7-15 The Tool of Judgment
In 7-15 we are looking at the first tool of judgment – Hazael the future king of Syria. I’ve heard people say that God can only use saved ones as his tool, apparently that could not be more wrong. This is where Elijah’s prediction begins. Elisha is the instrument God uses to carry this call. He meets Hazael and says directly to him…
NIV 13 “…The LORD has shown me that you will become king of Aram,”
From this little passage we find the depths of two different types of people that describe the capacity of the human condition – and apparently both can be used as tools of Judgment.
The Capacity for Compassion
The human heart a tremendous capacity for compassion. I can’t imagine how difficult this must have been for Elisha. To know what was going to happen and not being able to stop it must have been excruciating. What kept Elisha from raising a knife and plunging it into the heart of this soon to be sadistic human? Amazingly, Elisha would only do one thing.
NIV 11 He [Elisha] stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the man of God began to weep.
He just stood there and stared at this monster. And suddenly overwhelmed Elisha wept. What else do you do in this situation? The amount of compassion Elisha has while knowing the future of what would happen was astounding. He spent his life trying to win people, maybe even a few at a time, to repent and come back to God. You look at the Haitians and your heart is moved in compassion toward these poor folks. Only the hardest of hearts could not feel for the suffering.
The Capacity for Callousness
On the other hand the human heart has a tremendous capacity for callousness. Hazael brings about a brutality that few times this world has known. He is of a sociopathic killer!
13 Hazael said, “How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?”
It’s difficult to determine the attitude Hazael from the way this passage reads. The way some of the translations read it’s as if he’s shocked and stunned that Elisha would say such a thing about a man as lowly as he is. The Hebrew word carries the idea of contemptible or abase. We read that the very day, after he delivers Elisha’s message, Hazael in there and assassinates the king.
15 But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king’s face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.
He kills a man he knew would live if left alone. His sociopathic behavior will go on for so long. We also want to look consider that God has an end to Hazael also. Amos 1:3-4 tells us…
NIV Amos 1:3 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she threshed Gilead [Israel east of the Jordon] with sledges having iron teeth, 4 I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.
Now, before we question God about how he could leave the fate of Israel into the hands of a sociopathic killer, let’s look at Part 4.
J. Robert Hanson