2 Kings 13:1-11 – God Of Every Moment Not Just The Troubled Ones!

Posted: July 26, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 13:1-11

Jehoahaz and Jehoash Rules in Israel

One of the things that is often true of us when we are non-believers and to a certain extent true even as believers. That thing is that we turn to God in times of trouble and then we forget about Him when the troubles have passed. How many times have you done that? How many times have I done that? Even after we have accepted Christ as our Savior but we have not yet fully matured in our faith.

One way we as Christians often express this failing is in our prayer life. I know that when I was experiencing a very difficult time during my last pastoral position, my prayer life was on fire. I was praying constantly for their to be relief to what I found to be a very difficult situation. In my last position, the dreams that I had for my associate pastor position and the reality of the position were different things. Further, learning the difference between this church’s accounting system and administrative procedures was so completely different from what I had been used to for the previous decade. As well, in my previous job for a decade, my boss was on one coast and I was on the other. In that job because of geography and because of the carousel of presidents that we had during my 10 years there, I was pretty much my own boss. Further, when I arrived at that job in 2008, everything was in disarray. I had to re-establish or institute systems and processes. I was free there to set the systems and processes. I could set the course. Add to that, during that time, I was also the unpaid financial director for the church we attended in Lyman, SC, and the situation was similar. In fact, I was the one who developed their financial reporting systems from scratch. So, in each situation, I was the guy who set the standards, set the pace. If I though it, I could do it.

However, in my first full-time position as a pastor at my last church, I came into an already fully developed administrative and accounting system. And, my boss was right there on-site with me. All of these things were complete changes for me. My boss, the founding and senior pastor, was heavily involved in the day to day details so adjusting to all these things was very difficult. Understanding the systems and procedures and adjusting to a style of management that was different from my last decade of experience both at my secular job and my volunteer position at my church in Lyman and then the reality of the church vs. my dreams for the job, lead to a time of spiritual upheaval and uncertainty. It was a difficult time emotionally and spiritually. I had always been the star and now I was learning humility. It was a tough but necessary learning experience. Looking back at it, it was a dose of reality. In my decade at Fujikura America, Inc. as the controller there, I had a unique situation that was not really what most situations are like.

My time at Calvary was in part to teach me to learn to better submit to authority both on earth and to the authority of God. I also had to learn that in most situations you are going to inherit already existing systems that have worked for years. You are going to be more directly involved with your supervisor in most cases. All that was hard to learn on the administrative side of things. Additionally, my job as associate pastor for business affairs did not turn out the way that I thought it would. I had dreams of it being a more pastoral position to help me develop my pastoral skills such as preaching and teaching. It just didn’t turn out that way. I don’t blame the previous church for that. I had my own dreams for what was going to happen without understanding the reality of what the church could offer me in that position. And God sent me there to learn so many things about ministry that were necessary for where I am today.

It was a necessary dose of humility in learning to be faithful in the field that God has you farming at the moment. The constant thing that God pounded into my heart during that time was to plow the field in front of you and to trust him with the rest. We are to be faithful in whatever and wherever God sends us. We must till the soil underneath our feet and trust him with what the next plot of land is going to look like. We are to farm the land that we have been given. From that, I learned that ministry is where you are at right now, not where you want to be, or what you think it should be. God has you planted right where He wants for the time period that He wants and you just plow the dirt that He has assigned to you. You can find joy in that if you give control over to Him. That was the purpose and the learning experience. It was humbling and it was difficult spiritually and emotionally.

Boy, did I pray up a blue streak during that time. Arguing with God. Learning from God. Submitting to God. Being patient as God was working His plan. I prayed all the time, non-stop. Then, when I learned of my new appointment here at Lamar, I began to slack up on prayer. The learning experience was over at Calvary those last 8 weeks there. Things eased up. It was cruising time. The long and winding road was straightening out.

That’s the thing that struck me this morning as I read this passage, 2 Kings 13:1-11. In this passage, you see a king who runs to God when things get tough but then goes back to his normal ways when things ease off. This passage reminded me of my personal prayer experiences in the past. Draw close to God, pray a lot when times are hard, but slack off when things ease up. Let’s read the passage now:

Chapter 13

1 In the twenty-third year of King Joash son of Ahaziah of Judah, Jehoahaz son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and followed the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin; he did not depart from them. 3 The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that he gave them repeatedly into the hand of King Hazael of Aram, then into the hand of Ben-hadad son of Hazael. 4 But Jehoahaz entreated the Lord, and the Lord heeded him; for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Aram oppressed them. 5 Therefore the Lord gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Arameans; and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly. 6 Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he caused Israel to sin, but walked[a] in them; the sacred pole[b] also remained in Samaria. 7 So Jehoahaz was left with an army of not more than fifty horsemen, ten chariots and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Aram had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did, including his might, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 9 So Jehoahaz slept with his ancestors, and they buried him in Samaria; then his son Joash succeeded him. 10 In the thirty-seventh year of King Joash of Judah, Jehoash son of Jehoahaz began to reign over Israel in Samaria; he reigned sixteen years. 11 He also did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he caused Israel to sin, but he walked in them.

In this passage, we see that the Lord heard Jehoahaz’s prayer for help. God delayed judgment on Israel when they turned to him, but they did not sustain their dependence on God for long. Although Israel had periodic breaks in their idol worship, they rarely showed genuine faith. Often, the people of Israel sought God to take away their sufferings. God exists only to serve their wants. The moment they are gratified, they drop God. The moment Israel was delivered from their oppression, they returned to their old ways – from verse 5 to verse 6. The contrast here is stark. We have a compassionate God responding to His ungrateful people. We have a faithful God, coming to rescue His faithless people.

That idea of how my prayer life is intense at times of trouble but slacks up when the trouble is over is what came to mind today. It was another of God’s reminders of how I must continue to mature as a Christ follower. It was something that God really convicted me hard about during the five week sabbatical we had between leaving our assignment in Illinois and arriving at our new assignment in South Carolina and continues to do.

That lesson was that prayer is a constant thing regardless of the temperature of your life. We don’t just pray when things are rough or perceived as rough by us. We should be praying just as hard when we are on the mountaintops as we are in the valleys. That hit me hard in the gut of my soul. I was treating God as though He were my God of last defense. I would go to Him when I had trouble but take my life back from Him when hard times eased off. When God slaps you with the truth and you know you have no excuse or defense, you fall on your knees at His mirror.

For so many of us, we draw close to God when times are hard but yank control back from God when times get better. We should be praying to God in times of thanksgiving as much as we pray to Him in times of trouble and tribulation. We should see Him as God of every moment and not just the God of the troubled ones. We should praise Him in prayer on the mountaintops as much as we petition Him for relief in times of trouble.

He has blessed me with my new situation here in Lamar. I am blessed beyond what I deserve in this new assignment. I must pray to Him in thanksgiving for it each and every day. However, none of it would have been possible without the sharpening and honing experience of my previous assignment. I pray now in thanksgiving for that tough time in my soul. The daily and constant prayer to God molds us into seeing that even God has a plan in our toughest of times. The daily and constant prayer to God even in the God times helps us see that even the good times come from Him – they are not of our doing. Each mountaintop is part of His plan. Each valley is part of His plan. We must pray constantly regardless of the elevation of our spiritual landscape – high mountain or low valley.

Amen and Amen.

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