two bad candidates to choose from during an election year, but Israel is currently on a streak of 9 evil kings in a row! Despite the evil leadership, God was still working. He was calling Godly men as His mouthpiece who led the way simultaneously alongside the darkness of Israel’s leadership.
Moab was under the authority of Israel and under king Ahab, they paid a tribute. Once Jehoram became king, Moab decided to stop paying them and Jehoram decided to go wring some necks. He recruited the good king Jehoshaphat from Judah to come along with him, most likely because the king of Judah had a lot more military experience. Jehoshaphat agrees, so they begin to travel through the dry desert of Edom.
Along the way, they recruit a military leader from the kingless nation of the Edomites to fight with them. So, we have Israel led by Jehoram, Judah led by Jehoshaphat, and a representative (called king) from Edom all moving their troops toward Moab. After 7 days, they run out of water. At this point, Scripture highlights two different ways that humans respond to chaos and tragedy.
Jehoram vs. Jehoshaphat
Then the king of Israel said, “Oh no, the LORD has summoned three kings, only to hand them over to Moab.” 11 But Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of the LORD here? Let’s inquire of Yahweh through him.” One of the servants of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat, who used to pour water on Elijah’s hands, is here.”2 Kings 3:10-11 HCSB
Two opposite responses.
Jehoram doubts… Jehoshaphat hopes. Jehoram blames… Jehoshaphat believes. Jehoram looks at the circumstances… Jehoshaphat looks for God.
Two completely different responses, right? So, which of these sounds more like you these days? Are you a doubter… a blamer… a fatalistic thinker? Or are you looking for God even in dark places?
The difference, of course, was found in the fact that Jehoshaphat knew the Lord and Jehoram didn’t. Jehoshaphat had seen the works of God in the dead-end moments of life. He had witnessed the power and faithfulness of the Lord. He knew exactly where to do to find Him. In that time, seeking the Lord meant seeking His prophets. So, they summon for Elisha.
God Provides The Victory
There is so much I love in this chapter. I love how Elisha has picked up Elijah’s mantle and has inherited the same direct, convicting, borderline-snarky attitude. I can’t help but smirk when I read of Elisha turning to Jehoram and quipping, “We have nothing in common. Go to the prophets of your father and your mother!” Incredible truth.
But, I also love how God was faithful to deliver His people despite the fact that Jehoram had no faith and no interest in loving God. Incredible grace.
Does God still work in the same way today? Absolutely. Throughout history, believers and nonbelievers have mingled together in the busyness of our daily grind while God sits back and does His thing. The words and actions of Jehoshaphat and Elisha were treasured riches of grace that were attempting to speak directly to the heart of Jehoram despite his lack of spiritual interest. What happened in the end? All glory would go to God. The same is true for us.