The testimony of Scripture concerning the sons of Jehu, king of Israel, who reigned in Israel after him, was they they did evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and they did not depart from them. Jeroboam the son of Nebat made two golden calves (not just one), set one in Bethel and one in Dan, and proclaimed them the god which had brought Israel out of Egypt and into the land of promise. Moreover, he banished the Levites and made priests of anyone to offer sacrifices to these idols, and he banished the LORD’s feast days and made new feast days that he just came up with out of his own heart. As he was king at the time, he caused Israel to sin, it says (over and over again). He led Israel into sin that they might not have ordinarily committed.
So because of the evil that the sons of Jehu did, the anger of the LORD was aroused against Israel and they were oppressed by the king of Syria. But then listen to what is recorded three separate times in our reading today:
So Jehoahaz pleaded with the LORD, and the LORD listened to him; for He saw the oppression of Israel, because the king of Syria oppressed them. Then the LORD gave Israel a deliverer, so that they escaped from under the hand of the Syrians; and the children of Israel dwelt in their tents as before. Nevertheless they did not depart from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who had made Israel to sin, but walked in them; and the wooden image also remained in Samaria. 2 Kin 13:4-6
This is pure unadulterated undeserved mercy and grace, poured out onto Israel because the LORD is gracious and merciful who forgives sin and iniquity. Israel did not deserve deliverance! They remained in their idolatry! But, God delivered them anyway!
And Hazael king of Syria oppressed Israel all the days of Jehoahaz. But the LORD was gracious to them, and had compassion on them, and regarded them, because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not yet destroy them or cast them from His presence. 2 Kin 13:22-23
Where is this vengeful, wrathful, judgmental, angry God of the Old Testament that I keep hearing about? The testimony of the Old Testament as well as the New, is that YHVH Elohiym is gracious and compassionate, longsuffering, and kind to the unthankful and evil (Luk 6:35)!
And he [Jeroboam II] did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel to sin. … 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 Kin 14:24, 26-27
The gracious and merciful LORD, longsuffering who forgives iniquity and sin, provided a deliverer, a helper, and a savior for Israel, when they did not deserve deliverance, help, or salvation. The history of Israel prophesies of the gospel of the kingdom and the ministry of Messiah Yeshua, who delivered, helped, and saved us while we were yet sinners, and enemies toward the LORD our God (Rom 5:6-11)!