In 2 Kings 3, we read the account of three kings and how God brought victory in a dry time. The short version of their story goes something like this…
Mesha, King of Moab, rebelled against Israel after Ahab’s death and refused to pay tribute to Jehoam. Jehoshaphat, King of Israel, Jehoram, and the king of Edom journeyed for seven day journey through Edom’s wilderness in order to strike the Moabites at their weak garrison on the border between Edom and Moab. The kings found a dry wadi where they expected water for their troops and animals. Jehoshaphat called for a prophet of the Lord, as seems to be his usual practice in times of trouble, and the kings went down to Elisha to seek his guidance. The prophet of the Lord instructed the kings to dig trenches and wait. At the time of the morning sacrifice, God sent water to fill the trenches they dug the previous evening, and the armies drank and watered their animals in the cool morning hours. The Moabites saw the rising sun reflecting red upon the water-filled trenches, gleefully assumed that the three kings had slaughtered one another(1), and ran out to spoil the battlefield. The rehydrated army slaughtered the Moabites.
God prepared – Before they asked
God prepared his deliverance even before Jehoshaphat asked for help. Elisha was not along for the good company; he clearly expressed his distaste for the kings of Israel and Edom. Elisha was there specifically so that he could deliver God’s instructions. Am I where God can use me?
God provided – In response to obedience
First, the kings had to humble themselves to go down to the prophet (rather than summon him). Then, they had to believe the prophet and demonstrate that belief through obedience. Finally, they had to wait for the time God appointed. When they humbled themselves, asked, believed, were obedient, and waited, God provided. How are my humbling, asking, believing, obeying, and waiting skills? (argh… the waiting…)
God prevailed – When it was impossible
The kings spent the seven days looking for water as they marched westward through the Edomite wasteland. They saw no windblown clouds in the distance and smelled no rain, but the water came as promised, and it came from the wilderness to the east. God not only met their short-term perceived need for water, He also gave them a significant victory over their enemy. The Moabites were put securely under Israel’s thumb and prevented from striking against Judah. The kings had only their immediate need in mind when they asked for help, but God had the big picture in view. Do I believe that God can do the impossible, or do I limit Him to the merely difficult?
(1) It is unfortunate that those who should have been as brothers were so known for their bickering that an outsider was more inclined to believe that they had slaughtered one another than that God had done a miracle in their midst. It is also amazing that God even used their habitual and historical failings to effect His will.
- Priorities are Messy (Introduction and Index)
- Priorities – Idols are not just ugly statues