Reading: 2 Kings 8:16-10:36; 2 Chronicles 21:1-21
Summary: Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram (sometimes also called Joram), becomes the king of Judah while Ahab’s son Joram (yes, both men have the same name and it can get confusing) still reigns in Israel. Ahaziah then succeeds his father Jehoram in Judah. The interesting thing about Ahaziah—and important to remember—is that his mother is Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab. This is the marriage alliance between Jehoshaphat and Ahab mentioned in 2 Chronicles 18:1 (Ahab’s daughter Athaliah to Jehoshaphat’s son Ahaziah) and the reason for the strangely close relationship between Israel and Judah during this time. Athaliah will play a prominent role in tomorrow’s reading.
God’s delayed judgment against wicked Ahab is finally carried out through Jehu whom Elisha anoints as Israel’s next king and who had been identified years previous to Elijah (see 1 Kings 19:16). Jehu’s work is quick and bloody. He exterminates the surviving family of Ahab which includes the current king of Israel Joram—as well as Judah’s king Ahaziah at the same time, who, incidentally is also Ahab’s grandson being the son of Ahab’s daughter Athaliah—and seventy living sons of Ahab. He also kills Jezebel—yes, she’s still living—and all the prophets and worshippers of Baal in Israel.
The Chronicles reading includes some information regarding Jehoram, king of Judah, not found in Kings.
There’s a Reason God Does What He Does
Why does God do what He does? How’s that for a loaded, impossible-to-answer question?
Let’s just think about this a minute. Sometimes God does what He does because it is right. God is right (you could use the word “righteous” here too). This, in part, is why he punishes sin. It is just and it is fair and it is right to do so.
But God doesn’t always punish sin. Stay with me here.
God did not punish King Jehoram of Judah as he deserved. This son of Jehoshaphat was the worst king so far in Judah. About him, the Bible says, “he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 8:18).
There was little question of what he deserved. “Yet the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah for the sake of David his servant since he promised to give a lamp to him and to his sons forever” (2 Kings 8:19). Notice why God did what He did, or rather didn’t do; because He had made a promise to David (see 1 Kings 11:36).
God’s word is sure. It is part of who He is. He does what He does because of that. God treated His people the way He did not because they deserved it, but because of who He is and His relationship with them (see Deut. 7:7-9).
This applies to me too. Be careful about demanding from God what you deserve. You won’t like that. Rather appeal to His nature; there we can find grace and mercy and love. That’s what I need and want.