“…Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. He did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin. He restored the border of Israel from the entrance of Hamath as far as the Sea of Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah…For the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, which was very bitter; for there was neither bond nor free, nor was there any helper for Israel. The Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven, but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.” 2 Kings 14:23-27, NASB.
What an amazing passage this is! We have a tendency to make neat little boxes for our theology. I must say, this accounting doesn’t fit neatly into anyone’s box!
Israel (northern kingdom) forsook authentic worship. Their kings were (by in large) idolaters and in their best days worshipped idols alongside the One, True, God. The kings led the people to engage in idolatry and to embrace unfaithfulness in their response to God. God, as always, had every right to destroy these evil people. They knew the truth and had forsaken it to embrace idol worship. Yet, God did not desire to blot them out; rather, He desired to redeem them to Himself. Notice also, He was the “God of Israel” even though they did evil in His sight (vv.25, 24). [What an amazing Grace-laden description of an idolatrous people!]
Jeroboam son of Joash rises up and continues the trend of idol worship (which would be the politically expedient decision by the way). God uses this EVIL KING to rebuild the fortifying wall on the border…in essence giving success in this endeavor to the evil king and providing protection for His “God-forsaking” people. How could God bless an evil king and a people who spurned God’s grace for generations? Why not “zap” them? While I cannot answer for this with absolute clarity, I can relish in the grace of God shown toward this evil people…as I see myself and my people in their image.
Our perfection is not the basis of God’s motivation of grace. He is gracious because He is gracious. We benefit from that even when we spurn His Name and rebel against His principle and purpose. We are, by nature, God haters…and He loves us. He is not desperate, like the nerdy kid who cannot get a date. He is the Prom King and chooses to embrace us even though we are the dirtiest, nastiest, most repulsive prospects before Him…simply because He is gracious.
Notice finally, He can and does use evil men to accomplish His purpose according to His plan. SHould we allege that God is foolish, unrighteous, or unjust? Heavens NO! Rather we should bow low before Him and acknowledge that there is hope for us, for our nation, and for our nation’s leaders…regardless of their political orientation of faith position…not because God respects them or their “party” but because He has a Sovereign purpose and it will not be thwarted.
Praise God who is far greater than we can even express or ever imagine!