The days of the Northern Kingdom of God’s people (Israel), are numbered; a little over a hundred years are left. That empire ends with this reading section. The kings appear as follows:
Amaziah (rules 29 years)
Azariah (also known as Uzziah – 52 years)
Jotham (16 years)
Ahaz (16 years) 724 B.C.
Jeroboam II (rules 41 years)
Zechariah (6 mos.)
Shallum (1 month)
Menaham (10 years)
Pekahiah (2 years)
Pekah (20 years) 742 B.C.
End of the Northern Kingdom. 722 B.C.
Throughout the story of Israel, the persistent judgment of the kings has been that they did evil in the eyes of the Lord, “walking in the ways of” Jeroboam or the kings of Israel.
You cannot keep making the same mistakes and expect the same results. This road is leading to a horrible end, but God is loving them every step of the way. Jehoahaz follows in the sins of Jeroboam. God’s anger burns against Israel and causes her to be oppressed, her strength sapped. Despite the fact Jehoahaz doesn’t change his ways, he does pray, and God brings deliverance. His son Jehoash is worse than his father, but he continues to call on the prophet Elisha. He recognizes that with Elisha’s death, any hope of protection from the Lord dies too (that’s what that “The chariots and horsemen of Israel” comment is all about). In other words, he exhibits a small amount of faith. Despite the fact they don’t deserve it, God listens to their prayers and provides a blessing.
Though the word is unused in this section, what you see is God’s great love for His people – a people who have continued to shun Him and disobey Him. God demonstrates His love right up to the day of destruction.
God is not far from any of us. He seeks to help us and find ways to bless us, but His blessing does not necessarily mean approval. If we persist on a dangerous road, He will walk with us to the edge of the cliff – but no further. He will warn us all along the way. But He will not force us off that road.