Is Judgment Coming? 2 Kings 8-10

Small Leader Study Guide

Date: November 4, 2018

Series: The kings and the King: Season 4 (2 Kings)

Bible Text: 2 Kings 8-10

This Week’s Printables:


Overview

This fall has been an active hurricane season. Two major storms hit the Southeastern US. While devastating, hurricanes do not hit without warning. Because of modern technology, forecasters can track the size, strength, and direction of a hurricane for days in advance. In spite of all this advantage, there are still those who choose not to heed the warnings and opt to stay in its path. Unfortunately, for some, this decision costs them their life or the lives of their family.

God’s judgment is similar in that He provides an advanced warning before judgment strikes. As we see in this week’s text from 2 Kings 8-10, Israel’s kings were warned continually by God’s prophets to turn from their idol worship. Not only did these kings choose to ignore the warnings, but in many cases, they tried to kill the prophet!

This week, we see the hurricane of God’s judgment strike the kings of Israel and their entire family. The hurricane in this instance is named Jehu. Commissioned by God, he hunts down and kills the entire line of Omri, the father of wicked King Ahab and his wicked, evil wife, Jezebel. Ahab is already dead, but Jehu destroys his family with a vengeance.

As we come to a close of 2 Kings 10, we see the great nation of Israel begin a gradual descent to destruction. It will not come overnight, but it is coming, like a hurricane out to sea gaining strength as it slowly moves toward land.

As we turn our focus to America in this week’s lesson, we will see how the issue of immigration is impacting our culture. Specifically, we will look at the role of government and the role of the church in addressing this issue. Moreover, we will look at what I believe is the root cause of division and conflict when it comes to immigration.

Immigration is just one of the issues that is confronting America today. Is it a warning of more divisive times in front of us? If you follow my line of reasoning in this week’s lesson and a clear understanding of Bible prophecy, then the answer is yes. What we are witnessing today are simply harbingers of a much more difficult time to come.

Memory Verse for This Week

2 Peter 1.19 (ESV) And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Core Belief: Humanity

Humanity (John 3:16): We believe all people are born separated from God by sin, but God in his love sent his Son Jesus Christ as their savior.

Take Home Truth

When you see God’s judgment delayed, don’t jump to denying it, but instead see his patience on display.


Introduction

Have you ever been in the path of a deadly storm? How did you respond to the warnings?

If you had to identify “storms on the horizon” for America today, what would they be?

Looking back at your notes from this week’s sermon, was there anything that particularly caught your attention, challenged or confused you?

Make sure you ask this question this week. It gives people the opportunity to discuss questions or issues that come up beyond the written questions. People’s responses can often lead to one of the questions in the “Digging Deeper” section. Also, some weeks this question will result in a lot of discussion, other weeks, not so much.


Read the Text

Read 2 Kings 8-10.


Digging Deeper

In this section, feel free to develop your own questions to help guide your group’s discussion. Below are some suggestions. Remember, if you are hearing from everyone in your group, chances are you won’t have time to discuss every question. You may start with one that catches your attention so you don’t run out of time. For example, it’s not odd to start with Question #6, then go to Question #5 and if you have time come back to Question #4.

Summarize what is happening in 2 Kings 8-10.

As the title of this week’s message suggests, the theme of 2 Kings 8-10 is God’s judgment of the wicked. It begins with a warning from Elisha to the Shunammite woman and ends with the complete destruction of the line of Omri at the hands of Jehu, God’s instrument of judgment.

Here in summary manner is the outline of chapters 8-10:

  1. The warning of a seven-year famine in Israel and the restoration of the Shunammite’s land (8:1-6)
  2. Elisha predicts Hazael’s reign over Syria and the death of Ben-Hadad (8:7-15).
  3. The reign of Jehoram over Judah and Israel’s enemies revolt (8:16-24).
  4. The reign of Ahaziah over Judah (8:25-29).
  5. Jehu is anointed and declared king and commissioned by God as an instrument of judgment (9:1-13).
  6. Jehu brings God’s judgment to the house of Omri (9:14-27).
  7. The Reforms of Jehu (10:1-17).
  8. Jehu brings destruction to Baal worship in Israel (10:18-31)
  9. Israel begins to decline; Syria begins to rise (10:32-36.)

