The saga of the kings of Israel and Judah continues its’ sad account of the age old truth: before you and I, God has placed both blessing and cursing, life and death, therefore we should choose life. Yet too often the kings like us, chose death not life.
Jehoshaphat now dead previously appointed his first born son to rule, but he did so wickedly. He killed all his siblings and many of Israel’s rulers (Vv.1-4), yet God because of His covenant with Davids’ house, did not destroy Jehoram, even though he did evil in the sight of the LORD by causing Israel to play the harlot.
However, God will not be mocked (Vv.14-20) for He promised calamity by His own hand to come upon Jehoram even through a letter delivered by the prophet Elijah came to pass:
14 behold, the Lord is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives and all your possessions with a great calamity; 15 and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day.’”
16 Then the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians; 17 and they came against Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions found in the king’s house together with his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.
18 So after all this the Lord smote him in his bowels with an incurable sickness. 19 Now it came about in the course of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels came out because of his sickness and he died in great pain. And his people made no fire for him like the fire for his fathers. 20 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one’s regret, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
To trifle with God’s people and His authority is no small matter. Rulers forget that they are not ultimate, but God who raises them up is. What God promised to the king came to pass and what He promises to us will also. Obey Him and blessing will follow, disobey Him and cursing is assured.