Today: [2 Kings Chapter Three]: Fill this Valley with Ditches. In this chapter the armies of Judah, Israel and Edom are gathered together against Moab. They blunder in their strategy and find themselves in a seven day journey into the desert and a perishing with thirst. They call upon Elisha the prophet who traveled with them and are told to fill the valley with ditches for God will supply water and give them a great victory. In Elisha’s prophecy there were expectations placed upon them by God. This is true of ourselves today. When we inquire of the Lord we are to look for the assignment of heaven that once complied with on our part anticipates the victory God has promised.
[2Ki 3:1-27 KJV] 1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. 2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. 4 And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. 5 But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel. 7 And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I [am] as thou [art], my people as thy people, [and] my horses as thy horses. 8 And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom. 9 So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. 10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
In this chapter we continue the narrative of the kings of the Northern Tribes. Ahab is dead and his son Ahaziah reigns in his stead for less than two years and dies after falling from the balcony of his palace. His brother Jehoram takes his place and while an idolater he did not follow completely in the evil of his father and his brother. Perhaps he saw the untimely death of his father and brother and reformed his thinking in hopes of avoiding a similar fate. During Ahab’s reign Moab revolted and God gave Ahab a resounding victory defeating an army of over 100,000 Moabites with a much smaller force. Moab had been under tribute since the time of king David and now after Ahab’s death they revolt again. Jehoram calls once again upon Jehosaphat and also the king of Edom to join with him to bring the Moabites back into subjection. Upon gathering the three kings with their armies they pass through the wilderness of Edom for seven days and find themselves without water for their troops or their animals. Jehoram sees this as God’s doing and accuses God of turning them over to the Moabites. This is typical of men’s thinking today regarding calamity. Something negative and unexpected happens in their lives and their first question (even if they don’t believe in God) is “why God”. The fact of the matter is that this isn’t God’s doing at all. The three kings foolishly chose inappropriate timing in the dry season to go to battle and put themselves seven days deep into the wilderness. It was no surprise they are in trouble because of their rash action – but here the king of the Northern Tribes chooses to be oblivious to his own blunder and blames it on God.
11 But Jehoshaphat said, [Is there] not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here [is] Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah. 12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. 13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab. 14 And Elisha said, [As] the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. 15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 16 And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. 18 And this is [but] a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. 19 And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. 20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.
Jehoram of the Northern Tribes is complaining that God has turned against them but Jehosaphat as he has done once before makes request for a prophet of God to be consulted. Remember they are a several days journey into the wilderness where there are no settlements and far from the home territories of the Northern or Southern kingdoms. Elijah is in their midst because apparently he was traveling with the armies. He is in the same valley enduring the same rigors and lack of water as the rest of the men and animals. What a powerful thing it would be if our prophets were embedded with our troops as Elishah was apparently embedded with the armies of Judah, Edom and Israel.
When Elishah stands before these three kings he repudiates Jehoram insisting that he call on the prophets of his father and his mother Jezebel. Jehoram in a twisted sense of logic replies that the problem is God’s fault and not the Baal’s fault therefore Elisha must solve the problem. In all his calamity he still clings to his idolatrous ways. Even though the king of Edom is a pagan and Jehoram is an idol worshipper Elisha for Jehosaphat’s sake seeks the Lord in their behalf. It is interesting that he calls for a minstrel in order to hear from God and even more interesting that seven days deep into a desert wilderness this army was furnished with minstrels for the purpose of making music.
After the minstrel plays the hand of the Lord comes upon Elisha and he prophesies. Remember that under the Old Covenant the Spirit of God rested on men such as Elisha but did not live in them. The presence of God was in Judea over the mercy seat in the temple in Jerusalem. This is different today that we not only have God moving by His Spirit UPON us we also have the Spirit of God living IN us. This is a very different dynamic that we lose sight of often when we read the Old Testament.
The word of the Lord comes to Elisha and though they are in the desert perishing with thirst he commands that the valley be filled with ditches in preparation for being filled with water. Now remember they have been marching without water for over seven days and they must now fill the valley with ditches – very laborious and backbreaking work. If that was not enough he goes a step further and declares yes there will be a victory over the Moabites but these three kings must consent to the Lord to go a step further and destroy every town, cut down every tree and stop every well in the land of Moab. To a parches and perishing army in the middle of the desert who expect to die of thirst and being taken captive by the enemy this was not welcome news or easy to hear. This is one aspect of the prophetic that is sorely neglected. What if these three kings refused to obey Elisha? Nothing would have happened. All prophecy is conditional and provision. There are always conditions either explicit or implied in every word from God. What you have to do is discern what those expectations are and fulfill them. The kings wanted Elisha to solve their problem but instead he gave them an assignment. We must always remember that God is not just savior He is Lord and will assert His Lordship over our lives even at the most inopportune times.
21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border. 22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side [as] red as blood: 23 And they said, This [is] blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. 24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in [their] country. 25 And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about [it], and smote it. 26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through [even] unto the king of Edom: but they could not. 27 Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him [for] a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to [their own] land.
After the ditches are dug the water did not come until the following morning. That meant for a thirsting army with a bellowing company of livestock and horses crying all night they had to wait. Many times we get a prophetic word and if it doesn’t come to pass we complain no doubt like this army of ditch diggers complained. They dug the ditches and complied to the best of their ability. How come God isn’t coming through? Where is the water? They knew that on the morrow that the Moabites would be coming after them. It looked like Elisha had missed it and they were all going to die either of thirst or at the hands of the enemy. We must learn to obey God and wait upon His deliverance. Jesus spoke of this very thing in a parable:
[Mar 4:26-29 KJV] 26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; 27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. 28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. 29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
This speaks of God’s process. We always want instant answers that require nothing of us but that is not how God works. We must cooperate with His process if we want to see His outcome. 1 Thess. 5:7 says despise not prophesying. If we regard prophesy as merely a recitation of what God will do for us then we are despising the word of the Lord. Prophesy is about assignment and expectation. What you do with your prophetic word is much more important than what you think about what God has said. What you do with what God has said is much more powerful than what you are waiting upon God to do or say.
The water comes in the morning and as the Moabites are looking down it looks like there is water indeed but from their perspective it is full of blood. They assume the armies have turned against each other and immediately attack to finish them off. This puts them at a disadvantage before Judah, Israel and Edom and they are consequently destroyed. In the aftermath of the battle the three armies in a rare show of obedience do exactly what Elisha commanded them to do in destroying the land of Moab according to the word of the Lord.
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