Side Note: As we have noted several times during our study of 2 Kings, the illustrations of Elisha’s miracles are not in chronological order. The beginning of Chapter 8 is a good example.

We learned in 2 Kings 5:20ff that Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, was stricken with leprosy pretending to speak on behalf of Elisha to secure a reward from Naaman the Syrian commander.

Yet here, in Chapter 8, we see Gehazi speaking with Jehoram, the king of Israel. Certainly, he would not have been in the presence of the king if he was a leper. Consequently, this event in 2 Kings 8 had to occur before he became a leper.

It is also very possible that the famine described in 2 Kings 8 is the same famine described in 2 Kings 4:38-44. Both happened in the land of Israel and both ere seven years in length. This was much longer than the siege of Samaria described in 2 Kings 6 and 7.

 

What do you make of the final assessment of Jehu in 2 Kings 10:28-36?

This is an interesting assessment. On the one hand, it seems to affirm Jehu’s actions by promising him a four-generation legacy; on the other, it condemns Jehu for his failure to obey the law of the Lord.

There is a lesson here for us. Like many of us, Jehu had an outward zeal for the Lord while privately, his worship revealed otherwise. Moreover, as is common today, Jehu’s zeal actually covered for his own prideful lust for power and security. The New Bible Commentary captures this well:

Like many leaders of revolutions, he indulged in excesses in his attempt to remove the evils which preceded him, committing evils of his own. His mishandling of prophecy also puts him among that breed of ruthless politicians who claim an almost prophetic authority for themselves, justifying their deeds by appealing to the will of God.

This is only implicit in the biblical narrative, but there is also explicit criticism in the concluding assessment of Jehu’s reign. God’s own approval of his achievement was qualified (30); he promised Jehu a dynasty of five generations in all (his own reign and those of four generations of descendants)—far short of the eternal dynasty (on the pattern of David’s) which was conditionally promised to Jeroboam (1 Ki. 11:39). Significantly, the prophet Hosea was to speak of the end of Jehu’s dynasty in terms of punishment ‘for the massacre at Jezreel’ (Ho. 1:4).

Furthermore, Jehu’s professed zeal for the LORD (16) was undermined by his worship of Jeroboam’s golden calves (29, 31). Divine disapproval of his reign is illustrated by Hazael’s victories, described as Yahweh’s reduction of Israel’s territory (32–33). Jehu is a further sad illustration of the fact that divine appointing and prophetic anointing do not guarantee that the recipient will live up to God’s calling.1

 

Why do you think people ignore warnings of God’s impending judgment?

In a word, it is hardheartedness. The writer of Hebrews identifies this for us:

Hebrews 3:13 (ESV) But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Continual, habitual sin causes us to become hardened to God’s voice…including His warnings of impending judgment. Romans 1 is a key passage in this regard:

Romans 1:18–32 (ESV)

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

This is a sobering passage for all of us to fully comprehend. I call this “The Judgment of Abandonment.” We reach a time as a culture and a people when God “gives us up” to the wickedness of our own desires and impulses.

Does this mean God abandons His children because of sin? Not at all! Our salvation is secured by the blood of our Lord Jesus, and no one can take this from us (John 6:37). I do believe, however, that this passage is addressing the unrepentant, including the nations. Just as God was patient with Israel, so God is being patient with America today, but if we continue to sin and harden our hearts, then there will come a time when God will say, “Enough!”

The late R.C. Sproul said it well:

The worst thing that can happen to sinners is to be allowed to go on sinning without any divine restraints. At the end of the New Testament, in the book of Revelation when the description of the last judgment is set forth, God says, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still” (Rev. 22:11). God gives people over to what they want. He abandons them to their sinful impulses and removes his restraints, saying in essence, “If you want to sin, go ahead and sin.” This is what theologians call “judicial abandonment.” God, in dispensing his just judgment, abandons the impenitent sinner forever.

