Day 18

Further Attempts at Reform

from the 1 & 2 Kings reading plan


2 Kings 11:1-20, 2 Kings 12:1-21, 2 Kings 13:1-25, Psalm 125:1-5

BY Maria Furlough

Yes! The Israelites finally figured it out! God’s people are finally back in step with Him, and everything looks so promising (2 Kings 11:17). No more altars to worship Baal, no more Jezebel. Instead, a king has been appointed who will listen to instruction from the Lord’s priest. Israel has changed its ways!

We long for the complete demolishing of idolatry to be true in our own lives. Our very spirits grieve knowing that we were created for perfect unity with God, yet our sinfulness continually gets in the way. Like us, Israel doesn’t keep it together for long. “Throughout the time the priest Johoiada instructed him, Joash did what was right in the LORD’s sight. Yet the high places were not taken away; the people continued sacrificing and burning incense on the high places” (2 Kings 12:2–3). God’s people held on to just a few of their old ways. The Israelites wanted to serve God, but they wouldn’t do it fully. Old cultural habits would seep in and distract them and pull them away from worshiping the one true God.

At the onset, it’s tempting to judge the Israelites for their failures. We can look back and see all the ways God has proven Himself faithful. We see all the times they were warned about coming judgment and consequences, and we stand shocked at their perpetual disobedience. But are we really so different from them?

If I’m honest, sometimes I like a side dish of God while I leave the main course of my life to idol worship. I give my main allegiance to the high places I build up to worship such things as physical attractiveness, success, health, comfort, control, security, money. My altars may look different, but they still push God to the side. Still, God is faithful, even when I am not.

God never left Israel. Through all their division, defiance, and death, God always stayed true. He didn’t give up on them, and He will never give up on us. Despite their philandering hearts, “the LORD was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and turned toward them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was not willing to destroy them. Even now he has not banished them from his presence” (2 Kings 13:23).

At times we may become discouraged—sad that our world, our culture, our church, our neighborhood, or our school will never get it “right.” This sadness is right and good, because in our sorrow, we are agreeing with God that all is not as it should be. God knows this world is broken, and He knows us inside and out. He still loves us and always will. He pursues us with relentless passion. It is because of God’s determinate love that we have unstoppable hope. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken” (Psalm 125:1). Yes, we should be diligent in tearing down any altars that threaten to lure our affection away from Christ—they all have to go—but our ability to trust in the Lord is sustained by Him alone. God’s story for Israel does not end in 2 Kings. It is only a part of God’s eternal love story with His people.

Post Comments (6)

6 thoughts on "Further Attempts at Reform"

  1. Churchmouse says:

    What an interesting little miracle is squeezed in between the accounts of this particular king ruling and then the next, who was evil and who was only partially evil. The Israelites were burying a man, saw an enemy raiding party, and unceremoniously tossed the dead man into the nearest tomb – which happened to be Elisha’s. When the dead man’s bones touched Elisha’s, he was revived and stood up! Imagine being that man with that story to tell! Dramatic testimony for sure.

    Do we not each have a revival story to tell? Has not our Lord revived our sin-sick soul and brought us to new life? Is it time to stand up and tell what the Lord has done? Let’s run out of that tomb and share our great news!

  2. Mallorie Bailey says:

    This is so true: “If I’m honest, sometimes I like a side dish of God while I leave the main course of my life to idol worship. I give my main allegiance to the high places I build up to worship such things as physical attractiveness, success, health, comfort, control, security, money. My altars may look different, but they still push God to the side. Still, God is faithful, even when I am not.”

  3. Taylor says:

    I am thankful the story didn’t end in 2 Kings. Thankful that Jesus came to Earth and died in MY place, that HE reigns as the King of my heart! I love the perspective that all of the Israelites’ failures are part of God’s ETERNAL love story, one that continues even today in 2019! Therefore we have unstoppable hope. That unstoppable hope springs us into action to not only tear down any idols in our lives but also to share that hope with others. Have a great day SRT community!

  4. Monica Davis says:

    Idolatry is present even now. Pray for the high places of our lives to be taken down COMPLETELY

  5. Emily says:

    I am absolutely LOVING the FULL scripture readings!! It gives the ENTIRE picture and is so helpful and CLEAR, it gives an AWESOME picture of who God is, how faithful He is ..and having the whole picture leaves little room for things to be misinterpreted or taken out of context. I HOPE the studies we do in future continue this way!! It’s been SUCH an incredible blessing for me!!!

  6. Stefanie Mokoena says:

    This speaks to me so much! I was thinking “why do they not get it right. Have they forgotten all that God has done?”… just to stop short and realising how easily I forget all that has God done in my life. I’m repeating the same things Israel did. Forgetting what God has done and returning to my old ways. How great our God is to not give up on us!

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