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The Biblical Age of Kings #9: O Lord, Open Their Eyes!

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2 Kings 6:8-23 tells the great story of blindness and sight. It's a story of how blind we can be to the fiery host of heaven that surrounds us in our hour of need, of how we need the Lord to open our eyes to see his power and might. It's also a story of how God is able to blind the eyes of the enemy, leading them right into the hands of God’s people.
There are two layers of blindness and sight in this tale. First, there is Elisha's servant. He is terrified when the Syrian army comes and surrounds Elisha’s village. They've come for Elisha, and there appears to be no hope of escape. This unnamed servant can only see the enemy, and it’s a terrifying sight!
But he is blind to a bigger reality. The host of heaven is there to protect them, ready to strike down this conquering force. The hills are full of horses and chariots of fire. Elisha prays, "O Lord, open his eyes that he may see." When he sees, his sense of reality is completely transformed.
Second, there a…

The Biblical Age of Kings #8: Is There No God in Israel?

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In our moments of greatest need, we reveal what lies beneath outward appearances. For those who are empty on the inside, times of crisis can reveal a bankruptcy of character. For those who are filled with the wrong things, catastrophe tends to unearth wrongheaded priorities and misplaced frenzy. But in those who have been filled with the love and grace of God, we can see a calm strength that seems out of place in a world that values hysteria.
King Ahaziah, son of Ahab & Jezebel, reigned slightly more than a year. The narrators of 1 & 2 Kings don't tell us much about him, except that he walked in the evil ways of his parents and of the founding north Israelite king Jeroboam. Ahaziah is an unimportant figure in the annals of history.
His failure to trust in God, however, is the perfect canvas for the narrators to close out the prophetic work of Elijah. In Ahaziah's dumb and futile desperation, we see a clash of powers and priorities, and we discover the outcome of such m…

The Biblical Age of Kings #7: A Lying Spirit

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Micaiah (of 1 Kings 22) is not a well-known Jewish prophet. But unlike the 400 prophets who come and prophesy at King Ahab's beckon call, Micaiah is not on retainer with the king. He is not one of the yes-men who rubber stamp Ahab's plans. Micaiah speaks for God, not at the behest of an evil ruler.
King Ahab of North Israel wants to go to war with Syria to recapture Ramoth-gilead. He calls on his apparent lackey, Jehoshaphat king of Judah, to aid his war effort. Jehoshaphat makes himself and his army available.
It turns out, however, that Jehoshaphat is no pushover. He retains the faith of his ancestor King David. Unlike Ahab who has sold out to Baal, Jehoshaphat is a Yahwist who believes in worshiping the one true God. Of course, the narrators also criticize Jehoshaphat for being a pragmatist who makes peace with Ahab and lets his people worship other gods (1 Kgs 22:43-44).
Still, Jehoshaphat believes in the Lord, and he throws a small wrench into the plans. He says to Ahab,…