He goes on to say this:

We hear all the time about God’s infinite grace and mercy. I cringe when I hear it. God’s mercy is infinite insofar as it is mercy bestowed upon us by a Being who is infinite, but when the term infinite is used to describe his mercy rather than his person, I have problems with it because the Bible makes very clear that there is a limit to God’s mercy. There is a limit to his grace, and he is determined not to pour out his mercy on impenitent people forever. There is a time, as the Old Testament repeatedly reports, particularly in the book of the prophet Jeremiah, that God stops being gracious with people, and he gives them over to their sin.2

Let us not be guilty of ignoring God’s merciful warning. The time to repent is now.

Application for Christians Today

For this portion of our group lesson, we will return to the book, The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness by Erwin Lutzer. This week we will look at Chapter 7: Islam, Immigration, and the Church.

How does the role of the church differ from the role of government?

It is important for us to have a clear understanding of the role of government versus the role of the church. According to the Constitution of the United States, the federal government has six responsibilities:

  1. To form a more perfect Union;
  2. To establish Justice;
  3. To ensure domestic Tranquility;
  4. To provide for the common defense;
  5. To promote the general Welfare; and
  6. To secure the Blessings of Liberty.

Simplified, the government exists to protect its citizens, preserve order, and mete out punishment (justice) to ensure a tranquil place to live in which liberty can thrive.

The church, on the other hand, has a completely different role. The church, with its symbol as the cross, is to lead forward in love, turn the other cheek, care for the downtrodden, and let the Bible serve as our constitution.

As Lutzer explains, it is important for us to keep a clear line of distinction between the role of government and the role of the church. He states,

The government must do what the church cannot: protect its people and preserve order. Likewise, the church must do what the government cannot: be the welcoming committee for strangers in our land. We must see Jesus on our doorstep. And we must live the truth of His words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me” (John 13:20).3

Why is the issue of immigration such a hotbed issue in our country today?

I believe the reason immigration is such a hotbed issue today is that it is on the front line of the civil war over worldviews. We are witnessing the emergence of a historic conflict as two worldview fight for control of America. Immigration is just one of the issues that brings the conflict into focus.

Obviously, immigration is not new to America. We are often referred to as “a nation of immigrants.” Most of us can probably trace our own family heritage back to immigrants who landed in America sometime between 1850 and 1950. Ellis Island is a historic landmark today as the “Gateway to the American Dream.”

Immigration has become so controversial because it is a point of conflict between those in America who are striving to see America become another nation that is part of a global community, and those who see America as a nation that is unique in both its form of government and upon the value of liberty in which it was founded. The banner under which the first group marches can be summed up as “Globalism,” while the banner under which the latter group marches can be summed up as “Nationalism.” (When you see “nationalism,” understand the word in its historical, traditional definition that best describes national sovereignty. This is a nation’s right to rule itself. The word “nationalism” has been perverted in recent time by those who have a globalist vision and want to paint national sovereignty in a poor light.)

These two ideologies—Globalism and Nationalism—are at complete odds with each other. Moreover, while it can be argued that the globalists are best represented today in America by the progressive left, and the nationalists are best represented by the right, it is also true that politicians from both the Democrat and Republican Parties could be identified as globalists or nationalists.

This battle is not unique to America. Europe is seeing its own political conflict over the same issues. The Brexit vote in Great Britain was an attempt by British nationalists to pull free from the globalism of the European Union. Other European countries including France, Germany, and Italy are all seeing the rise of nationalistic parties within their borders.

Immigration is at the center of this battle because in democratic countries, the insertion of large groups of foreign people groups ultimately weakens the democracy to the point of failure. This is especially true when the immigrants come from Islamic countries. As we will see in the next question, Islam brings a dark side to the immigration issue that western nations are struggling to understand.

Side Note: Who will win the battle between globalism and nationalism? In the end, I believe the globalists will win. During the Great Tribulation, the Bible describes a global system led by Satan’s man of the hour, the Antichrist (cf. Revelation 13). We may be experiencing a brief reprieve in the march towards global government, but I believe it will soon begin to make traction again and we will continue to see an emerging global system. Many of the important pieces are already in place—a globally coordinated economy, global communication, etc. In order for a global government to flourish, national sovereignty must diminish. As Jan Markell is fond of saying, “things are not falling apart, they are falling into place.”

