READ : 2 Kings 14:23-29
God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. (Rom. 2:4)
There was a Joash in the north as well as the one in the south, and this is his son—the last of the five northern kings that will figure in our readings. He is the only one in either kingdom who regularly gets a number after his name, usually in Roman numerals: Jeroboam II. In many ways he was indeed a second Jeroboam, both as able and as godless as his namesake two centuries earlier.
His long reign is given short shrift in 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles ignores it altogether. But notice what the Scripture does say about him: “he did what was evil,” yet “restored the border of Israel” until it was almost as big (and as powerful, and as prosperous) as it had been in Solomon’s time. He was both bad and successful.
I feel a six-point sermon coming on! How come Jeroboam’s prosperity? Not because he deserved it; the best of us cannot deserve God’s blessing. But God was showing undeserved patience with a bad man, and he still felt pity for an undeserving nation on its way to destruction. He looked for penitence in Jeroboam—again, as he looks for it even in the best of us. Instead he found presumption: good things come my way, so I must be in good standing with God. What foolishness. In the end neither king nor kingdom would escape punishment. Take your pick of the P’s to meditate on today.
Remind us, Lord, that your kindness is not necessarily meant as a pat on the back.