2 Kings – Game Over 第二列王記 ‐ ゲームオーバー

Today we continue our 6 year series, reviewing once a month one book of the Bible, in order. Last year we worked our way through from Genesis (last January) to 1 Kings (last November.
Review:
The book of 1 Kings is really like a giant ‘school’ report card. It’s God’s report card on how the kings of Israel and Judah were doing. And they weren’t doing very well, so the report cards are pretty bad and as you might expect, like any father looking at a bad report card, God wasn’t too happy about it. 第一列王記はまるで‘学校’の成績表で盛りだくさんであるかのようです。

The Second Book of Kings is a continuation of the First. It records the reigns of fifteen kings in Judah and of eleven kings in Israel. 第二列王記は第一列王記の続きです。
The northern kingdom (Israel) continued to sin and anger God through idolatry, until God ran out of patience and warnings and the nation was handed over to its enemies for destruction. Their end came in 722 BC., when Samaria was taken by the Assyrians..
[timeline image]
Judah continued her course for nearly 150 years longer. But in spite of the efforts of prophets and some good kings, the tide of idolatry amongst the people could not be stopped, and Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians in 586 BC. Sadly, nothing but the Exile could purify the nation and restore the spirit of true worship of God.
悲しいことに追放以外に国を清め、神を心から礼拝する精神を取り戻すことはできませんでした。

On our way into this study, let’s test your history and play a quick game of good king/bad king. どの王が良い王で、どの王が悪い王でしょうか?
Choose which of the following kings in Israel and Judah’s history were good and which were bad: Zechariah, Hezekiah, Hoshea, Manasseh, Josiah, Amon

Key characters:
i. Prophet Elisha (2 Kings 1-13) 預言者エリシャ
ii. King Hezekiah  ヒゼキヤ王
iii. King Josiah ヨシヤ王

i. Prophet Elisha (2 Kings 1-13) 預言者エリシャ
Elijah taken up to heaven (only one of two people who have never tasted death) and Elisha is given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”
2 Kings 2:9,10

Elisha did see Elijah when he was taken up and, interestingly, performed twice as many miracles as Elijah (remember the miracle on Mt Carmel? amongst others) and the miracles of Elisha are not without meaning either.
– The widow’s oil (ch 4) – God provides when things look hopeless やもめの油
– The floating ax head (ch 6) – God recovers what looks to be hopelessly lost  斧の頭を浮かばせる
– The capture of the Arameans (ch 6) – God protects when it seems hopelessly dangerous アラム人の占領
15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)
There are many memory verses throughout this book, perhaps none better than the one we just read: 16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

Just when it looks like the end, no hope, game over – God intervenes. Elisha experienced this numerous times. もう終わり、望みがない、ゲームオーバーというときに神は介入してくださいます。

ii. King Hezekiah ヒゼキヤ王

Under King Hezekiah there was a spiritual revival in the nation. As a result of Hezekiah’s prayers, God destroyed the Assyrian army and spared Hezekiah’s life when he became gravely ill. (2 Kings 18-20)
2 Kings 18:1-7 Hezekiah… was twenty-five years old when he became king, and… he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done. 4 He removed the high places,smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He broke into pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. (It was called Nehushtan.)
5 Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. 7 And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

Who wants to serve God like that?! Who wants to be remembered like that?

When he and his troops were taunted by the powerful Assyrian army in what appeared a hopeless situation – Hezekiah turned to God (through the prophet Isaiah) ヒゼキヤは神に立ち返りました。
God put to death 185,000 of the Assyrian army forcing the rest to withdraw and so the Israelites were delivered.

When Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death – he turned to God and was given an extra 15 years of life. 彼は神に立ち返りました。
Amidst all the unfaithfulness of the people and all the idolatry of the land, Hezekiah sets a real example of faithfulness. He always turned to God. 彼はいつも神に立ち返りました。

iii. King Josiah ヨシヤ王
Josiah was another rare King who was completely faithful to God. ヨシヤは神に全く忠実であった数少ない王の一人でした。
2 He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed completely the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. (2 Kings 22:2)

When the book of the law had been found after decades of neglect, it was Josiah was tore his clothes in outrage over the neglect of the law and who worked to see the law of God reintroduced to Judah. He hungered and thirsted for God’s righteousness. Though it was too late for the people to change their ways, God honoured Josiah:

18 Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard:19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

And so at the end of this book, at the end of this section of Israel’s history, King Josiah is honoured by God but the people are rejected. In 722 BC Israel falls to Assyria and the people are exiled and 150 years later, Judah falls to Babylon and so the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people to bring God’s truth into the world are snuffed out. Finished. Game over. 神の真理を世にもたらすために選ばれた神の民は消滅させられます。終わりです。ゲームオーバー。

What happened?
God’s promise to Abraham. The miracle birth of Isaac. The faithfulness of the patriarchs. The rescue by Joseph into Egypt. The miraculous exodus out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership. The giving of the law. Joshua leading the Jews into the promised land. The establishment of kings and victories in the land. It had all come to nothing. Nothing! Finished. Game over.

We have an expression in English: It’s not over till the fat lady sings.
I don’t think that’s a very Biblical expression but certainly we can say that it’s nothing is over until God says it’s over. 神が終わりだと言うまで終わりではありません。
We see this in:
– The Wilderness
– The Exile
– The death of Christ

It’s not over until God says it’s over. This is the good news of the God of the Bible and this is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God can make new life from dead bones.
God can shine His light into the darkest corner.
He can make streams flow in the driest desert.
He can bring the deepest joy from the greatest despair.

God’s plans for the future trump our current circumstances. これから先の神のご計画は今の私たちの状況より勝っています。
This applies to us today. When we humble ourselves before God, all things are possible no matter where we find ourselves.

There is a better way.
Never go into the wilderness. Never go into exile. Never go into the dark corner. Never die to God in the first place.
For those who do, there is hope and joy in God’s restoration.
But that’s not the best way. To obey is better than sacrifice. To enjoy unbroken fellowship is better than to having to be redeemed.

Either way, God’s purposes for our lives can be realised and enjoyed. Yet our goal is to live faithfully and obediently, enjoying God’s blessings as we faithfully live out our lives.
私たちの目標は、神の祝福を楽しみながら忠実に生涯を過ごし、忠実に従順に生きることです。

Pray.