Day 17

Attempts at Reform

from the 1 & 2 Kings reading plan

2 Kings 8:16-29, 2 Kings 9:1-37, 2 Kings 10:1-36, Psalm 72:1-20

BY Maria Furlough

How does it make you feel to hear someone blame God when bad things happen? Or when you find something difficult to understand or accept in Scripture—how does that affect you? For me, so many conflicting thoughts, theories, and perceptions can seep into my heart, creating doubt that threatens to weaken my faith. This is what I thought of when reading through today’s passages, when God calls Elisha to anoint Jehu as Israel’s king.

“This is what the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I anoint you king
over the LORD’s people, Israel. You are to strike down the house
of your master Ahab so that I may avenge the blood shed by the hand of Jezebel—
the blood of my servants the prophets and of all the servants of the LORD’” (2 Kings 9:6–7).

I am so grateful that we know the context of all that came before this! Reading through 1 and 2 Kings, I am often reminded of why God’s story needs to be read straight through and in its entirety. Out of context, some pieces of the story do not fit, and can even seem to conflict. But with the whole story, we see God working in and through all things, which strengthens our hope in a powerful God, who is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. We see through the entirety of Scripture that God gives His people ample opportunities to reform, warning them that should they not repent and turn back to Him, the outcome will not be good. Still, they don’t always listen.

But rest assured, when God says something will happen, it will happen. In 2 Kings 9:22, King Jehu goes to Jezebel to fulfill what God predicted through the prophet Elijah fourteen years earlier (1 Kings 21:23–24). And so when Jehu obeys God’s command to kill Jezebel, who brought about “so much prostitution and sorcery,” his actions were “[fulfilling] the LORD’s word that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite” (2 Kings 9:36).

The God we serve is mighty and just. He cannot be overthrown and will not be mocked, yet He is gracious to give us fair warning as to where our sinful choices will ultimately lead us. Though these verses describing violent scenes might cause us to squirm, may we instead rest our eyes on our Savior, whose death and resurrection have brought us redemption and hope through His own blood being shed. These passages point to our need for salvation, our need for Jesus.

The God of Israel is the one “who does wonders… the whole earth is filled with his glory” (Psalm 72:18–19). Jehu trusted this, despite not fully understanding what God was doing. He knew that when God calls, you answer that call. When He commands, you obey. Through the difficult, uncomfortable, and hard-to-explain things of this life, may our devotion and zeal for the Lord sustain us in all situations (2 Kings 10:16).

Post Comments (13)

13 thoughts on "Attempts at Reform"

  1. Kristen says:

    Hi Lindsey, I am currently reading the book, Breaking the Fear Cycle by Maria Furlough, the woman that wrote today’s devotional. I know from her book that she is no stranger to pain. She battled fear. One day, her biggest fear came to pass. She found out that her baby would be carried to term, but not live. Her baby would have no kidneys, bladder, amniotic fluid, and the lungs couldn’t develop. She is real in this book. She struggled. I love what the author of Loving Your Friend Through Cancer says about her. She said, That when we are afraid, we don’t need an optimist to deny our worries or a disciplinarian to condemn our anxiety; we need a truth-telling friend who points us to our Savior. In the book, she acknowledges our greatest fears and loving guides us through God’s Word to find our peace and confidence in the Lord.” I don’t know her personally, but she describes in her book that she wrestled with God. I think that may be why she wrote like this today. Please do not think I’m diminishing your or any one else’s pain. I’ve been through so much myself including burying a child, and so much more that I didn’t think would happen. I think everyone is right. We have to trust Him and His Word. I’m just saying this in love, and I hope you don’t think I’m being mean. We are sisters in Christ, and I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through.

  2. Ashley Thomas says:

    I have been walking in a difficult season for some time. I feel as though I have been in more valleys than mountaintops, and sometimes there seems to be no end. I have to continuously remind myself God is in control. It’s His will be done, not mine. I know these trials will propel me forward eventually. This point is like the tension felt when you pull an arrow back on a bow- it’s a hard place to be, but when you let go, you fly forward.

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