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2015 2 Kings Lesson 5

2 Kings 9:1-10:36
Key Verse: 10:30

2015 2 Kings Lesson 5

THE LORD JUDGES IDOLATRY THROUGH JEHU

2 Kings 9:1-10:36

Key Verse: 10:30

“The Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.’”

Today's passage tells how the Lord judged Ahab's house through Jehu, a king of Israel. It was a judgment against Baal worship. To carry out this judgment, Jehu killed many people. To human eyes he looked like a murderer. But the Bible says he has done well in accomplishing what is right in the eyes of the Lord. The word of the Lord, through the prophet Elijah, was fulfilled through Jehu. Jehu had zeal for the Lord and completed his mission. Let’s lean from Jehu how to fulfill the mission of God successfully.

First, Jehu was anointed as king of Israel (9:1-13).

The prophet Elisha summoned a young prophet and sent him to Ramoth Gilead to anoint Jehu as king of Israel. Elisha said to the young prophet, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take this flask of olive oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. Take the flask and pour the oil on Jehu’s head and declare, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!” (9:1,3) The young prophet accepted the mission. He anointed Jehu as king and delivered the message of the Lord. Look at verses 6-10. “Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu’s head and declared, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the Lord’s people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’”

We have learned how wicked Ahab and Jezebel were from the study of 1 Kings. Under Jezebel's wicked influence, Ahab instituted Baal worship in Northern Israel and killed many of the Lord's prophets. At that time, God did not seem to do anything. Elijah complained to the Lord, saying, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." (1 Ki 19:14) Prophet Habakkuk had similar complaint to the Lord when he saw the injustice and wrongdoing, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Habakkuk 1:2-4,13) For a while God does not seem to do anything against such injustice and wrongdoing. However, the Lord will surely judge them in his time. The time had come for the Lord to bring judgment against Ahab's house for all the sins he and Jezebel had committed. The judgment would be complete. The Lord chose Jehu as his instrument of judgment. As we will see, he was cold and thorough. He was the right person to fulfill God's will in this matter.

Second, Jehu's zeal for the Lord (9:14-10:36).

In this part we see how Jehu completed his mission to destroy the house of Ahab and Baal worshipers. First, he killed Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah (9:14-29). Then he had Jezebel killed (9:30-37). Next, he destroyed Ahab's entire family (10:1-17). And finally, he destroyed all the ministers of Baal (10:20-28).

In 9:14-29 Jehu Killed Joram and Ahaziah. Jehu and his troops went to Jezreel in order to kill Joram. Jehu was in a hurry and drove like a madman. Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. Jehu remembered the word of the Lord's judgment against Ahab for the murder of Naboth. He quoted Elijah, saying, "'I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground,' declares the Lord." (26) Joram died on the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth. Elijah's prophecy was fulfilled exactly. Ahaziah king of Judah was also killed by Jehu (27).

Then Jehu entered Jezreel, where Jezebel was. When she heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. (30) She tried to look intimidating as a queen mother. Jehu called out, "Who is on my side? Who?" Two or three eunuchs trembled and then they threw Jezebel down to the ground. She died and her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot. Some hungry dogs came along. They just ate her flesh until only her skull, hands and feet remained. This fulfilled the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah: "On the plot of ground at Jezreel, dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh." Jezebel had been the origin of all evil in the house of Ahab. She brought Baal worship to Israel. She killed the Lord's prophets. She led her husband and children to do evil. She was a source of the evil in Israel.

In 10:1-17 Jehu killed the sons of Ahab living in Samaria. Ahab had 70 sons. Jehu sent letters to the officials of Samaria. They had been raising Ahab's children in their own homes. Jehu challenged them to fight him in battle. But they were fearful and had no loyalty to Ahab. They were willing to do anything Jehu asked. So he asked them to kill the seventy sons of Ahab, and to send their heads to him in Jezreel. They did so. Through this event Jehu taught them that the word of the Lord was fulfilled. Loot at verses 9-11. “The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, ‘You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these? Know, then, that not a word the Lord has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The Lord has done what he announced through his servant Elijah.’ So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.”

