The wayyyyyy too brief overview of 2 Kings
The finishing half of Kings reads like a university history textbook. (Yes, the entire Bible is factual history. 2 Kings is just more focused on listing a bunch of historical events, monarchs, geographical places, etc.)
This book isn’t really one you can finish quickly. Not if you want to understand the order of events that lead to the fall of Israel and Judah (which are still 2 separated countries at the moment.) To make matters even more difficult, the people in this chapter have almost identical names! (Joash and Jehoash, Elijah and Elisha…)
Fortunately, to make things easier for you to understand, here’s a brief timeline overview:
1. Elijah the prophet descends into heaven on a fiery chariot. His successor, Elisha, inherits his blessed spirit and leads as an even greater prophet and miracle worker.
2. The wicked Ahab’s son, Joram is king of Israel. But his reign is stripped away as his entire family is killed (including his mom Jezebel.) The man who kills them is an army commander, Jehu, prophesied by Elisha to be the new king.
3. Chaos in Judah follows after the king Ahaziah is killed (which was Joram’s relative.) Ahaziah’s mother kills the entire royal family of Judah except a boy named Joash who escapes.
4. Joash eventually becomes king and is great at first. (He rebuilds the temple of God in Jerusalem.) Sadly, he starts doing some evil things and is killed.
5. Many other evil kings come to rule over Israel and Judah. There are many wars and fake idols and sadness all around :(. God raises up prophets during this time to help His people.
6. Israel is delivered into the hands of Assyria due to their disobedience and faith in fake gods.
7. A good king, Hoshea, who does right in the eyes of the Lord rules over Judah. He eventually has an evil son Manasseh who gets Judah destroyed.
8. Another great king, Josiah, rules over Judah and brings peace to the land. After he dies, Jerusalem and Judah are destroyed once again by Babylonian forces.
And there you have a simplified version of this information-heavy book! If you’re looking for greater detail of each timeline event, look up Overview Bible for more biblical facts.
Now let’s take a look at how the verses in this chapter connect with our everyday lives as young adults today!
Big Takeaway #1- The Lord can restore everything you’ve lost.
2 Kings 8:6 “And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.”
A kind woman from a place called Shunem serves a minor yet memorable role in this book. She is a woman who feeds and gives shelter to the prophet Elisha whenever he has need. Because of her kindness, Elisha promises her a son who is soon born the next year.
When illness strikes the son and he dies, the woman has enough faith to go to the prophet for help. Elisha raises her son from the dead and tells her to leave Shunem because of an upcoming famine.
She does as she’s told and returns years later when the famine ends. The king at that time gives her back everything she’s lost like it was never taken away to begin with.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 2 Kings 8:6
Crises can come into our lives unexpectedly at the drop of a hat. And when troubled times flood our moments of happiness, it’s easy to lose things (emergency funds and savings, homes from evictions, clothes lost in fires, peace stolen by depression.) But those of us with the kingdom of God residing within our spirits can regain everything we’ve lost.
The woman in this verse is blessed beyond measure not only for her kindness but for her obedience to serving a leader of the Lord.
The kingdom within her soul allowed her to plant a seed of prosperity and blessings. We too are fully capable of planting this seed and can hold on to faith that the things we have lost can be restored too.
Simply because we serve Him.
Big Takeaway #2- The present does not have to repeat the past.
2 Kings 18:4-5 “He removed the high places, smashed the sacred stones, and cut down the Asherah poles… Hezekiah trusted the Lord, God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after.”
Once Hezekiah officially becomes king over the people of Judah, he doesn’t hesitate to destroy all the blasphemous false idols.
For countless years, the people worshipped fake gods under the rule of their evil leaders. Hezekiah puts a quick stop to that and lives under the rule of God instead.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 2 Kings 18:4-5
Hezekiah did not allow his ancestors, his family, or his past effect what his future would hold for him and his people.
He took a stand and made a deliberate change to follow the Lord whole-heartedly. And with that, God gave Judah freedom, good health, and safety during Hezekiah’s reign.
If the Lord can forgive Hezekiah and his people for hundreds’ of years of sin and if Hezekiah can muster the strength to make this change, imagine what you can be able to do in your life.
Imagine the chains from your family or your past (disease, drugs, divorce, depression, abuse) that the Lord can break for you when you decide to follow him whole-heartedly.
Big Takeaway #3- Seek God even when the entire world tells you not too.
2 Kings 19:17-19 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”
King Hezekiah, a faithful ruler of Judah, begins to humble himself in prayer. A powerful Assyrian army has just circled around the city of Jerusalem and is threatening to overpower them.
Lately, Assyria has been on a hot roll conquering everyone in the land and destroying whole nations. The Assyrian army commander dared people of Jerusalem to ignore Hezekiah’s prayers to the Lord. In their eyes, no one could help them.
But Hezekiah remains faithful.
He goes on to ask the Lord for help despite the terrible circumstances. And the Lord delivers him from his troubles with Assyria.
The big takeaway for us young adults from 2 Kings 19:17-19
Sometimes, the world will try to push you into a tiny box. A box full of fear and worry and drama that seems to have no escape and only tightens around you with negativity.
This is when prayers become the first thing to go and people will mock you for depending on God. But the Lord has never given us a spirit of fear.
We can’t allow ourselves to follow in line with others around us since we are set aside to light up the world with hope.
Hezekiah ignores his fearful kingdom of people and is courageous enough to call on God for help. To which, he becomes victorious in the end.
It’s impossible for the power of prayer and the Lord to be diminished by problems of the world. He has already conquered the world.