II Kings 14

Vs. 1, “In the second year of Jehoash son of Jehoahaz king of Israel, Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah began to reign.”  Things started out well for Amaziah by obeying the Lord and avenging his father’s death (Joash).  Unfortunately, Amaziah did not follow the ways of King David but in the footsteps of his father (vs. 3-4).  The battle and victory against the Edomites (vs. 7) was a response to their earlier revolt (II Kings 8:20).  Judah’s sound victory over Edom without the help of the Israelites (II Chronicles 25) caused Amaziah to get overconfident (vs. 7-8).  Jehoash King of Israel would not be impressed and would subsequently invade Judah and plunder Jerusalem (vs. 11-14).  This would eventually lead to Amaziah’s death by his own people (vs. 19).  The ending of our chapter sets up the new kings of Israel (Jeroboam II) and Judah (Azariah, also Uzziah).

Regarding application…Ugliness of Pride.  Vs. 8, “Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, with the challenge: “Come, meet me face to face.”  Amaziah’s head got too big!  His victory over Edom without needing the help of the Israelites caused him to think too high of himself.  Even though he was warned by Jehoash to back off, the ugliness of pride would not go away.  Question: When did pride become too big in your life?  I was on the wrestling team in high school.  The state tournament began and I had drawn an opponent I had beaten twice earlier that season.  I went into that match with such a big head, I wasn’t even thinking about my current opponent.  I was already envisioning my victory over all my opponents.  My pride led to my downfall and I was pinned in within twenty seconds!  “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:8

II Kings 13

Vs. 23, “But the LORD was gracious to them and had compassion and showed concern for them because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. To this day he has been unwilling to destroy them or banish them from his presence.”  We now turn our attention to Israel (Northern Kingdom) as we see Jehu’s son Jehoahaz take his father’s place to rule (vs. 1-9).  Jehoahaz did evil in the eyes of the LORD causing his people to be oppressed by the Arameans.  But, Jehoahaz cried out to the LORD and His compassion would save Israel.  His son Jehoash would fair no better as he continued to do evil (vs. 10-13).  During the reign of Jehoash, he would encounter the prophet Elisha (vs. 14-19).  Elisha gave him a golden opportunity to finally defeat the Arameans once and for all, but his lack of faith would limit what God could do.  We are reminded of the great power God gave Elisha even after he died (vs. 20-21).  The ending of our chapter chronicles Jehoash’s temporary victory and recovery for Israel against the Arameans (vs. 22-25).

Regarding application…The Lord Provides.  Vs. 5, “The LORD provided a deliverer for Israel, and they escaped from the power of Aram. So the Israelites lived in their own homes as they had before.”  Jehovah Jireh means the Lord provides.  Something we take for granted is the fact that God often provides even when we don’t deserve it.  When I read the broken sinful record of Israel’s history and kings, I tend to be quick to judge them.  Yet, when I think about my own life and failures, I am humbled.  The Lord provided the moment that King Jehoahaz humbled himself and cried out.  What a compassionate and gracious God we have!  Just as the Arameans were oppressing the Israelites, we often have our own tragic struggles.  Question: What area of life do you need the Lord to provide deliverance in?

Amos 7

Vs. 2, “When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”  Despite Israel’s lack of repentance, Amos boldly calls out to the LORD to forgive.  We see three visions that Amos experiences: locusts (vs. 1-3), fire (vs. 4-6) and the plumb tree (vs. 7-9).  It’s interesting to note how the prayer of Amos brought a change in God’s original plan in the first two visions.    However, the plumb tree/line gives a historical picture of Egyptian engineering.  They would use the plumb line rope and use an actual plumb to hang from a wall to determine if it was built correctly.  God was measuring His people and something wasn’t right.  Amos finally pushed too many buttons and Amaziah the priest finally went to report King Jeroboam II about these prophecies (vs. 10-11).  But Amos was quick to respond back at Amaziah’s threats (vs. 12-17).  Sadly, there would be consequences to such unrepentant hearts like Amaziah (vs. 17) and the rest of Israel.

Regarding application…Out of God’s Will.  Vs. 8, “And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”  God was measuring Israel and they were not lining up.  By doing this, God was showing the people through Amos that he checked their hearts and they were turned away.  Question: Are you in God’s will?  How would we measure up with the plumb line?  Not only was God unable to bless His people, He would have to bring judgment upon the nation.  So many chances were extended to Israel and we have the benefit of reading this and knowing the outcome of God’s faithfulness.  But the story is still being lived out to this day.  We too are God’s chosen.  Amos did his part in interceding in prayer for his people.  When we or others we see are out of God’s will, let us pray.  I know that the four years of selfish living in my teen years, I had others praying for me and God’s grace was extended to me.  Let’s be ready to pray for each other.  Let’s be ready to exhort each other in our churches.  Let’s turn back to the will of God!

Hosea 4

Vs. 1 “Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: “There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land.”  Question: What is going on here?  The example of Hosea’s relationship with Gomer is now coming to light with Israel.  Israel is being charged by God as if they were in a court of law.  The increase of sin is bringing a breakdown of morality over the land.  Notice also how the LORD’s charge gets more specific and directed towards the supposed leaders of Isarel; the priests (vs. 4-14).  The spiritual leaders have a huge impact.  But Israel’s leaders were leading the charge towards immorality.  This was a time in Israel where there was relative peace.  King Jeroboam II was reigning and the priesthood was increasing.  However, just like in Jesus’ day, there was corruption in the sacrificial system and priests were profiting (vs. 7-11).  As the prophecies of judgment came forth by Hosea, all he saw was the continued stubborn responses of hardened hearts (vs. 16).

Regarding application…Knowing God.  Vs. 6a, “…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…”  There is much talk of the declining education system in America these days.  But I would contend there is a much steeper decline in the church education system.  I commend the church for we are doing a wonderful job in sharing the Gospel and bringing people to church.  But it seems we stop at the point of salvation.  John Mitchell, founder of Multnomah Bible College, coined his famous question, “Don’t you folks ever read your Bibles?”  Just like in Hosea’s time, we are in a period where we lack the knowledge of God.  We know more about Algebra, English Lit, Entertainment, sports, technology, cars, etc…than we do about the Living Word of God!  Brothers & Sisters, this should not be.  That is why I try to encourage each of you daily the importance of growing in your knowledge of God!  Question: How can you live out a genuine faith if you are not spending time knowing God?  It would be like me never spending time with my wife, but telling others I really do have one.  Open your heart and let God’s word change and renew you to a deeper walk with Him!