what we saw in previous readings:
When Elijah went to Sinai to file suit against Israel for its idolatry and its stiff-necked attitude toward the covenant, Yahweh responded, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death” (1 Kings 19:15-17). A large part of the fulfillment of these prophecies occurs in today’s lecture.
After Ahab killed Naboth and took his vineyard, Yahweh sent Elijah to announce his judgment: “Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel the LORD also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel’” (1 Kings 21:21-23).
Afterwards when Ahab demonstrated some remorse for what he had done, Yahweh said, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house” (1 Kings 21:29).
Notice at least four aspects of the fulfillment of these prophecies in today’s
The precision of the prophecies from Yahweh: Many years have passed, and many events have taken place, but Yahweh’s judgment arrives exactly as he declared. Yahweh directed each person and each action without overlooking any
detail, and He did all of it naturally.
The speed at which they are fulfilled: It’s been a long wait since the sentencing in 1 Kings 19, but when the moment arrives for fulfillment, nothing can stop it. The time for repentance has passed already; there is barely enough time to recognize judgment when it arrives.
The purpose of Yahweh’s judgment: Of course, judgment punishes Ahab’s royal house, but it also purges the cult of Baal from the country. Yahweh’s judgment has a purgative function in addition to a condemning one so that His remaining people are sanctified and sin is completely uprooted.
Yahweh’s judgment stands in contrast to His faithfulness to the house of David: The house of David is purged also when Jehu kills Ahaziah, David’s descendant who: “Walked in the way of the house of Ahab and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was son-in-law to the house of Ahab” (2 Kings 8:27). Ahaziah’s death even motivates his mother to try to exterminate the entire royal household (2 Kings 11:1), just as was done to the house of Jeroboam, of Baasha and now of Ahab. But instead of allowing David’s house to be exterminated, Yahweh preserves it: “But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were being put to death, and she put him and his nurse in a bedroom. Thus they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not put to death” (2 Kings 11:2). And in time, there is a revival in the relationship between Judah and Yahweh when Joash comes to the throne: “And Jehoiada [the high priest] made a covenant between the LORD and the king and people, that they should be the LORD’s people, and also between the king and the people… So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword at the king’s house” (2 Kings 11:17, 20).
In summary, we see that Yahweh’s judgment is certain and quick, that it is executed to purge sin and iniquity as well as condemn, and that protection from judgment comes from aligning oneself with Yahweh’s anointed one. Once again, the events of 2 Kings urge us to repent of our sins before it is too late, and they compel us to find salvation and protection from judgment by trusting only in Yahweh.