He was an evil king, just not as evil as his father before him. He worshiped idols, but not the idols of the nations around him. Instead he bowed to the fake idols of his own kingdom that were fashioned of gold to be their gods when they split from the southern kingdom (1Ki. 12:25-33). So, like the kings of Israel before him, King Jehoram, the son of Ahab, clung to the sin of Jeroboam and gave his back to God.
And though normally he refused to even acknowledge heaven’s King over every king, much less wanted anything to do with Him, it’s funny how desperate situations have a way of directing the wayward heart towards the one true God.
Scenario: Ahab dies, and Moab rebels against Israel. King Jehoram calls upon Jehoshaphat king of Judah and the king of Edom to come and help him put the upstart Moabites back in their place. When the armies head out to do battle though, for some reason they take “a circuitous march of seven days” and end up running out of water.
Situation? Not good. A dehydrated army is a depleted army. Faint fighters are ineffective fighters. Thirsty warriors will likely become thrashed warriors.
And so Jehoshaphat, a follower of the God who delivered the twelve tribe’s from Egypt, suggests that Jehoram engage Elisha, the prophet of God, in order to seek God’s divine intervention in their desperate situation.
And this morning I’m chewing on Elisha’s response to the idol-serving king.
And Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother. . . . As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you.
(2Kings 3:13a, 14 ESV)
No reason that God should have even taken notice of the pickle Jehoram was in, much less that He should give ear to the evil king’s plea or intervene on his behalf. But for the sake of another.
“I have regard for Jehoshaphat,” says the prophet of the LORD of hosts. And thus not only would the holy God look upon the defiled despot of Israel, but He would also satisfy his thirst, and the thirst of his armies, by filling up the dry streambeds with water, though no one would “see wind or rain” (v.16-17). An unexplainable miracle for an undeserving mutineer. And that, for the sake of another.
And that’s my story, isn’t it? Going my own way. Bowing to my own idols. Serving gods after my own making. Happy to do it my way until my way led to dry streambeds. And a thirst turned my heart to the LORD of hosts who had no reason to have anything to do with me, but for the sake of Another.
Isn’t that the foundational catalyst for grace?
The Father’s regard for the Son and His finished work on the cross the only basis upon which He would intervene in our desperate situations.
Rescued for the sake of Another. Forgiven for the sake of Another. Reconciled for the sake of Another. Counted as righteous for the sake of Another.
Where it not that I have regard for My Son, I would neither look at you nor see you.
What wondrous grace. To Him be all the glory.