Why does Islam bring a sinister, dark side to the issue of immigration?

Is it a safe assumption to begin with that not all Muslims wish us well? But, it is also a safe assumption that not all Muslims wish to harm us?

Much of what America understands about Islam is the result of our view of terrorism. We associate the attack on the World Trade Center and countless other horrific events with the Islamic quest for jihad.

At the same time, we fully acknowledge that most Muslims are not terrorists. Just in the last week, we saw the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh raise almost $200,000 for the families of those slain in the Jewish Synagogue shooting. As you watch the leader of the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh pledge his support to these Jews, you cannot help but see the best of America.

This does not negate the fact, however, that worldwide, Islam is striving to become the dominant religion. We tend to label these followers of Muhammad as “Muslim extremists,” but, given there are an estimated 1.8 billion Muslims in the world4 if just 10 percent of all Muslims would identify as extremists, that is 180 million people! An extremist Muslim would hold to the literal teaching of the Quran and Hadith and strive to enforce sharia law in communities (and ultimately nations) where they have a democratic majority. We see many cities in Europe struggling with this issue today, and we are watching cities like Dearborn, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota begin to struggle with this issue.

While Americans focus on Islamic terrorism as the greatest threat to our country from Islam, in truth, it is immigration. Lutzer explains,

I have discovered that Islam has a well-developed doctrine of migration going back to the days of Muhammad, who migrated from Medina to Mecca in AD 622 to spread his new doctrine. In fact, the Muslim calendar begins not with the birth or death of Muhammad, but with the date of his migration, which illustrates the importance of spreading Islam by moving from one geographical location to another. This event became known as the Hijrah (migration). This model of migration is not for the purpose of assimilating into a new host nation, but for colonizing and transforming host countries.

In the Quran, a promise is given: “Those who believe, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith in the cause of Allah…. for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous” (Surah 8:74). The Hadith connects migration with jihad, “And I command you with five that Allah has commanded me: Listening, obeying, Jihad, Hijrah and Jama ah (community).”

For Muslim extremists, the role of immigration is critical to advance their agenda; more so than through acts of terrorism. 5

The sinister, dark side of Islamic immigration comes from organizations like The Muslim Brotherhood, which operates in North America through various front groups. While not designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department for political reasons, the British government has concluded that “that membership of or links to it should be considered a possible indicator of extremism.”6

Lutzer reports that a 2003 FBI investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood revealed that, “the MB’s multifaceted plan to dominate America through immigration, intimidation, education, community centers, mosques, political legitimacy, and establishing “interfaith dialogue” centers in our universities and colleges.”

Lutzer continues,

A document confiscated by the FBI outlines a twelve-point strategy to establish an Islamic government on earth that is brought about by a flexible, long-term “cultural invasion” of the West. Their own plans teach us that “the intrusion of Islam will erupt in multiple locations using multiple means.”

But near the top of this strategy is immigration. To be more specific, the first major point in their strategy states: “To expand the Muslim presence by birth rate, immigration and a refusal to assimilate.” This strategy transformed Indonesia from a Buddhist and Hindu country to the largest Muslim-dominated country in the world.7

 

How should the church respond to the issue of immigration?

This is where it is critical to understand the difference between the role of government and the role of the church. Remember, the role of government is to “protect and defend;” the role of the church is to “make disciples of all nations.” We must rely on our government to protect our borders and ensure that those who enter America are doing so in pursuit of the American dream, not as cultural jihadists for Islam. But, once a family moves into our community, it is the responsibility of the church to welcome them and share with them the love of Jesus.

 

How do you think a church should respond if an illegal immigrant family approached the church seeking sanctuary from deportation?

This is a tough question, but it will likely generate some good discussion. Honestly, I’m not sure there is a “right” answer. (For evidence of how difficult this question is, watch how John Piper struggles to provide a simple answer to a similar question on the church’s role in the immigration debate.)

Remember a key distinction we are stressing in this lesson: the church is not the government and the government is not the church. At the same time, Romans 13 instructs Christians to submit themselves to the rule of civil law unless it directly counters God’s law.

