Friday, April 11, 2014

The curious account of Jeroboam II

If, like me, you'd normally need to look up your bible to know who Jeroboam II is, he's got one of the bit parts in 2 Kings; chapter 15:23-29 specifically.  One of the many godless kings of Israel in the lead up to its exile.

It starts off in the usual manner:

23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, began to reign in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. 24 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin.

But then we get to this strange twist:

 25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.

That seems out of place, given that usually the evil kings wound up losing territory, not gaining it.

But fear not, gentle reader.  God was in control all along:

26 For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter, for there was none left, bond or free, and there was none to help Israel. 27 But the Lord had not said that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, so he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.
28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam and all that he did, and his might, how he fought, and how he restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 29 And Jeroboam slept with his fathers, the kings of Israel, and Zechariah his son reigned in his place.

This isn't the first time I've read 2 Kings, but it's the first time I noticed verse 27, and I love it.  It's easy to complain about our government, to fear that we're "getting the government we [as a society] deserve", or to think that we need a Christian theocracy to be well governed, and things like that.  But this verse reminds us that God is still sovereign, and that he will look after us in the way he chooses, even through ungodly leaders.

PS - this is not intended as a commentary on any current or present governments in Australia or anywhere else.  It's an observation of how good God is.

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