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Savior and Judge

2 Kings 13:1-9 :

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 for seventeen years. He did that which was evil in Yahweh’s sight, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel to sin. He didn’t depart from it. Yahweh’s anger burned against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, continually. Jehoahaz begged Yahweh, and Yahweh listened to him; for he saw the oppression of Israel, how the king of Syria oppressed them. (Yahweh gave Israel a savior, so that they went out from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel lived in their tents as before. Nevertheless they didn’t depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, with which he made Israel to sin, but walked in them; and the Asherah also remained in Samaria.) For he didn’t leave to Jehoahaz of the people any more than fifty horsemen, and ten chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the king of Syria destroyed them, and made them like the dust in threshing. Now the rest of the acts of Jehoahaz, and all that he did, and his might, aren’t they written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? Jehoahaz slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria; and Joash his son reigned in his place.

This passage records a sad day in the northern kingdom of Israel. God finally decided to judge the nation and turned them over to the Syrian king, Hazael. We are told that Syria began to oppress Israel so severely, at that time, that when Jehoahaz begged God, He listened and actually saved them again.

In this nine verse passage, we see that God is both a judge and a savior. We also see how desparately enslaved to sin mankind is, because even though Jehoahaz begged and God relieved the suffering of the people, they refused to stop their sinful forms of worship. Remember that Jeraboam had set up an alternate form of worship, so that the northern kindom wouldn't feel obligated to obey God and go to Jerusalem in the south every year. That fact that they went back to this kind of worship, highlights how shallow and sinful mankind can be in the light of God's great mercy and patience.

True repentence is when we not only beg God for mercy, but turn around and start going His way. God is so full of love and mercy that He will answer those who cry out to Him, but if they refuse to go His way, they can expect Him to send them back into slavery.

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