He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher. For the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter; and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel. And 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 14:25-27)
These verses tell us about the reign of Jeroboam, king of Israel. 2 Kings 14:24 tells us that “he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Yet, we can see three surprising things through what God did in the days of Jeroboam.
First, we see a surprising prophet: According to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet. This is almost certainly the same Jonah who was famous for his missionary trip to Nineveh. Apparently, he also had a ministry among his own people, not only in Nineveh as recorded in the book of Jonah. It’s good to remember that God did much more through these ancient prophets than we commonly think.
Second, we see the faithfulness of God: the LORD did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel. Even though Israel had been unfaithful to God many times, He would not stop being faithful to them. He worked through even an ungodly man like Jeroboam to rescue them when there was no helper for Israel.
Finally, we see the surprising mercy of God: He restored the territory of Israel…for the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter. Out of great mercy, God showed kindness to a disobedient Israel ruled by an evil king. This merciful restoration came in many ways. Israel regained lost territory, and they also enjoyed a great season of prosperity.
This is confirmed by archaeology. Digs of ancient Israelite cities show how in Jeroboam’s reign they built bigger houses with more luxuries. When Israel deserved destruction and deprivation, God gave surprising mercy through the wicked king Jeroboam. But the book of Amos shows that Israel did not handle this prosperity well, and the wickedness they showed under the prosperity of Jeroboam II actually built up more judgment against them.
Friends, God has shown us great mercy – surprising mercy – in Jesus Christ. He has forgiven our sins and restored us to relationship with Him, because of what Jesus did on the cross. God has restored territory taken from you by the world, the flesh, and the devil and God has prospered you in many ways.
How will you respond to His surprising mercy? Please remember to submit to God and honor Him when He shows great mercy to you.