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Elisha Dies (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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August 3, 2023 6:00 am

Elisha Dies (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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August 3, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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He saw the oppression of Israel because the king of Syria oppressed them. Well, here's the spiritual fickleness of man and the extraordinary mercy of God.

This is a flash in the pan. He pleaded with Yahweh. He does because the pressure's on, but he's going to go right back to his old ways after. God helps. We see this acted out. We don't have to look at this and say, well, that never happens.

It happens all the time. As has been said, no atheists in foxholes. While the shelling's going on, they're calling out to God.

Then the shelling stops. They come out, I'm okay now, and back to being an atheist. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Book of Second Kings.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. And now here's Pastor Rick in the Book of Second Kings chapter 13. As he begins his message, Elisha dies. Second Kings chapter 13. Now we're going back in time. There's no chronological order with these historians in the Old Testament, and you just have to get used to it. We covered the history of the king and the false queen, the illegitimate queen, in chapters 11 and 12, in Judah.

Now we're going back to the north. So we look at verse 1. In the 23rd year of Joash, the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, became king over Israel and Samaria and reigned 17 years.

I almost want to tell you, don't listen to me while I'm reading these names. We're about 835 years before the coming of Christ. Syria is the nation that is scourging both north and southern kingdoms, both these kings. We have two kings here in verse 1, Joash in the south, king of Judah, and Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, in the north. And because of their rebellious behavior towards God, the Lord let the Syrians come upon them.

And they never figured it out. Verse 2, it continues, And he did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nabat, who had made Israel sin. He did not depart from them. Well, this is talking about Jehoahaz, the king in the north, that's the one that did evil in the sight of Yahweh, and followed the sins of Jeroboam.

More of the same, almost boring, you know. Oh, look, another apostate king. Another king that thumbs his nose at God, and then when he gets in trouble, asks for God to come and help him.

This is the case with people. Some of us were guilty of this before we came to know the Lord. This routine, selfish ambition that surfaces these evil passions that make mockery of Yahweh, we would expect this from the Syrians, but from the Hebrews.

It is such a disappointing surprise. Every time, it never gets old, with our surprise, our disappointment when we read these things in the scripture. Referencing Jeroboam, the first king of the north, going back many years, it says, who made Israel sin. He did not depart from them. In other words, this present king, Jehoahaz, is following right along with the sins introduced by Jeroboam in the north. All of the kings in the north continue this in some form, some fashion of rebellion.

Some in the south also, but at least in the southern kingdom, there were righteous kings. The historians never let us forget it. It's as though when the men were writing this history, they just, you know, don't forget to put Jeroboam in it, because that creep. Maybe they didn't feel that way, but I would have felt that way.

But they never let us lose sight of this, because it was a big deal. Satan knows men will sacrifice truth to imagination. Never mind the truth, I like what this sounds like more. I'd rather make something up. Fiction is more exciting than truth, so the devil says, and so people believe. When you make imagination your god, you kill the ability to reason correctly. Otherwise, intelligent people become irrational when it comes to talking about Christ and the Bible. And a defective imagination will suppose that fiction does sound better than the truth. Who needs reason?

If you like it, that's reason enough. Choosing to serve what mankind has created over what the creator has said himself. You know, this is the case with every false religion. And you say, well, what makes your religion true? Well, we say the Bible. And you say, well, what makes the Bible true? Well, the facts. You line up the prophecies, for example, you line up the history, the archaeology, and it overcomes all of them. But most folks don't want to take time to consider it. The consequences are severe. This king, he, Jehoiaz, he also does not depart.

The sin of Jeroboam refers to what is called syncretism. It's a fancy word. I don't care for it. But I want you to not care for it either. And you'll read it in commentaries or you'll hear preachers use it.

I prefer the word leaven. But that's all it means. You've just mixed into truth junk. You've poisoned the well.

And you expect people to drink from that well and enjoy it. This is what syncretism is. This is what Jeroboam did. He took the truth of Yahweh. Yes, Yahweh led you out of Egypt. And brought you into the promised land.

This is his image, this calf. This is what we're going to worship him through when he strictly forbade them from doing this. And not only did they do it, they got away with it amongst themselves. And this is why the historian says that Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, that made Israel sin. You know, some of the dads are linked right with their evil sons.

Judas Iscariot, you know, his father is linked with him. Not in every case. But often enough to raise an eyebrow.

