Lesson 11

The Last Days of the Northern Kingdom

(2 Kings 13 & 17)
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Introduction: Time is coming to an end for the Northern Kingdom called Israel. Time is also coming to an end for Elisha. This week we turn our study to these "last events" for Israel and Elisha. Let's dive in!

  1. Jehoahaz Rules


    1. Read 2 Kings 13:1-2. What is wrong with the rule of King Jehoahaz?


      1. Wasn't his father, Jehu, very zealous in combating idolatry? (See 2 Kings 9:22)


      2. Read 2 Kings 10:28-29, 31. Why would Jehu be so much against Baal worship, but tolerate calf worship? (Sin is not always logical.)


        1. Have you seen believers who are very concerned about God's law in some areas of their lives and completely unconcerned about other equally important areas?


        2. Have you seen Christians who are determined to "wipe out" certain sins in the church while at the same time displaying other sins in their lives?


          1. Does this describe you?


        3. What effect did Jehu's failure to put aside calf worship have on his son, Jehoahaz? (The son adopted his father's bad habits, but not his good habits!)


    2. Read 2 Kings 13:3-4. We see a change of heart in Jehoahaz. Did God also change? (No! God brought this trouble on Jehoahaz so that he would repent. God did not change His mind, He simply listened to the "call for help" He hoped to hear from Jehoahaz.)


    3. Read 2 Kings 13:5. Is this the way the Lord works today? Will He provide a "deliverer" for you when you get into trouble - even trouble of your own making?


      1. What is the key to God coming to your rescue? (Repenting and turning to God.)


    4. Read 2 Kings 13:6-7. Did Jehoahaz continue to turn to God? (No)


      1. What was the result?


      2. How much power did Israel have? (Almost none! 50 cavalry and 10 chariots in addition to foot soldiers.)


  2. Elisha


    1. Jehoahaz dies and his ungodly son, Jehoash becomes king. Read 2 Kings 13:14. Elisha was in what kind of physical condition? What would be your guess? (It seems that he looked so bad that Jehoash was brought to tears.)


      1. If Elisha is an old, sick man, how can King Jehoash call him "The chariots and horsemen of Israel?"


        1. Is this merely a reference to the fact that last time we heard, Israel had only 50 horses and 10 chariots? Was the military as bad as Elisha looked? (I do not think this is what is meant. Even this evil king recognized that God's work through this righteous man was the real power of Israel and not its army or its kings.)


        2. Are you as perceptive as this evil king? Do you recognize that the real power in your life comes from God and not your own talents, efforts or hard work?


    2. Read 2 Kings 13:15-16. Now here is a good idea. The old, sick prophet will play bows and arrows with the king. Does the king need target practice?


      1. What is going on?


    3. Read 2 Kings 13:17-19. Was this a game of imagination that the prophet was playing with the king?


      1. What do you think each arrow meant? How do you know?


      2. Notice that Elisha (v. 16) put his hands over the king's hands as he shot the arrows. Was Elisha providing a little strength or steadiness to the king? (I doubt it, in Elisha's condition. We can tell from the first arrow that the shots are symbolic of what God will do for His people. The hands of the prophet on the hands of the king shows the partnership that God seeks to have with us in doing His will.)


      3. Who decided how many arrows would be shot that day? (The king.)


        1. What is the symbolism in this? (That with each bow-shot Israel won another battle against its enemies.)

        1. What is the practical lesson in this for us?


        2. How much control did the King have over his own future? (This is a powerful lesson. God encouraged, directed and guided by His prophet, Elisha. But, when all was said and done, the extent of the power that the King received from God was in his own hands. He decided how much he would allow God to work through him.)


          1. Is this true today? Is the extent of the power of God that is available to us a matter of our own decision?


          2. Does God let us determine how much of His Spirit we will use?


          3. Does God allow us to determine how many battles we will win in life?


          4. Is God angry with us (v.19) when we do not ask for all of the power and blessings that He has in mind for us?


    1. Read 2 Kings 13:20a. Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot. Elisha died and was placed in the dirt (really, a tomb). If Elisha had wanted, could he have decided to go to heaven in a chariot? Could he have taken advantage of the "Just Shoot" lesson he had given the king? (Just like the king was told to "open the east window" and "shoot," so God gives us windows of opportunity to exercise our faith and "expand our borders." However, God is ultimately in charge of which windows are open and which are not. I do not think Elisha had the option to go to heaven in a chariot. God had not opened that window to him.)


    2. Read 2 Kings 20b-21. Imagine the picture here. Friends are carrying a friend to be buried. What do you think the friends did when they saw the Moabite raiders? (They ran away.)


      1. Our text tells us that in their haste to run away, they tossed their friend into Elisha's tomb. When the dead man touched Elisha's bones, he came to life and stood on his feet. What do you think he did when he saw the Moabite raiders heading his way? (He would have had the same reaction as his friends. He no doubt started running after his friends.)


      2. Let's keep going with this story. Do you think the friends turned around to see how close the raiders were getting to them? What do you think they saw when they turned around? (Their dead friend running at top speed after them!)


        1. How fast do you think the friends are now were running? (I think they turned things up a notch! Not only did they have Moabites to worry about, but now a "ghost" of their dead friend is after them.)


      3. This is a fun story - one of my favorites in the Old Testament. Why is it here in the account of the last days of Israel? Does it have any spiritual lesson for us? Or, is it just some bizarre story that makes you rethink things like the Shroud of Turin?


        1. Does it have any relationship to the "Just Shoot" story that preceded it? (Yes. Both stories illustrate the power of God to work through weakness. You can never say that you cannot do this or that for God. When Elisha was almost dead, he was still the "chariots and horses" of Israel because God worked through him. Even more amazing, God was able to work through Elisha when Elisha was just "bones." Israel was on its last legs too. This story illustrates that it was not too late for Israel to turn back to God and live.)


          1. Is your life spiritually dead? Are you just a dried up old bone -- spiritually speaking? (If so, there is hope for you!)


  1. The End


    1. 2 Kings 17 reveals the end of the existence of Israel and the reasons why. I recommend you read the entire chapter. In the class this morning, let's read just the concluding verses. Read 2 Kings 17:35-37. What is the contract (covenant) that God made with His people? What was the obligation on each side? (God saved them (brought them out of Egypt) and they would worship only God.)


      1. Is that contract, or something similar, still offered today? (I think so. Jesus saved us from eternal death. In exchange, He asks for our exclusive worship and our loyalty.)


    2. Read 2 Kings 17:40-41. Was the problem that the people completely turned away from God? (No. They worshiped God and they worshiped idols.)


      1. How do you think they rationalized this practice?


      2. Does this practice exist today?


    3. Friend, have you given your entire heart to Jesus? Or, like the Israelites, do you have "some God" and "something else" in your heart? Are you "on the fence," "open-minded" when it comes to your allegiance? God calls for us to give Him our whole heart.


  2. Next Week: Manasseh and the Early Days of Josiah

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