2 Kings 11-13…God is slow to anger.
Sometimes God’s grace of salvation shows up in unexpected places as well, and today’s reading gives us an example of just that. These chapters recount the story of two evil kings of Israel, Jehoahaz and Jehoash. Both received the same indictment: “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD,” and both continued Israel’s pervasive idolatry. As a result, the nation of Israel suffered for its disobedience: the Arameans persisted as a thorn in Israel’s side, oppressing them continually.
Yet in the midst of this oft-repeated cycle of sin and idolatry, surprising moments appear when the kings softened and God’s grace and mercy showed through. Jehoahaz, we are told, unexpectedly sought the LORD’s favor. The response? Seeing their great suffering, “The LORD listened to him” and sent a deliverer (this could also be translated as “savior”) to rescue them (13:4-5). Is this not God’s gracious way? In the midst of humanity’s oppression under sin and death, God sent the ultimate Savior, Christ, to rescue us.
Then there was Jehoash, the second wicked king. Hearing of Elisha’s impending death, the king went to him in tears over the coming loss of God’s prophet in Israel. The response? Through Elisha, God demonstrated the hope of salvation and life. First, Elisha declared the arrow of victory and the three-fold defeat of the Arameans was soon fulfilled. Then came the strange resurrection of a dead man through Elisha’s bones. Both episodes illustrate God’s ability and willingness to extend life and grace to His people, if only they would turn and ask.