Often enough to consider. Because we know that when we look at the scriptures, God's speaking to us through what has been recorded. In verse 3 it continues, then the anger of Yahweh was aroused against Israel and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael, king of Syria. And into the hand of Ben-Hadad, the son of Hazael, all their days.

Well, that's true. While these kings were on the throne, the fighting with Syria just did not stop. It will eventually. And then it just, then the Assyrians are coming. Then the Babylonians are coming. Then the Romans will come. And it just, all because of how they treated God. And that's not the worst thing that happened to them. The worst thing that happened to those idolaters was death and then stand before a holy God that said, why did you do it when I told you not to do it?

It's a separating factor. So the anger of the Lord is aroused against Israel for no new reason. They didn't come up with something creative. Hey, let's really wow God and impress him with how idolatrous we can be. It was the same sin over and over again. Satan is not that creative.

He doesn't have to be. Men will fall for whatever he waves in front of them one way or another. They make it shiny enough, make it sweeter. You put butter and sugar on anything and eventually it's gonna taste good. Well, within the food categories.

There are some things that I won't mention because I know some of you like them. Anyway, coming back to this, man says, if God does not conform to me, to man, then I'll have to find another God. When were you gonna get one? Amazon Prime.

Just make one up. That's exactly, this is the truth. I'm just simplifying. This is exactly what mankind does. Rendering truth irrelevant because God's not conforming.

Most of human history has done this. It says here in verse 3, and he delivered them into the hand of Haziel, king of Syria. Still talking about Jehoiaz, the king of the northern kingdom.

Remember Israel, the kingdom split because of Rehoboam and Solomon. It says here in verse 3 at the bottom, and into the hand of Ben-Hadad, the son of Haziel. So Ben-Hadad is a title. It means the son of Hadad. Hadad was a pagan god. It's not calling dad.

Well, it's kind of cute. Some of these names are sentences. Hadad, I mean, but anyway, it's a pagan god and it's showing deference to their homemade deities. A frequent Syrian title. Haziel had killed a Ben-Hadad, another king to take the throne from him.

All their days, these conflicts were going on. Blessings were withdrawn by Yahweh as he warned them he would do, resulting in this prolonged period of conflict with Syria and the constant defeats and loss of territory and lives that went with it. Verse 4, so Jehoiaz pleaded with Yahweh and Yahweh listened to him, but he saw the oppression of Israel because the king of Syria oppressed them. Well, here's the spiritual fickleness of man and the extraordinary mercy of God. This is a flash in the pan. He pleaded with Yahweh.

He does because the pressure's on, but he's going to go right back to his old ways after God helps. We see this acted out. We don't have to look at this and say, well, that never happens.

It happens all the time. As has been said, no atheists in foxholes. While the shelling's going on, they're calling out to God. Then the shelling stops, they come out, I'm okay now, and back to being an atheist.

This, again, flash in the pan, nothing more. It says in Yahweh listened to him. Yeah, because of the people, because of the plight on the people. It's the mercy of God. Just because God shows the mercy doesn't mean he approves of the behavior. Psalm 85, the psalmist wrote, but you, O Lord, are a God full of compassion and gracious, long suffering and abundant in mercy and truth. A lot of people like to leave that part out.

They just want the compassion. You stick around life long enough and you begin to say, well, if God is so merciful, why am I so miserable? Well, the curse is on us all, like gravity. The curse is a blanket on the earth, on humanity, and we have to cut through it.

If some can get it right in the spite of this misery and still love and worship God, then what's the excuse of the others? Isaiah 55, seek Yahweh while he may be found. Call upon him while he is near. What do you mean while he may be found? Is he going somewhere?

No, but you are. You can drop dead, then it'd be too late. You won't be able to call upon him.

You'll miss the moment. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Now, Isaiah wrote this years after these events, but it's been true throughout the existence of God, which is eternal. Isaiah 30, again, woe to the rebellious children who says Yahweh, who take counsel but not of me, who devise plans but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin. They don't come to me.

They call out, they go to anybody else, but they won't come to me. He continues in verse 4, and he saw the oppression of Israel because the king of Syria oppressed them. So God, again, showing mercy in an attempt to appeal to the reason of the people, so that the individual person would say, this is God. It just is mercy. He knows we've been resisting him, scoffing at him, and he's reaching out to us, and the righteous would say, okay, now I'm going to up my loyalty to God.

