The peril of refusing to obey God’s prophets.
The book of 2 kings details the steady downfall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Beginning with the ministries of two prophets, Elijah and Elisha, it traces the reigns of the kings of both nations, highlighting the price that each kingdom pays for failing to heed the message of God’s prophets. Because of sin and spiritual blindness, Israel is exiled to Assyria. Judah’s failure to learn from Israel’s example leads it down a similar path to exile in Babylon.
In 2 Kings the rebellion of the majority is contrasted with the faithfulness of a minority. We rejoice as a prophet’s widow finds provision when she follows God’s direction and closes her door to outside distractions (2 Ki 4:1-7). We’re delighted when a Shunamite woman bears a long-awaited child, and we grieve with her as the child’s death tests her faith(2 Ki 4:8-37). We revel in the bravery of a young slave girl who remembers the lessons of childhood and makes a recommendation to her sick master ( 2Ki 9:30-37) but gladdened when Jehosheba is able to save young Joash from certain death ( 2Ki 11:1-12).
As the fabric of morality slowly unravels in both Israel and Judah, the lines of right from wrong become blurred. The majority of their leaders show little regard for godly lifestyles. They become easy marks of idolatry, trusting that their status as God’s chosen will insulate them from destruction- if they care about God al all. As the people of 2 Kings learn, the negative effects of persistent sin intensify over time. Compromising God’s standards will result in moral and physical collapse. Obedience is the only sure path to blessing.