2 Kings 13:12-25 – Is Jesus Your Operating System or Just A Software Package?

Posted: July 30, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 13:12-25

Elisha’s Final Prophecy

Yesterday, I preached my fourth sermon in a five-sermon series called “God’s Greatest Misfits”. Yesterday’s sermons was on the Apostle Peter. In that sermon, we saw the struggles of Peter to become the man of God that Jesus wanted him to be, that Jesus knew Peter could be. Before the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out by Jesus onto the disciples, Peter was constantly take two steps forward and one step back. During Jesus’ time on earth, He was constantly having to rebuke Peter and correct him. It was almost as if Peter was keeping one foot in the world and one foot in God’s kingdom. Until the day of Pentecost and then Jesus’ ascension, Peter was not fully 100% submitted to the Lord. He was prideful and saw things from earthly perspective so many times.

I guess that is why Peter is my buddy among the disciples. He was is own worst enemy all the way up until the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out like streams of fire. Peter fought full submission all the way up until that moment. Peter reminds me of myself. Even after accepting Christ as my Savior in 2001, it was not until about 2009/10 when I ran into a pastor at the church we were attending at that time out in California that I truly starting “growing up” in Christ. Prior to that time, I was picking and choosing what I wanted to follow from the Bible. I had crafted my own set of beliefs because, ya know, God and I had a deal on a few things. Further, my God was a new kind of God where some that stuff that He says in the Bible just doesn’t really apply anymore and especially to me. I was halfheartedly following the Lord for a while. I was blinding myself that God was one of the boxes in my life. I would pull out my God/Christianity box and play with the toys inside that box when I wanted to and then, when it did not suit the moment, I would put that box back on the shelf. I compartmentalized my relationship with God. It was not a fully integrated part of my life. It was not the operating system of my life. It was simply an ancillary software program that I fired up and executed when it was necessary or when I felt like playing with that particular software. It was not what ran my computer’s basic functions. It was not my daily, day-to-day operating system.

I was like Peter in a lot of ways. He was right there with Jesus day to day for three years but He did not grow up in His relationship with Jesus until He fully submitted to the power of the Holy Spirit. I was a Christ follower from 2001 but did not really begin maturing in Christ until 2009/10 when my pastor in California confronted me about the half-hearted way I was following Jesus. It was not until then that I began more fully submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through this passage, 2 Kings 13:12-25. I thought of how Joash half-heartedly followed the instructions of Elisha in this passage and it cost him complete victory in his war against the king of Aram. It seemed as though, he was simply going through the motions of following the instructions of God, as expressed through Elisha. That’s when it struck me about how Peter was trying to maintain his fleshly attributes while Jesus was on earth but yet be a disciple at the same time. It struck me that the first 8 or so years after my salvation I was like Peter and I was like Joash in this passage. Let’s read it now:

12 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, as well as the might with which he fought against King Amaziah of Judah, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 13 So Joash slept with his ancestors, and Jeroboam sat upon his throne; Joash was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel.

14 Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, King Joash of Israel went down to him, and wept before him, crying, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” 15 Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and arrows”; so he took a bow and arrows. 16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Draw the bow”; and he drew it. Elisha laid his hands on the king’s hands. 17 Then he said, “Open the window eastward”; and he opened it. Elisha said, “Shoot”; and he shot. Then he said, “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram! For you shall fight the Arameans in Aphek until you have made an end of them.” 18 He continued, “Take the arrows”; and he took them. He said to the king of Israel, “Strike the ground with them”; he struck three times, and stopped. 19 Then the man of God was angry with him, and said, “You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Aram until you had made an end of it, but now you will strike down Aram only three times.”

20 So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 As a man was being buried, a marauding band was seen and the man was thrown into the grave of Elisha; as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he came to life and stood on his feet.

22 Now King Hazael of Aram oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. 23 But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them; he turned toward them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them; nor has he banished them from his presence until now.

24 When King Hazael of Aram died, his son Ben-hadad succeeded him. 25 Then Jehoash son of Jehoahaz took again from Ben-hadad son of Hazael the towns that he had taken from his father Jehoahaz in war. Three times Joash defeated him and recovered the towns of Israel.

In this passage, we see that when Jehoash was told to strike the ground with the arrows, he did so only halfheartedly. As a result, Elisha told the king that his victory over Aram would not be complete. Receiving the full benefits of God’s plan for our lives requires us to receive and obey God’s commands fully. If we do not follow God’s complete instructions, we should not be surprised that our usefulness to God is limited. As long as we try to preserve certain areas of our life to ourselves, our following of God’s instructions is going to be less than full-hearted. God expects us to fully obey Him. It is only when we fully submit every area of life to Him that we are made fully useful to His kingdom.

Are you holding back? Are you picking and choosing what parts of the Bible you wish to obey? Do you see it as some constant negotiation with God about what you can and cannot get away with? Do want to more fully commit to Jesus but it seems too much trouble? Our usefulness to the Lord comes when we stand before Him and give our entire lives over to him. No more half-hearted attempts to follow Him. No more negotiations (as if we have equal stature for negotiation with our Creator and the Creator of All Things). Just standing before Him and saying here it is. Take it all. Mold me. Change me from the inside out. Change me so that I see it as a privilege to obey Your commands and not a burden. Help us all to grow more in Christ.  Help us, oh Lord, to be full-on, all-in, totally committed Christ follower like Peter became after Pentecost. Help us, oh Lord, to be less and less like the half-hearted, pick and choose kind of Christians that we all can be, like Joash, like Peter, like me.

Amen and Amen.

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