2 Kings 9-10, Galatians 1
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a ‘servant’ of Christ. – Galatians 1:10 ESV
God had prophesied that He would completely destroy the house of Ahab, the former king of Israel. He had sworn to not only kill Ahab himself, but to “cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel” (1 Kings 21:21 ESV). God was not going to leave a single descendant of Ahab alive. He was also going to bring judgment against Jezebel, the queen, for all her wickedness and her worship of Baal. Her life would end in a gruesome manner. “The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel” (1 Kings 21:24 ESV). But a lot of time had passed since these dire words had been spoken on God’s behalf, and Ahab’s descendants were all doing fine and well. His son, Joram, was reigning over Israel and continuing in the sins of his father. Joram’s mother, Jezebel, was still alive and well, worshiping her false gods and having a negative influence over her son and his kingdom. But God was not done. He would fulfill what He had promised. But He was going to do it through a man. God would appoint a human to accomplish His divine will. God could have easily eliminated Jezebel and all the descendants of Ahab on His own, but He chose to accomplish His will through the means of a man. He handpicked Jehu as His divine instrument of judgment, and Jehu would prove to be zealous in his efforts to eradicate every remnant of Ahab’s household from the face of the earth.
What does this passage reveal about God?
What God says He will do, He does. He may delay. He may appear to have forgotten. It may even seem as if He has changed His mind. But God always fulfills His prophecies and promises. For those who remain faithful to Him, like Elisha, it can sometimes be frustrating and confusing to watch from the sidelines and watch as His divine word goes unfulfilled. Elisha had to have wondered when God was going to do something about Ahab and Jezebel. He had to question whether God was going to ever fulfill His divine judgment against the house of Ahab. Baal worship continued to thrive in Israel. Jezebel continued to wield her evil influence and bask in her role as the queen mother. Joram, the son of Ahab, still ruled over Israel, continuing the sins of his father. But God was not done. He had not forgotten. He was well aware of what was going on and He had a plan for accomplishing His divine will. So when the timing was just right, God chose Jehu. He raised up just the right man for the task. Jehu was not a godly or righteous man. But he was zealous and he was thorough. He was a warrior who was not afraid to get his hands dirty, which was going to be important, because the job God had for him was going to be gruesome and grim. He was going to act as God’s hand of judgment against the house of Ahab, and so he was going to have to be thorough and unrelenting in his mission.
What does this passage reveal about man?
From the moment he was chosen by God, Jehu seemed to have taken his assignment seriously. He immediately assassinated Joram, king of Israel, and Ahaziah, the king of Judah. He then rounded up the 70 sons of Ahab and had them executed. But he wasn’t done. He then wiped out all the prophets of Baal and everyone who worshiped this false god with them. Finally, he destroyed the temple of Baal and turned it into a latrine. Jehu was thorough and complete in his efforts to carry out God’s judgment. He was just the right man for the task. But he was far from God’s man. The writer of the book of Kings tells us, “But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son Nebar, which he made Israel to sin – that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and Dan” (2 Kings 10:29 ESV). He destroyed all the remnants of Baal worship, but continued to bow down to the false gods that Jeroboam had made. Rather than worship the one true God in the right way, he worshiped a false representation of God in the wrong way. His was a counterfeit faith. Jeroboam had erected the golden calves in order to keep the people of Israel from returning to Jerusalem to worship God. He had made a counterfeit version to replace God’s divine plan for men to receive forgiveness for sins. He made his own gods, his own temples, and his own priesthood. “But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin” (2 Kings 10:31 ESV).
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
God can and does use men to accomplish His divine will. Sometimes those men are not always godly men. They are not always faithful men. God used Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, to bring about His divine judgment on Judah. He used the king of Assyria to bring judgment on Israel. God is able to use any and all men to accomplish His will and bring about His plan for mankind. But His desire would be that those who call themselves by His name, would follow Him faithfully and obey Him fully. Jehu had been appointed by God to bring judgment against the house of Ahab, and he performed his task admirably and completely. But God would have preferred that Jehu lead the people back to worship of Him as the one true God. Jehu’s decision to persist on worshiping Jeroboam’s false representations for God would lead to the eventual downfall of Israel.
In Paul’s day, there was a constant threat to the gospel of Jesus Christ. It involved those who wanted to add to the good news of Jesus Christ by requiring Gentile believers to convert to Judaism and keep the laws and rituals associated with it, including the rite of circumcision. Paul called this “a different gospel.” He saw it as a distortion of the truth and labeled it “a gospel contrary to the one we preached” (Galatians 1:8 ESV). He stood so opposed to this false gospel, that he wrote, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8 ESV). Paul viewed himself as an instrument in the hand of God, bringing His message of salvation and redemption through Christ to the people of his day. He was not preaching a man-made religion or some kind of human version of the truth. The gospel he preached had been given to him by divine revelation. He had received it directly from Jesus Christ Himself, and he was going to faithfully communicate that truth to everyone he met. Just as the Israelites had received the word of God on Mount Sinai, Paul had received a personal revelation from God. But unlike the Israelites, Paul was unwilling to alter that word one iota. Paul had been set apart by God. He had been called by God’s grace. God had been pleased to reveal His Son to him. So Paul, like Jehu, took his divine appointment seriously and he accomplished it faithfully. Both were used by God. But the difference between these two men is stark. Paul remained true to His God and refused to accept any false version of the truth. He would not tolerate “a different gospel” or a variation of the truth. He was a defender of the gospel and a proclaimer of the word of God. He took His role seriously and accomplished it faithfully – refusing to fear men or seek their approval.
Father, I want to be an instrument in Your divine hands, faithfully accomplishing Your will and carrying out Your plan. I want to be used by You. But like Paul, I want to proclaim Your truth, not some man-made variation of it. I want to be faithful to Your calling on my life. Unlike Jehu, I don’t want to do Your will partially or incompletely. I don’t want to try and please men or worry about what they think of me. Rather, I want to be a faithful servant of Yours, carrying out whatever task you have for me . Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men