In leading this discussion, be very gracious and respect everyone’s opinion. Again, there may not be a “right” answer to this question, and there certainly is not an easy answer to this question.

 

How do you think First Family could minister to immigrants moving to Central Iowa?

While we may not see many immigrants moving to Ankeny, there is a steady stream of immigrants moving to Des Moines.

We spend a lot of time and money preparing and sending FFC’ers to unreached parts of the world, and that is a worthy cause, but in many ways, the unreached parts of the world are moving to Iowa! We don’t have a huge immigrant population, but we have a large immigrant population.

Two years ago, we focused attention on the River Hills Apartment Complex just west of the Iowa Capital. This is a classic multi-ethnic community. Knock on the doors of River Hills and you will likely find yourself visiting with a 5-6 year old child who is fluent in English and interpreting for their parent who can’t speak a word of English.

Lutzer ends this chapter with a word of encouragement for Christians who are considering how they can best minister to immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants:

One thread that runs throughout the testimony of Muslims who come to faith in Christ is this: the testimony of Christian love drew them to Christ. As one former Muslim put it, “Here I was convinced I had the right religion, but my religion taught me only to hate and to seek revenge. These people had the wrong religion and all they did was show me love.” Little wonder he came to saving faith in Christ.

Because Islam denies the very heart of the Christian faith—namely the divinity of Jesus, His death on the cross, and His resurrection—and because Islam has been so successful in overpowering Christianity in many countries, we must recognize that it is empowered by deceptive and dark forces. But we also must see many Muslims as living in fear of apostasy and threatened by excommunication or even death if they convert to another religion.

Let me reemphasize that Christians who have a credible ministry to Muslims are praying Christians. These are Christians who walk in humble repentance with a God-given burden for those who don’t know our heavenly Father. They are Christians who understand the spiritual battle going on. Only a loving relationship with our neighbors, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will overcome these barriers.8


Becoming A House of Prayer

“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices; Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” – Isaiah 56:7.

Prayer Focus for the Week of November 4 …

Pray for our political leaders, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1–2).

Pray that all might be welcome in your church. Peter said, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34–35).


Next Steps

Questions to consider as you continue to reflect on what you learned this week:

  • Take Action: How can a church effectively minister to the immigrants in our community? What suggestions can you bring to the discussion? What is keeping you from becoming involved personally in ministry to immigrants?
  • Take Courage: Noah’s ark is a beautiful picture of God’s care and protection for His children during a time of global judgment. In the New Testament, the Cross is a picture of the Ark. Have you come to the Cross and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If so, then you have no need to fear when God’s judgment begins to rain upon this earth.

Work to memorize this week’s memory verse: 2 Peter 1.19 (ESV) And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

This week’s Core Belief is Humanity (John 3:16): We believe all people are born separated from God by sin, but God in his love sent his Son Jesus Christ as their savior.

Take Home Truth is “When you see God’s judgment delayed, don’t jump to denying it, but instead see his patience on display.”

Remember to use the Daily Bible Reading plan as part of your walk with Christ, taking the time to reflect on each passage and what it means for your lives.

 

Footnotes:

  1. John J. Bimson, “1 and 2 Kings,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 370. ↩︎
  2. R. C. Sproul, Romans (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2009), 48. ↩︎
  3. Erwin W. Lutzer and Ed Stetzer, The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018). ↩︎
  4. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-current-Muslim-world-population ↩︎
  5. Erwin W. Lutzer and Ed Stetzer, The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018). ↩︎
  6. William James, “UK criticizes Muslim Brotherhood, defends Western policy,” Reuters, December 7, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-britain/uk-criticizes-muslim-brotherhood-defends-western-policy-idUSKBN1E11JI. ↩︎
  7. Erwin W. Lutzer and Ed Stetzer, The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018). ↩︎
  8. Erwin W. Lutzer and Ed Stetzer, The Church in Babylon: Heeding the Call to Be a Light in the Darkness (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2018). ↩︎

By |2018-11-03T10:52:55-05:00November 1st, 2018|This Week, Weekly Resources|0 Comments

About the Author: