Ahab’s Family Killed, Athaliah and Joash / Paul on Trial before Felix: July 5th 2021

2 Kings 10:1-11:21

Jehu challenged the guardians of Ahab’s seventy sons. They could either fight him for the throne of Israel or obey him by beheading them all. The heads of the princes were put into baskets and sent to Jehu in Jezreel.

Jehu exterminated everyone in Jezreel and Samaria who had been associated with Ahab (2 Kings 10:11).

Next, Jehu turned his attention to the prophets serving the Canaanite deities. He pretended that he would offer a great sacrifice to Baal in order to assemble all the ministers together. They were then slaughtered. Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel.

The Lord praised Jehu for destroying the house of Ahab and promised to let his descendants sit on the throne to the fourth generation. However, Jehu did not fully turn away from the sins of Jeroboam. He did not stop the worship of Jeroboam’s two golden calves (2 Kings 10:29).

The territory held by Israel continued to shrink. The Arameans, under Hazael, captured their land east of the Jordan including Gilead.

Jehu was succeeded by his son Jehoahaz.

Meanwhile in Judah, after King Ahaziah had been killed by Jehu, his mother Athaliah proceeded to kill the rest of the royal family. One of Ahaziah’ infant sons, Joash, was hidden at the temple for six years while his psychopathic grandmother ruled.

When Joash was seven, Jehoiada the priest revealed the king’s young son to the army and made a covenant with them at the temple. They guarded the king’s son while Jehoiada anointed him king. Athaliah heard the noise in the temple and protested at their ‘treason’ but she was chased and executed (outside of the temple).

Jehoiada made a new covenant between the Lord, the young king and the people (2 Kings 11:17). The temple of Baal was torn down and the priest of Baal was killed. All the people of the land rejoiced. There was finally hope for the future. This shows that it only takes one person, supported by God – in this case the priest Jehoiada – to catalyse a dramatic change to an entire country.

Acts 24:1-27

The high priest Ananias went to Caesarea with elders and a lawyer, Tertullus, to press charges against Paul.

Tertullus started by praising and flattering Governor Felix. He then falsely accused Paul of trying to desecrate the temple and stirring up riots all over the world.

Paul was glad to make his defence to Felix. He admitted he had gone to the temple to worship twelve days ago. He did not argue with anyone at the temple or stir up a crowd. He stated that he worshipped the God of the Jewish fathers and believed everything that agrees with the law, written in the prophets (Acts 24:14).

Paul said he believed in the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked and so agreed with the men who were accusing him. Paul appeared to be a model citizen who strived to always keep his conscience clear before God and men.

Felix was too weak to make a judgement and kept Paul under loose guard, while still allowing him to see his friends. Felix was married to Drusilla (a Jew) and they both listened to Paul, learning about Jesus, righteousness, self-control and future judgement.

Paul did not manage to convert Felix. Felix was both fascinated and frightened by what he heard. He conversed frequently with Paul over the next two years until he was succeeded by Porcius Festus. Felix switched from unbelief to fear (rather than believing and gaining eternal life). Amorth recounts this can happen when an atheist is taken to a house infested by demons. A Christian might imagine that when an atheist is confronted with the truth of spiritual warfare in a building where the taps run with blood and objects fly through the air, they might gain some faith. Unfortunately, atheists placed in such situations do not always start to believe in the supernatural world and Jesus in particular. They just become terrified atheists, who are no help to anyone.

The weak and crooked Governor Felix keep Paul languishing for two years as a favour to the Jews. He expected Paul to try to bribe his way to freedom but that isn’t the Christian way. Paul knew that Jesus was sending him to Rome, he just didn’t know when. Paul demonstrated character and endurance. He showed that patience is indeed a virtue.

Psalm 80:8-19

Israel is often described as ‘the vine’. God brought Israel out from Egypt (Ps.80:8).

God broke down the walls of Israel so it could be plundered by its neighbours. This was due to the Israelites’ disobedience, rebellion and idolatry.

God raised up David – a man after his own heart – and eventually, Jesus (Ps.80:17).

God revived the Gentiles with the Good News of the Gospel and he did it again in the 20th Century by pouring out the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit on faithful people of all denominations.

We turn to Jesus and call on his name.

Through the preaching of the apostles. God’s face shines on people to the ends of the earth, so that we all may be saved (Ps.80:19).

Image: https://www.freebibleimages.org/illustrations/paul-felix/

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