After cleansing the land of Ahab and Baal Jehu finally becomes king. He reigns for 28 years. He is ‘zealous for the Lord’ but not enough.
We walked with Jehu as he received the prophecy from God through the servant of Elisha. We watched as he struck down both the king of Israel and the king of Judah. We cringed (or at least I did) as he called for the heads of the 70 sons of Ahab. We stood by as he killed what remained of Ahab’s house, including his close friends. And we rejoiced as he cleansed the land of the worship of Baal.
Jehu says he is done with the hard work. The people join his commanders in proclaiming Jehu as the king of Israel. Who would oppose him?! He has the military behind him and also the hand of the Lord.
But Jehu wasn’t really done. Even though Jehu says himself that he is “zealous for the Lord” he fails to remove the last major sin from Israel; the golden calves Jeroboam set up. When Israel broke away from the house of David, Jeroboam gave them a ‘replacement’ god so that the people wouldn’t go running back to the One True God. Jeroboam said, “Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12:28). Jeroboam didn’t want the people reuniting the two halves and him losing out on power.
Jehu continued to use Jeroboam’s ‘gods’ with the people. I have a feeling it was for the same reason Jeroboam set them up; to ensure he had power. He may have justified it with the fact that God didn’t put turning away from them as part of His prophecy. But he knew the Law of God, or at least he should have. It has been more than his lifetime since splitting the kingdom. Is it possible that he doesn’t think of this as sin? If he had any doubt, I’m CERTAIN Elisha would have clarified things for him. He cannot be ignorant of this sin. I wonder if the people would even have considered returning to Jerusalem if Jehu turned from ALL the false gods.
Jehu’s relationship with God and his future showed both favor for a job well done and punishment for an incomplete turning. God told Jehu that he would be rewarded for how he carried out His charge with the house of Ahab. “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in My eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in My heart, your sons for the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel” (verse 30).
That is an amazing gift! No other king besides David had such a legacy. Israel’s other kings would go for a generation or two then be killed off and a new family takes its place. It is a revolving door for the throne. Survival of the fittest.
The punishment side of Jehu’s relationship is his losses in battle. King Hazel of Syria is systematically picking apart Israel. Everything on the east side of the Jordan fell to Hazel. I wonder how Jehu felt going into those battles. Did he ever consult with God about their success? Did he seek the Lord before engaging in battle? If he would have, would God have told him to finish cleaning up his act? Or was this a necessary for God’s plan to be fulfilled?
Father God, You know exactly what I need and when I need it. You know how to work out Your plans in my life and just what it will take to get me traveling the path YOUR way. Keep me searching for Your ways instead of making up my own or even thinking what I have is ‘close enough’ or ‘good enough’ instead. For me; don’t let me get so busy ‘doing things for or about You’ that I forget to ‘just be’ with You.