2 Kings 8-10

Traditions and Old Wineskins


In our study today we read of the fulfillment of the instructions God gave Elijah back in 1 Kings 19:15-17. Elijah was to anoint Hazael king over Aram. He was also to anoint Jehu, king of Israel and Elisha as prophet to replace Elijah. Elijah did anoint Elisha but it would be years before Hazael and Jehu would be anointed kings over their respective nations. Elisha would be the one who did the anointing.

Jehu started out well it would seem and it looks like the ten tribes of Israel will finally have a good king after he eradicated Baal worship in Israel. Jehu, however, followed the practices of Jeroboam and kept the golden calves for the people to worship. Also, he did not live according to the Law of God as the kings were instructed in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

It is one thing to clean the house but if true change or repentance does not come, that which caused the mess in the first place remains and the mess eventually returns. Jeroboam set up the calves and the worship system because of his fear that the rebellion would eventually fail and Israel would want to reunite with Judah. The calves and the worship became a tradition. King after king followed the tradition and the tradition became stronger. There is no evidence that any of the kings of Israel followed the law found in Deuteronomy. The tradition became the law of the land by default.

God raised up Jehu and had him anointed as king. Jehu did bring about reform but because he ultimately followed the tradition that was in place he was like new wine that was poured in old wineskins. Matthew 9:14-19. When tradition overrules the law of God things begin to fall apart. God promised Jehu that four generations of his children would rule Israel but because Jehu did not follow God with a whole heart, God allows portions of Israel to be cut off by Aram and Assyria. The fourth generation of Jehu, Zechariah, only reigned  for six months before he was assassinated. Thirty years later the nation will be taken by Assyria.

The tradition Jeroboam started was strong but not strong enough to save the nation. The nation rejected God for their tradition and eventually God rejected them as a nation but did preserve a remnant of faithful followers.

The Pharisees did the same thing. They corrupted the Law of God with their traditions and the nation was taken from them in 70 AD by Rome. It is important that we have a working knowledge of the Word of God so we don’t let traditions take the place of God’s Word. Reading the Bible as we are with this plan and trying to complete it in a year may be difficult if we are not in the habit of reading the Bible. But the more we read it the more we will be hiding the Word of God in our heart and the more it becomes a part of our everyday life. I want to encourage you to keep reading.

I once heard a message titled, Are You Green and Growing or Ripe and Rotting?”

The nation of Israel was ripe and rotting. That which they had been given by God was being lost because they were not using what they had received. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will remind us of the things Jesus said. Since He is the Word, what He said includes the whole Bible. John 1:1-5&14

As we continue to read the Bible we are storing up the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can draw from what we have stored and bring to mind verses that apply to any given situation we may be facing. As we read the Word of God we will be growing in the Lord. If we follow traditions and ignore the Word of God we will be distancing ourselves from the Lord.

Be Green and Growing! Spend time in God’s Word and put it into practice.

Pastor Dave