2 Kings 8:7-15 (Part 2) – Thanks Dad! – On My 1st Father’s Day Without Him

Posted: June 16, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 8:7-15 (Part 2 of 2)

Hazael Murders Ben-Hadad

Here we are on Father’s Day 2019. It is the first one without my father of 56 years, one month, and 27 days. He passed away almost 8 months ago now on October 22, 2018. For all the things about dad that drove me crazy and there were plenty, I miss him terribly, especially on a day like today. The thing that I learned after becoming a father myself was that my dad did the best he could within the limitations of the gifts that God gave him. I realized that he was the best dad he could be given his fleshly limitations. I used to get angry at him for not being the perfect dad but when I became a dad myself, you realize that while you are raising a child you are totally unprepared for each coming year of their lives. Each child is different and each year of their lives is different. Just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing down, that darn kid gets older and has new issues. So, I just learned to love my dad for what he was able to provide for me and what he was able to teach me given that I came with no instructions.

One of the many things that I appreciate that my dad taught me was that it is a cruel world out there and that there are consequences for your actions. His disciplines for breaking his “house rules” were firm but fair but they were always there. He never redrew the lines for anything. So many parents today do not enforce their rules for behavior for their kids and as a result, there are no rules. But with my dad, the rules were not lines in the sand to be obliterated, they were lines in completely cured cement. We knew when we crossed them that there would be consequences. We knew that the consequences would come and without fail, and without negotiation, and without compromise. We knew the rules. We broke them. We paid for it. That’s just the way it was with my dad. I hated his unyielding disciplinary nature when I was growing up in his house. But now, I am thankful for it. I know that the there are consequences for behavior.

Another thing that he taught me was endurance. I even know that sometimes in life you have to endure things that are distasteful to you personally and that you cannot whine you way out of it. I know that sometimes we just have to get through things and get to the other side. You then emerge as a better man for having gone through the tough thing. My dad expected me to finish things. My dad expected me to never give up and keep on plugging away. Sometimes, too, he taught, that we must endure things that are because of mistakes we have made but other times that the world is unfair. In an unfair world, you sometimes just have to endure and this storm too shall pass. This lesson in endurance and getting through to the other side (even if you are dragging yourself on to the shore) was useful in sports growing up but it has been useful in difficult times as an adult.

Another thing that he taught me was the difference between right and wrong. He taught us to do our best to be honorable young men. And this circles back to consequences and endurance. The rules of the house had as much to do with doing the right thing and honoring our parents by being truthful with them. We got in more trouble for lying about what we had done wrong than for what we had done wrong in the first place. Being fleshly human beings, we would try to preserve our rear ends (literally and figuratively) by stretching the truth, white lies, or just bold-faced lies. We were always found out. See consequences and endurance paragraphs.

All of these character building aspects of becoming a man seems to be disappearing among dads these days. Many dads are not truly part of their sons’ lives because of divorce and want to be Disneyland dads when they are around. Many dads who are a part of their kids lives on a daily basis want to be their friend and pal and not their dad. My dad told us many times, “I was not put on this earth to be your friend. I was put on this earth to be your dad.” It is from dads that we are supposed to learn right from wrong, consequences, and endurance. That is what they were put on the earth for.

It was that heartless, soulless approach to the vision of Elisha from Hazael that made me think of what kind of sons are we growing in today’s society. So often, you hear stories today of kids without fathers who commit crimes that seem to be committed by boys without souls. And often in each case, these heartless, soulless boys had no father, no real authority figure in their lives. So with that in mind, let’s read this passage, 2 Kings 8:7-15, once more today before we move on to the next passage:

7 Elisha went to Damascus, the capital of Aram, where King Ben-hadad lay sick. When someone told the king that the man of God had come, 8 the king said to Hazael, “Take a gift to the man of God. Then tell him to ask the Lord, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

9 So Hazael loaded down forty camels with the finest products of Damascus as a gift for Elisha. He went to him and said, “Your servant Ben-hadad, the king of Aram, has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’”

10 And Elisha replied, “Go and tell him, ‘You will surely recover.’ But actually the Lord has shown me that he will surely die!” 11 Elisha stared at Hazael[a] with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy.[b] Then the man of God started weeping.

12 “What’s the matter, my lord?” Hazael asked him.

Elisha replied, “I know the terrible things you will do to the people of Israel. You will burn their fortified cities, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women!”

13 Hazael responded, “How could a nobody like me[c] ever accomplish such great things?”

Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you are going to be the king of Aram.”

14 When Hazael left Elisha and went back, the king asked him, “What did Elisha tell you?”

And Hazael replied, “He told me that you will surely recover.”

15 But the next day Hazael took a blanket, soaked it in water, and held it over the king’s face until he died. Then Hazael became the next king of Aram.

In this passage, we see Hazael think of this vision of murder and slaughter as “such great things” (v. 13). When I read that verse over and over again, I was struck by the heartlessness of it. And then you go on to see that Hazael murdered his way into the throne of Aram. He had regard to right vs. wrong. He only had regard for what he wanted. He was an evil man in his heart. No sense of right or wrong. No sense of the consequences of his actions. No sense of simply enduring the things that he like about his current situation. He was selfish and childlike grabbing for the toys that he wanted and not caring who got hurt in the process.

Sound like a spoiled child? That is the challenge to us as dads. Are we raising spoiled children that will end as adults who act like Hazael? That is the challenge to us as dads. We must teach our children right from wrong (those things that God has wired all of us to know). We must teach our children that there are consequences for our actions. We must teach them that life is not fair and sometimes there is nothing that you can do about it. We must teach them that there are things that we can change in life but we are bound by the difference between right and wrong in doing so. We must teach our children about the ultimate Father. We must teach them about God. We must teach them about God and His Word. We must teach them about the consequences of bad behavior and sin as laid out in the pages of the Bible. We must teach them about their sin nature and how we need Jesus as a result. We must first and foremost live all of these things out (given our own sin nature) in front of our children. We must be present in their lives and be able to be more than their pal. We must be present and enforce consequences. We must be present to teach them endurance. We must be present to teach them about right and wrong. We must be present to teach them about Jesus Christ. We must be present to live these things out in front of them.

On this first Father’s Day without my dad, thanks dad! Thanks for being tough on me. Thanks for all the things you taught me. Thanks for being my advice giver as I began parenting myself. Thanks for being my friend as we both grew older and had raised our kids. Thanks for … being my dad!

Amen and Amen.

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