The unrighteous, of course, will take what they can get and go on their way, not even bother to say thank you. Reason would say, if I'm receiving his mercy, I'm going to start being excited about him. How many of you, when you sing about the mercy and love of God, do you become moved in the spirit?

Arms go up. You know, certain songs, you know, you just know that it's going to register with the believers more than just other parts, not that no slide on the other parts, but they're just certain highlights of a song that hit the target. A lot of, you know, amazing grace, how sweet the sound. It saved a wretch like me. It takes a Christian to own it. That's what we, to say, yeah, from God's perspective, that is what I am. Maybe not from people, from other people, but from God, a holy God, I am wretched because I am a sinner.

And yet, the arm extends out to me. Come, come to me, all you who will to be saved. Well, many would never give God that satisfaction, deploring his mercy. They just, I'm not going to give him, you know, again, I don't believe that atheists exist.

I don't mean to be humorous with it, although I think it is humorous. But if you say, I don't believe God exists, I say, no, I don't believe you believe that. I think you're lying to yourself and then you're lying to me. The Bible says, a fool is said in his heart, there is no God. You have to be a fool. And what you're saying, actually, is you know there is a God and you don't like him. And you're going to get him. And what a better, is there a better way than to ignore someone?

To just totally ignore them? Again, that's what Christ did to Herod. Verse 5, then, we haven't even gotten to Elijah's death yet, speed it up.

You're slowing me down. Then Yahweh gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before. Now this forms, verses 5 and 6 form a parenthesis, as did chapters 11 and 12, talking about the kings and then all of a sudden we get the kings of the north, then all of a sudden we get the kings of the south. This is common.

And if you, you know, you get, if you start studying, you're getting twisted up and it forces you to build charts and study. Well anyway, this is a parenthesis because he's summarizing what happened with the Syrians in Israel. And if you don't recognize that, then you may think there are contradictions, when that is not at all the case. Verse 7 tells us of the havoc the king of Syria wrought amongst the Jews. So the king's prayer, though heard, it was not answered at once.

It's going to be rolled out. Joash, this king, Jehoias, his son, will be the first partial deliverer from the Syrians. And he warred with them for 16 years. He took cities that his father lost to them. He also went to Jerusalem and plundered Jerusalem.

I know. You see, this is a Hebrew-plundering Jerusalem. What is wrong with these people? It's like the Baptist going to beat up the, you know, the Methodists. It's like, what are you Christians?

What are you doing? Well, we're only Christians on Sunday morning. It's okay to beat up everybody afterwards. Anyway, well, if you're a Methodist, let me reverse it. It's like the Methodists going to beat up the Baptist.

This way we have equal beat-downs in Christianity. Well, this deliverance, again, is summarizing it. We don't know who this deliverer is by name.

There are some options we have. I think it's a military figure, or, well, here are the options. You can say, well, it was Elisha, his influence that eventually led to the deliverance you can say it was the Assyrians, because, you see, the Assyrians, they have the Syrians, then you have the Assyrians, because they had to outdo the Assyrians. So they put another A and S in front of theirs, being goofy, because it's like, can't you just get more distinct with these things, historians? Well, they're not historians.

Anyway, let me wind it back some and let that unconfuse you. Syria is attacking both the northern and southern kingdom of Israel because of their rebellion against God. In time, the Assyrian Empire, which is to the northeast of Syria, gets strong, and they become the menace in the area and eventually the power. So much so that Syria will join with the northern kingdom to fight against the aggression of Assyria, and they will say to Judah, hey, join us, too. The three of us can fight these guys, and Judah says, no, I'm going with the Assyrians, because I don't think you can take him. It's all this politicking going on, and that is Isaiah chapter 7.

And we're not there, and be happy about that. Anyway, the third figure of Syria, Elijah, Jeroboam II, the grandson of this king that we've been talking about, he eventually extends the boundaries and defeats the Assyrians, but he remains a pagan idolater nonetheless. So they escape from under the hand of the Assyrians, and that is a summary of what is going on. It will, 80 years later again, the Assyrians will come along and be a menace in the area. At the end of verse 7, it says, and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before. And so the summary concludes with a peaceful people living outside the refuge of walled cities because the Assyrians are no longer coming against them.

But there's no time stamp on this. This is, you know, spread out over a long period of time, this struggle. After Elijah dies, the Moabites are going to be a problem. So let's move on to verse 6. Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam who had made Israel sin.

The historian gives it to him again. But walked in them, and the wooden image also remained in Samaria. Well, the founder of idolatry in the north, Jeroboam, he'd rather keep his kingdom than his salvation.

