a. Jehoram son of Ahab reigned 12 years over Israel (v.1)
1) He did evil but not as badly as his father Ahab (v.2). He did put away images of Baal.
2) He firmly held to the golden calves Jeroboam had made (v.3)
b. Arthur Pink notes five things taught us about God and our sins.
1) God Himself personally observes our wrongdoing, “in the sight of the LORD.” (v.2)
2) God records our evil deeds. God notes his sins, his parent’s sins, and the sins of Jeroboam (v.2).
3) God recognizes degrees in evildoing. His sins were not as bad as those of Ahab and Jezebel (v.2).
4) God observes whether our reformation is partial or complete. He put away some images but not all.
5) God duly notes our continuance in sin (v.3) He never departed from the sins of Jeroboam.
2. The Rebellion of Moab
a. The Moabites were descendants of Lot’s oldest daughter (Ge 19:37-38). The Ammonites descended from Lot’s younger daughter.
b. Years earlier, David had subdued Moab and forced them to pay tribute to Israel (2Sa 8:2).
c. Mesha king of Moab refused to pay him the tribute of lambs, rams and wool now that Ahab was dead (v.4-5). Ryrie Study Bible notes, “An inscription on the Moabite Stone, discovered in 1968, describes the revolt on the part of Mesha, which consisted in his refusing to continue to pay tribute.”
3. The Unequal Coalition
a. He numbered his soldiers (v.6). We find no mention of prayer.
b. He sent a text message asking Jehoshaphat for help (v.7). We find no mention of Jehoshaphat praying either. Jehoshaphat knew better, but in his elder years, he was a compromiser. (Proverbs 21:2) “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” It is never right to do wrong to get a chance to do right.
c. He got the king of Edom to join their forces (v.8-9). (See map on back). What a mess! We have an apostate, a compromiser, and a heathen joining forces. Without consulting God, this venture was in big trouble.
4. The Natural Threat
a. Either the kings did not make proper preparation or God sent an unusual dry spell, but the army ran out of water (v.9).
b. Jehoram king of Israel concluded that Jehovah was going to deliver them into the hand of Moab. Perhaps he thought that Jehovah was upset with Jehoshaphat for joining the coalition, if so, he may have been right.
c. Jehoshaphat then sought for a prophet (v.11). That is what he should have done before he joined the expedition. How sad it is when we do not seek the Lord until we get ourselves into trouble!
d. Elisha is located and the three kings pay him a visit (v.12).
5. Elisha’s Response
a. He rebuked Jehoram – the apostate (v.13). Elisha knew his true character. God fully knew his heart condition. We cannot hide on God.
b. He regarded Jehoshaphat – the compromising believer (v.14). He was wrong for being part of that coalition. Elisha did not commend him, but God still cares for His children even when they go astray.
c. He called for a minstrel (v.15). This was a musician. The music both calmed his agitated spirit and praised the Lord, thus, enabling the Lord to give him counsel. When Elisha needed help, he called on the Lord.
d. God told him to have the soldiers dig many ditches (v.16).
6. The Miracle of Water in the Ditches
a. The prediction (v.17-19).
b. The fulfilment (v.20). In answer to Elisha’s prayers, God did a miracle.
c. God also gave a miraculous victory (v.21-27). They did not deserve it, but God showed himself mighty. Our God is so good! (Ps 95:1, 3; 96:9; 97:1; 99:9; 100)