It is rarely fun to be disciplined but The Lord’s discipline is good and it has a purpose. He loves us so much. He loves us despite our rebellion, sin, and complete disregard of Him. Consider the most vile or evil person you can think of. God loves that person and He wants a relationship with that person. Consider yourself now, think about how you have at some point sinned horribly or perhaps just walked away from God. What did God do? Did He just forget you? Did He decide He was finished with you because you were finished with Him or because you had committed some grievous act? No, He disciplined you. He taught you better. He called you back to a relationship with Him. It was up to you how you responded. Did you thank Him for the discipline and grow from it? Did you turn back to Him? Did you become angry and self-pitying when He disciplined you? Did you spurn His call and run farther away? None of that made Him love you less. Verses 1-3 reads,
“In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu began to reign over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from them. 3 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them continually into the hand of Hazael king of Syria and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael.”
God loved Israel and he loved Jehoahaz and He was not going to just let him lead the people to more sin by leading them in Jeroboam’s false religion. So He disciplined them by continually handing them over to Ben-hadad, the enemy.
God loves the people of Israel, His treasured possession. He told them they would be His people and He would be there God and they would know He was The LORD (Exodus 6:7). He never dropped the ball on His side of that covenant, but the people did. He made the same promise to us. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 reads,
“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
God will discipline us because He loves us but it is up to us how we respond to that discipline. Revelation 3:19-20 says,
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Jehoahaz chose to respond in a way that might surprise some of us. Verses 4-5 describe it,
“Then Jehoahaz sought the favor of the Lord, and the Lord listened to him, for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. 5 (Therefore the Lord gave Israel a savior, so that they escaped from the hand of the Syrians, and the people of Israel lived in their homes as formerly.”
Jehoahaz sought God’s favor and God listened. God responded by sending them a savior and restoring them to their homes. The savior the Lord sent was probably either Jehoash, Jehoahaz’s son (1 Kings 13:25) or Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:27) or Elisha who counseled all of them with God’s word. I believe it refers to Elisha who throughout his life was a type of Christ (a representation or foreshadowing of Jesus Christ). He continually gave the kings of Judah and Israel the word of The Lord to bring them into God’s will and favor.
When we repent, when we seek God’s favor, we also receive a savior who will and has conquered our enemy for us. Jesus Christ is standing at the door and knocking. We only have to repent to open that door and let Him be the savior He is. Until we do, The Lord will hand us over to the enemy. The Lord will discipline us as long as there is hope that we will answer the invitation and turn from our sin to Him and ask forgiveness. Then we can have the relationship with God that He made us to have.
Verses 6-9 read,
“Nevertheless, they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin, but walked in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.) 7 For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen, for the king of Syria had destroyed them and made them like the dust at threshing. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz and all that he did, and his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?9 So Jehoahaz slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria, and Joash his son reigned in his place.”
Jehoahaz repented, but he did not stop sinning. He continued to lead the people of Israel in wrong worship. Jehoahaz partially repented and the Lord partially restored Israel. He saved them. He gave them back their homes, but their army was depleted and weak. They remained at risk of invasion and had to rely on the Lord for protection.
Man of us repent, only to hold onto certain sins. Is that true of you as it is for me? Have you counted on God’s grace and chosen to continue the sin, you say you repented of? God will continue to discipline us. He will continue to work in us and on us so that we can grow more and more into His image. God will not give up on you until you are perfectly restored to His image, the image He created you in (Genesis 1:27). Philippians 1:6 reads,
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Let the Lord do His great work. Respond knowing that the Lord loves you and wants the best for you.