That's what it came down to. He saw the people were still going to Jerusalem to worship. He said, I didn't stop that. Their allegiance is going to be confused. But God promised you were going to be all right.

That wasn't good enough. When God's promises aren't good enough, there's trouble. So he is the forefather of figurine worship in the northern kingdom.

And of course, I mean that disparagingly. They continued to attend the golden calf centers in the cities of Dan and Bathsheba. You know, the city of Dan, the archaeologists have unearthed it, and you go to see it today, and it's just really beautiful. And you get to see the gates of the city that the Bible makes such a fuss about, you know, in the gates of the city.

And you see it. And that's where the war councils were. That's where the city hall was.

It was exciting to see it. Well, Dan was one of those pagan centers, and to this day there are those archaeological evidences of their pagan worship. But they made these centers of worship, Dan and Bathsheba, north and south, to sidestep Jerusalem. It would be like someone claiming to be a Christian and worshiping with the Jehovah's Witnesses of the Mormons, who clearly are not Christians. The Mormons went out of their way when they began and said, we're not Christians, we are Mormons. And then they found out, you know, we need to recruit more people. And the recruiting is down, so they changed the name to Latter-day Saints. Well, they didn't change it, but they emphasized that part. Then they found we can do a little bit more, so they downsized it to, not LSD, but LDS.

And what's the difference? So, you know, to mess with people's heads like the colonel did, Colonel Sanders. Used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken, but people said, that's fattening. Well, let's call it KFC. Oh, that's better.

I just lost 50 calories. So, you know, stuff is how it is. Coming back to this, both the northern and southern kingdoms were, of course, were denying Yahweh, contrary to his clear words. They were blatantly rejecting his revealed truth by saying, these are your gods, when God said, you shall have no images before. Don't go painting pictures of me thinking I look like that. Imagine if someone did that to you, even if it was flattering. If you say, wow, that is a handsome figure, but I'm not that handsome. You'd be insulted, because, you know, unless you're comfortable with lies, you might say, I like this.

Then that would make you a PR man. But coming back, that would be Hollywood. There's nothing out there that's real, except the insanity. So, coming back, who made Israel sin? Again, the man that scoffed at the Bible, but they walked in them these sins of Jeroboam I, and the wooden image also remained in Samaria. Well, that wooden image was a lewd representation.

There were explicit sexual things about it. The King James says it this way, the old King James, and there remained the grove also in Samaria. Well, the translators, they favor grove or image because they're giving us an interpretive rendering, which is sometimes a pain in the neck, but other times it's like, thank you, I needed that. It should read that they walked, they went with Ashtoreth. That's what it says in the Hebrew. But if you're a common reader to the scripture, you don't know who Ashtoreth is and so then you have to do your work. So the translators, most of them feel that they're helping the casual reader understand what was going on. And it is a help to them, perhaps, but to those who are educated readers, it's quite annoying because we say that's not what it says in the Hebrew.

Why didn't you just put the name? I don't mind these interpretive renderings, the idioms that they have to deal with. It's a Herculean task. Well, wait a minute, that was a pagan, a false god, right? But it was a huge task.

What I would like from translators is more consistency so that the word hand is always translated as hand and not mix it up sometimes and say it's a limb. That just sends me to the concordance. So anyway, it's nothing to fuss about. The truth is all there. None of the truth is lost. These places, there were wooden images there for Ashtoreth. There were groves where these actions took place.

There's no deception going on. It's a struggle of trying to take a foreign language in a foreign age and make it understandable to an audience who really is unfamiliar with the history. One other thing about this, this is the capital city of the Northern Kingdom and they had these centers all over the Northern Kingdom. There were some in Judah too. But it wasn't just Dan and Bathsheba if you wanted calf worship, but if that wasn't your flavor, if you'd like another form of fake gods, then we have these other little centers like little pit stops on the way. You drive around town, you see these little white boxes for George Washington once parked here or something like that.

It's a historical thing. Well, in Israel you could sacrifice at one of these pit stops along the way. Thanks for joining us for today's edition on Cross-Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today in the Book of 2 Kings has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to crossreferenceradio.com. Once more, that's crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. Our time is about up, but we hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue on in the Book of 2 Kings. We look forward to that time with you, so make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick as he teaches from the Bible right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-03 06:48:44 / 2023-08-03 06:58:56 / 10

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