Murder in the air….

3 09 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE : 2 Kings 8 v. 16 – 9 v. 37; Acts 23 v. 12 – 35; Psalm 80 v. 1 – 7

2 KINGS
Jehoram King of Judah – Jehoram is 32 years old when he becomes king in Judah, succeeding Jehoshaphat, and in the fifth year of the reign of Joram in Israel. ‘He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord. Nevertheless, for the sake of His servant David, the Lord was not willing to destroy Judah…’
During Jehoram’s reign, Edom rebelled, and established its own king. There was a battle, but Jehoram retreated, and ‘to this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah.‘ Libnah also revolted.
All Jehoram’s deeds are written in the annals of the kings of Judah.
Jehoram died and was buried in the City of David.
His son, Ahaziah succeeds him.

Ahaziah King of Judah – Ahaziah becomes king at the age of 22 (in the twelfth year of the reign of King Joram of Israel). Ahaziah reigned for one year! His mother, Athaliah, was a granddaughter of Omri, king of Israel. ‘He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the Lord…’
Ahaziah and Joram join forces in battle against Hazael, king of Aram, at Ramoth Gilead.
King Joram is wounded in battle and goes to Jezreel to recover. Ahaziah goes across to Jezreel to visit Joram to see how his wounds are recovering.

Jehu Anointed King of Israel – Elisha summons one of the prophets and commissions him :
– tuck your cloak into your belt
– take a flask of oil to Ramoth Gilead
– find Jehu (son of Jehoshaphat), and take him to a private, inner room
– pour oil on his head and anoint him king over Israel
‘then open the door and run; don’t delay’
So the prophet does as he’s been instructed to. He tells Jehu that the Lord says, ‘You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets….shed by Jezebel….As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her…and no-one will bury her.’
He anoints Jehu, and then runs off.
Jehu tells his fellow officers what has happened, and they all take of their cloaks and lay them down beneath his feet; they blow trumpets and shout, ‘Jehu is king !’

Jehu Kills Joram and Ahaziah – Jehu begins to conspire against Joram. Remember Joram was in Jezreel, recovering from a wound he received in battle against Hazael. Jehu sets out for Jezreel where both king Joram and king Ahaziah (of Judah) are.
The lookout on the tower in Jezreel sees Jehu and his troops approaching, and alerts the kings. Joram sends a horseman out to meet them asking ‘do you come in peace?’
The horseman goes out, but joins Jehu’s troops when told to ‘fall in behind me’.
The lookout reports that this horseman is not coming back, so Jehu sends a second horseman, and exactly the same things happens again.
This time the lookout alerts the kings that these troops are being led by Jehu – ‘the driving is like that of Jehu…he drives like a madman!’
This time, the kings go themselves, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. The meeting is on the land of Naboth :

‘Sooner or later, disobedience will have its reward. The house of Ahab had killed Naboth to get his land (1 Kings 21), and now two kings (the son and son-in-law of Ahab) would meet their death in a battle on that very land’ (Wesley Study Bible)

 Joram, himself, asks if Jehu’s intentions are peaceful. The answer comes:
‘How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound ?’
Joram turns to race off, warning Ahaziah to flee too, shouting about Jehu’s ‘treachery’.
Jehu shoots Joram between the shoulders with his bow. Joram’s heart is pierced, and Jehu’s chariot officer, Bidkar, throws Joram’s body into the field (of Naboth the Jezreelite), ‘in accordance with the word of the Lord.’
Ahaziah attempts to flee, but Jehu chases him, and tries to kill him. Ahaziah, however, is seriously wounded, and dies later in Megiddo. He is taken to Jerusalem and is buried in the City of David.

Jezebel Killed – Jehu arrives in Jezreel. Jezebel puts on make-up, arranges her hair, and attracts Jehu’s attention from her window, asking if he comes in peace (having just killed his master!). Jehu asks who is on his side, and two eunuchs appear at the window. Jehu urges them to throw Jezebel down from the window. They do!
Her blood-spattered body is trampled by horses.
Jehu goes to celebrate with a feast and drinking, urging others to bury her (after all, she was a king’s daughter). However the only traces of her body remaining were her skull, feet and hands.
Jehu recognises the fulfilment of God’s word…‘dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. Jezebel’s body will be like refuse on the ground…’

ACTS
The Plot to Kill Paul – Next day…Jewish conspiracy…pact not to eat or drink until Paul is killed…forty men committed to the cause….they go to chief priests and demand they tell the commander to gather the Sanhedrin and bring Paul before them….‘We are ready to kill him before he gets here’.
Paul’s nephew gets wind of the plot….he goes to tell Paul, in the barracks…Paul tells one of the centurions to take his nephew to the commander….the nephew tells the commander, ‘Don’t give in to them (the Sanhedrin), because more than forty of them are waiting in ambush for him’….the commander sends Paul’s nephew away with strict instructions not to tell anyone.

Thank God for those times when blood is thicker than anything else…Paul’s nephew was taking a huge risk going to the commander…thank God for family ties which can be proven to be a God-send in times of adversity. Paul’s nephew literally saves his life by his actions here.

Paul Transferred to Caesarea – the commander calls two centurions….he organises safe passage for Paul (200 soldiers, 70 horsemen, 200 spearmen) to Caesarea by night….Paul is taken to Governor Felix with a letter from the commander….the letter reads :
From Claudius Lysias,
To His Excellency, Governor Felix,
Greetings…the Jews are out to get this man….he is a Roman citizen, so I rescued him….I brought him to their Sanhedrin, but their accusations are to do with their law….I find no charge to deserve death or imprisonment….I have sent him to you to be safe from their plot to kill him….and I’m still waiting for them to present their case to me.
The soldiers carried out their orders….Paul is taken to Antipatris overnight…and then on to Caesarea (the cavalry taking the lead, whilst the soldiers returned to barracks)…Paul and the letter are delivered to the governor….the governor finds out from Paul that he is from the province of Cilicia….‘I will hear your case when your accusers get here’…..Paul is kept under guard at Herod’s palace.

By God’s hand, Paul is being given safe passage on his journey headed towards Rome !

PSALM (from ‘My Psalms’)

My Lord, my God – Shepherd of Your chosen (Israel),
who led Joseph as You lead all Your flock –
hear us out.
My Lord, my God – Mighty, enthroned amidst angels,
ruler of all nations (Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh),
stir up Your power,
come to us – rescue us!

My Lord, my God, build us up again,
shine Your smile upon us, and save us.

My Lord, our Mighty God,
how long will You be angry towards Your people,
holding their prayers against them?
Look at their suffering –
You have fed them with their daily tears.
You have watered them with bowls full of weeping.
You have allowed them to become a laughing stock,
there are so many who stand against them.

My Lord, my God, build us up again,
shine Your smile upon us, and save us.

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