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2 Kings 9:16, 21b22; 10:1519, 3032comment (0)

February 3, 2011

By Jay T. Robertson

Related Scripture: 2 Kings 9:16, 21b22; 10:1519, 3032

Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

2 Kings 9:16, 21b–22; 10:15–19, 30–32

What’s the Basis for Your Passion? (9:16, 21b–22)

The conspiracy to overthrow King Joram of Israel was about to begin. Joram had been in Ramoth Gilead, a border town, defending it against the Syrians. Since he was wounded, Joram went to Jezreel to recover, thus leaving Jehu at Ramoth Gilead. Jehu swore the men in Ramoth Gilead to secrecy and then drove his chariot toward Jezreel without stating exactly what he intended to do. After learning of Jehu’s approach, with a contingency of soldiers, Joram and King Ahaziah of Judah went out to meet him. By God’s providence, the two kings met Jehu at the plot of land King Ahab had seized by having Naboth murdered. Joram’s question, “Is it peace, Jehu?,” suggests that he suspected a coup attempt was taking place. Jehu responded that there could not be peace as long as the prostitution and witchcraft of Joram’s mother, Jezebel, continued. Prostitution (“whorings”) refers to worshiping foreign gods, and witchcraft (“sorceries”) refers to false cults with power ascribed to evil arts. Jehu then assassinated the two kings, and later he had Jezebel killed at her house in Jezreel (9:24–33). Jehu acted passionately in obeying what God had commanded him to do. We must remember, however, that nowhere in the New Testament are Christ’s followers given the license to harm others in the Lord’s name as Jehu was in his day. Not every story in the Bible was written for us to imitate. We exist to spread a passion for God’s glory by making disciples of all nations.

How Do You Stay Accountable? (10:15–17)
As Jehu made his way from Beth Eked, he met Jehonadab, Rechab’s (also Recab) son. The founder of a strict religious group, he apparently saw in Jehu a kindred spirit. His support would give Jehu credibility among more conservative elements in Israel. The two declared their mutual commitment. Jehu then invited Jehonadab to join him in his chariot and see firsthand his zeal for the Lord. Upon entering the city of Samaria, Jehu killed all who were left in Ahab’s family. Jehonadab, more of an ally than an accountability partner, shared a mutual zeal. Christ followers must stay accountable to others to live passionately for Christ. We are wise to have brothers and sisters hold us accountable so that we live in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Do Right Ends Justify Wrong Means? (10:18–19)
An act of deception completed Jehu’s rise to power. Under the pretense of being a greater follower of Baal than Ahab, Jehu summoned all the Baal worshipers, prophets and priests to a special worship gathering in his honor. At the appointed time, Jehu had the Baal followers killed. Jehu took a passionate stand for the Lord in completely removing an ungodly pagan cult from Israel. Do right ends justify wrong means? Are Christ followers permitted to use any means necessary to expose and resist ungodly practices that have become deeply rooted in their culture? As Jesus’ followers, we must guard against pursuing a God-honoring goal if it means employing ungodly actions to achieve it.

When Does Passion Fall Short? (10:30–32)
Sadly Jehu’s legacy was characterized by a selective spiritual passion. Despite his attacks against Baalism, Jehu did not lead the nation back to the true worship of God. He allowed the worship instituted by Jeroboam to continue. In effect, he expelled the foreign religion (Baalism) in favor of the long-standing Israelite state religion begun by Jeroboam. Jehu acted as the instrument of punishment against Omri’s corrupt dynasty but did not operate out of Elijah-like motives. Rather he was like Syria, Assyria and Babylon, an instrument that punished but exhibited few personal moral strengths. Passion for God in one area of life can never justify unfaithfulness in another area. We are to love God with all of our heart. Christ followers are to glorify God in all they do. Partial obedience is actually disobedience. 

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