1 Kings 16:12
"Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke against Baasha by Jehu the prophet."

"According to the word of the LORD" is a recurring statement in both books of the Kings. The expression denotes that a previous declaration of the LORD is now fulfilled. Here in chapter 16, the statement is used twice. The phrase reminds us of the reason for the destruction of Baasha's entire family. In the third verse of this chapter, the LORD, through Jehu, told Baasha "I will utterly sweep away Baasha and his house." We don't know precisely the amount of time between Jehu's prophecy and the destruction of Baasha's family, but his son, Elah, ruled only two years before God used Zimri to fulfill His promise.

The second use of "according to the word of the LORD" is found in verse 34. The statement concerning Jericho almost seems to be an "Oh, by the way," since it has nothing to do with the kings of Israel or Judah. Hiel of Bethel, who is only mentioned here in Scripture, rebuilt Jericho at the cost of two sons. The deaths of the sons are attributed to "the word of the LORD," spoken through Joshua. In Joshua 6:26, after the fall of Jericho, Joshua said, "'Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set the gates.'"

A long time, compared to the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning Baasha, passed before this "according to the word of the LORD" was fulfilled. From the first days when Joshua led Israel into the promised land, through all the prophets and several kings of both Judah and Israel, the LORD waited and watched to do as He had spoken. Obviously, this verse was not an "Oh, by the way," it is included to remind us God does not forget His promises, no matter how long it takes.

It reminds me of a story about a farmer and a preacher. There was a rural church which met in a building surrounded on three sides by farmland. The farmer, who owned the land, did not endorse the fourth commandment. Being somewhat of an antagonist, he regularly worked the field adjacent to the church on Sunday morning during the worship service. The preacher reminded the farmer of God's command to keep the Sabbath holy and suggested the farmer visit the church the following Sunday. The farmer replied, "No, I work seven days a week during the season, that is why I am successful." The pastor explained the farmer's success was because of God's graciousness. The farmer responded with a challenge. If at the end of harvest, he reaped a poor crop he would consider not working on Sunday and maybe attend church. However, if his harvest was abundant, he would continue as he always had. That year the farmer had a bumper crop. Needless to say, he flaunted that fact to the preacher by saying "I told you it was my efforts, not God's blessing. If you had been correct, I wouldn't have had such a great year." The preacher replied, "You need to remember, God does not settle all His accounts in November."

Sovereign LORD, thank You for the constant reminder of Your faithfulness. What You promise always happens, even if it seems to take a long time for us. You are not bound by time—to You, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. Father, You have put eternity into our heart, yet we live confined by the measurement of time. Holy Spirit, please strengthen our sight to look beyond today as we wait expectantly for the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.