Obedience for blessing – with panache
An interesting event from the next king’s reign. Jeroham another of Ahab’s sons, wasn’t as bad as him. He stopped worshipping Baal, which seems to have ended the active persecution and killing of Jehovah’s prophets. But he still worshipped the calf that had been established in largely political defiance of the temple in the kingdom of Judah after the civil war. The offical state religion was a false, cynical one.
The two kingdoms, Israel and Judah unite with Edom to bring Moab to heel, which is in rebellion against taxes levied by the kingdom of Israel. They take a way of attack through the desert and the troops are literally dying of thirst – very Exodus.
The godly king of Judah, Jehosophat, finds out Elisha is with them and consults him. He has very sharp words for Jeroham, but helps them for Jehosophat’s sake.
First, strikingly, Elisha has a musician play to calm him down to a spiritual zone – maybe he was stressed after openly confronting and criticising the ungodly King. A dangerous pastime.
God intervenes in the story at this point. He helps the present situation, but so much more. It is a lesson, clearly for the godless king, it requires obedience and delivers in abundance – in one elegant move.
Elisha tells them to dig ditches in the dry river bed to contain the water God is sending them. That would have required very faithful leadership and quite some obedience from the exhausted men. Jeroham would have witnessed first hand the absolute kingly faith and trust of Jehosophat to get the parched men to do the seemingly meaningless task.
A flash flood then comes down the river bed and collects in the ditches they have dug – the rest of the water passes through. So the amount of water provided is in proportion to the extent of their obedience. The more ditches they dug, the more of the water God provided they are blessed with. Very elegant.
Even more elegant, the Moabites mistake the distant ditches of water for blood and assume that the alliance hasn’t held and the kings have attacked each other. They swoop in but are utterly routed. The Moab king is so desperate with the loss he sacrifices his own son by burning him alive. The combined kings are so disgusted at the human sacrifice, they leave him at that point.
Jeroham and Jehsophat asked for water. They got it …AND VICTORY! But without obedience, the blessing would have passed them by. Really reminds me of the lesson of Exodus, choosing God is choosing to participate in his blessing. But his will will be done whether you choose him or not, and he wants so much more for us than we know to ask. Such a great lesson.
How did the king manage to remain an unbeliever after that experience!