2 KINGS 13:1-14:29 | ACTS 18:23-19:12 | PSALM 146:1-10 | PROVERBS 18:2-3
During the reign of the boy-king, Joash, who had been installed as the king of Judah, there were a number of his counterparts who served as kings of Israel. At first, there was Jehoahaz, who was then succeeded by his son, Jehoash. It is during Jehoash’s reign that Elisha becomes ill and soon breathes his last.
But before he does, he informs Jehoash that Jehoash will lead Israel to victory over the Aramaens who have long been a thorn in the side of Israel. As promised, Jehoash does indeed defeat the king of Aram and it is said that some of the towns are recovered.
On the other side, i.e., in Judah, the king at that time was Amaziah, Joash’s son. Amaziah wishes to walk down the warpath, and challenges Jehoash, king of Israel to battle. At first, Jehoash does not wish to engage Amaziah, but when pressed, he does, and he and his armies rout Amaziah, king of Judah. Amaziah although spared at this battle, loses his life many years later when he is assassinated by his own officials. This results in his son, Azariah, to succeed him on the throne as king of Judah.
Yet again, on the other side, Jeroboam II succeeds his father, Jehoash, as king of Israel, and after a reign of forty-one years, Jeroboam II is succeeded by his son, Zechariah.
It is to be seen what might be in store for both Israel and Judah next.
From our readings to date, on both sides, i.e., Israel and Judah, the kings have been wanting in their conduct concerning the Lord their God, Yahweh. They have been quick to take to idolatry be it by way of Baal-worship or Asherah poles, and one truly wonders if this is a people who are capable of conceptualizing a divinity without having an idol or image to represent it.
In the midst of this long account of the kings, there is a proper mention of Elisha’s death and burial. And there is also one other interesting account of a corpse that comes to life in the most unexpected and miraculous manner when it is inadvertently thrown into the same tomb that Elisha is buried in!
Turning now to our reading in the book of Acts, we find Paul diligently engaged in his missionary endeavors. From Antioch, he continues on to Galatia and to other neighboring regions of Asia Minor. There is note of one Apollo, a native Alexandrian, who is evidently a new believer and a passionate preacher in the town of Ephesus.
Although Apollo preached Jesus to be the Messiah, his understanding of the scriptures evidently needed some fine-tuning, and this is said to have been done by Aquila and Priscilla. Later, it is assumed that Paul also meets with Apollo as well as many others during his stay in Ephesus which lasts for a good two years. Paul is fervent in his teaching and preaching ministry, but it appears that Paul is quite the wise man as to being a good judge for when it might be time to say farewell and part ways. This he does when it becomes evident that some Jews within the synagogue in Ephesus had become “obstinate” and unwilling to be persuaded to the gospel.
Also of note in this passage is the mention of Paul’s powers of healing: 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find a psalm of great praise that extols the virtues of the Almighty.
I daresay that many a devout Jewish person most likely prays this very prayer even to this day. Even if they do not, it is one that I am happy to raise my voice to:
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, my soul.
2 I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs on the characteristic of a fool:
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.