BIG WORD: 2 Kings 1-3

This week we dove into 2 Kings. There is a LOT to discover just in the first three chapters! So much that I could not fit it all in a short video recap. You’ll have to read the notes below the video to get all the beautiful details.

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section! I want to hear what God is showing you.

Elijah vs. the Servants of Ahaziah

In 2 Kings 1 we see a fiery exchange between the prophet and the king’s servants. Why so volatile? Well, it is possible Elijah refused to comply because he understood the king’s true intentions: assassination. This makes sense since Ahaziah’s parents — King Ahab and Queen Jezebel — had attempted to kill Elijah on a number of occasions.

And we all know that if you kill the messenger than the message becomes void. Oh, wait — that’s not true. Well, I guess it’s worth trying … if you’re a king and arrogant enough to believe you can control God.

But there’s more to this story. The servants called Elijah “man of God.” The title, however, denotes no faith in God nor respect for Elijah. At that time the term was synonymous with “prophet” or “priest.” They acknowledged his title, but not the power behind it, not the God who owned it. Elijah turned the title toward its true meaning – a man of the true God who is “a consuming fire.”

Check out these passages:

  • Deuteronomy 4:24
  • 1 Kings 18:37—39
  • Hebrews 12:28-29

Elijah vs. Elisha

Here we have not a confrontation, but rather a comparison. By this point Elijah and Elisha had probably spent 10 years together. They shared a deep mentorship, almost a father and son relationship. They’re characters seem distinct, yet complimentary. Consider:

  • Elijah = “son of thunder” = brazen and confrontational teacher
  • Elisha = “my God saves” = quiet and gracious healer

Parallel this with John the Baptist and Jesus, both in character and progression … a volatile ministry followed by a quieter ministry of grace and healing. (Mt. 3:1—12; 11:16—19)

Elijah and John the Baptist shared much in common.

  • Appearance: 2 Kings 1:8 vs. Mk. 1:6
  • Spirit: Luke 1:17 and Mt. 11:7—10
  • Assassination Attempts: 1 Kings 19; 2 Kings 1:15 vs. Mt. 14:1—12

Elijah and Elisha’s Last Journey Together

The places these two prophets visited held great significance in the history of the nation. They were spiritual landmarks for the Israelite people.

GILGAL:

  • 1st place Israelites camped after crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land (Josh. 4:19—20)
  • Renewed covenant (Josh 5:2—9); place of “new beginnings”

BETHEL: (15 miles west of Gilgal)

  • Abraham worshipped there (Gen. 12:8; 13:3)
  • Jacob’s ladder (Gen. 23:11—19)
  • Jeroboam put golden calf and instituted national idolatry (1 Kings 12:26—32)

JERICHO: (15 miles west of Bethel)

  • Joshua’s famous battle (Josh 5:13—6:27)
  • Achan’s disobedience (Josh 7)
  • King Ahab rebuilt the city in spite of the curse (Josh 6:26 vs. 1 Kings 16:39)

JORDAN RIVER: (5 miles east of Jericho)

  • Parting of the Jordan River (Josh 3)

Elisha Confirmed in Elijah’s Spirit

Elijah encouraged Elisha to ask for one thing. He didn’t guarantee it would be granted, but he did encourage him to ask. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. This again confirms the father-son type connection they shared. According to the inheritance laws, the firstborn would receive a double portion of the father’s household. Elisha considered himself to be Elijah’s firstborn spiritual son.

He did, however, have to convince the others of this. Here are a few ways he confirmed his position.

  • Parted the Jordan with Elijah’s cloak (2:14)
  • Purified the water (2:19—22)
  • Confronted blasphemous youths (2:24—25)

Right … what about those youths?

This confrontation with the youths seems … well, not at all gentle, as we’ve set up Elisha to be! It was weird and harsh. But it served a purpose.

This gang of bullies were disrespecting the prophet and rejecting God. And it wasn’t just a few kids. It was a hoard of young men, seemingly undeterred by the rest of the townspeople. Elisha needed to remind them that the God of Israel is a jealous God. He will not tolerate disrespect forever; He will not share His throne with any.

  • See Proverbs 16:31, Isaiah 3:24 and 1 Cor. 11:6. Grey hair was a crown of glory whereas a bald head was a disgrace.
  • The “young lads” – most likely between the ages of 15 and 30 – were cursing Elisha, the prophet of God.
  • By suggesting he “go up”, they were essentially asking him to leave their region in a similar fashion to Elijah. Basically, “we don’t want you (or your God) here.”

The Battle with Moab

The first verse in 2 Kings tells us of Moab’s revolt, but then it goes on with Ahaziah’s accident and the subsequent drama. Two years passed before Jehoram (Joram) became king of Israel. (Since Ahaziah had no son, the kingdom went to his brother, Jehoram, son of Ahab.)

2 Kings 3:23 relates to 2 Chronicles 20. If you have the time, read that chapter. It tells how King Jehoshaphat (of Judah) had fought a war with the Moabites just a year or so earlier. In that war, God turned Judah’s enemies against themselves and allowed Judah to salvage the plunder. Here (in 2 Kings) the Moabites believe the tables have turned and now they will gain the plunder with no sacrifice.

It ends very badly, with the King of Moab sacrificing his own son, the crown prince. This is a clear reference to Molech, the Moabite god that we see all throughout these historical books. He was a despicable god that required the humiliation and fruitless heartache of his worshipers. Really, really nasty stuff.

“No one is holy like the Lord!
There is no one other than you!
There is no rock like our God!”
— 1 Samuel 2:2

New Study Guides

There is more to discover in the study guides!

You can find past studies, outlines and more on the Big Word Bible Studies tab.

Your Turn: What did I miss? What did you discover in these three short chapters?

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