SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Jehoahaz and the Israelites were continually sinning against God (verses 1-3) but still when Jehoahaz seeks God, God responds with mercy (verse 4).
- The Asherah pole (verse 6) was part of worship of the false god Ashram. It had been set up by Ahab (see 1 Kings 16:33). The king Jehu had purged false worship from Samaria (see 10:27-28) but this Asherah pole had either been ignored at that time, or had later been reintroduced.
- Elisha (verse 14) was a prophet of God, who we haven't seen in a few chapters (over 40 years of history). This is the last chapter with Elisha in it.
- When Jehoash says "The chariots and horsemen of Israel" (verse 14) he probably meant that Elisha was of more importance to Israel's military success than Israel's military.
- The king striking the ground only three times with the arrows (verse 18) reflected a lack of zeal for God's plan and task. Because he only showed moderate intensity the result would be only moderate success (verse 19).
- Elisha dies, but God chooses to continue showing His power through him even after his death (verse 21).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- In this chapter we see someone (Jehoahaz) who gives an occasional call to God for help when he's desperate, and someone else (Jehoash) who gives half-hearted obedience to God. It's too easy to live that way today, and too many people do so. But God deservers way more from us. And God also demands way more from us. He tells us to seek Him with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13), to love Him with all your heart (Matthew 22:37), to turn to Him with all your heart (Deuteronomy 30:10), and to fully obey Him and all His commands (Deuteronomy 28:1).
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Let's say a private investigator looked into your life. Would they see your faith mainly manifesting itself only as occasional desperate cries to God for help? Would they conclude that you only obey God half-heartedly? What evidence might they give to support that conclusion?
- Why do you think full-hearted devotion is what God deserves and where you need to get?
- What do you think would help you to get there?