On his way to Samaria, Jehu met met Jehonadab son of Recab. Jehonadab hated Baal worship and pagan culture. He was a strictly legalistic person. At his direction, his descendants did not drink wine for 300 years. (Jer 35:1-10) He had the same spirit as Jehu. He was glad to see Jehu destroy the house of Ahab. So he came out to welcome him. Jehonadab was not a prophet, priest, or Levite. But he lived a holy life in a dark time. Realizing his genuine heart for the Lord, Jehu welcomed him to work together with him. We need to work together with others to promote pure and holy living in dark times. Jehu was encouraged that there was someone who could appreciate his ministry. He said to Jehonadab, "Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord." (16) Then he destroyed all who were left of Ahabs' family in Samaria according to the Lord's word through Elijah.

Here we can see the secret of Jehu's success in carrying out his mission. It was zeal for the Lord. If Jehu had a weak mind or a humanistic way of thinking, he would have failed. But he had great zeal for the Lord. This enabled him to accomplish the difficult task. Zeal is enthusiastic devotion. Everyone has zeal of some kind. Some people have great zeal to gain recognition. Some have zeal for their children. But Jehu had zeal for the Lord. He wanted to do right in God's sight. So he carried out his mission diligently and thoroughly. God used those who have zeal for him, including Elijah, Elisha and St. Paul. Paul said in Romans 12:11, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." We must have zeal for the Lord. What kind of zeal do you have? Many are crazy for making money. Many young people are crazy for pleasure, including alcohol, drugs and all kinds of games. That is not zeal for the Lord. We need holy zeal for the Lord. Let's repent and ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with zeal for the Lord!

In verses 10:18-28 servants of Baal were killed. At that time, Baal worship was a national religion. Many prophets of Baal were working throughout the land. It was difficult to find and kill them all. But Jehu conceived a clever plan. He pretended that he would serve Baal even more than Ahab did. He publicly announced that he would hold a great sacrifice to Baal. He asked his people to summon all the prophets of Baal, all his ministers and all his priests. If anyone was missing, he would die. Then all the ministers of Baal came. He gave them robes in order to distinguish them from others. Also he made sure that there were no servants of the Lord among them. Then he killed all of the ministers of Baal with no one escaping. He removed the sacred stone from the temple of Baal and burned it. He turned Baal's temple into a latrine. In this way all the Baal worshipers were killed. Baal worship was completely purged from Israel.

Verses 29-36 are the Lord's evaluation and other general comments about Jehu's reign. Look at verse 30. “The Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.’” This is the only record of God's praise to any of the kings of northern Israel. Humanly speaking, Jehu was bloody, merciless, and cruel like a madman. Also, he was a conspirator and traitor and murderer. But the Lord said, “You have done well.” It was because he carried out the Lord's judgment completely. Jehu did what the Lord had in mind thoroughly. So God rewarded him by giving his descendants the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.

Third, the Lord wants us to be Jehu’s and fight a spiritual battle in our time.

In this passage, the Lord's words of judgment against Ahab and Jezebel are repeated many times. (9:7-10,26,36-37; 10:10,17) These prophetic judgments seemed to be wishful thinking when they were issued. However, they were fulfilled exactly as the Lord had said. None of God's words dropped to the ground. God's word is trustworthy. We cannot ignore God's word. The words of God will be fulfilled without fail.

We learn God's character in this passage. God is holy. God called his people to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. He called them to love him with all their hearts and to worship him only. When they began to worship idols, God's holy anger burned and he decided to bring judgment upon them to root out the idolatry from their nation and from their hearts. God used Jehu to cut out the cancer of Baal worship and to restore the spiritual vitality of his nation. In every generation the Lord is looking for people like Jehu to destroy the idol worship. God wants us to become Jehu’s who have zeal for the Lord and fight a spiritual battle against the idol worship.

God, who is holy, hates sin. God's punishes sin with absolute justice even though it requires bloodshed. Our God is so loving and gracious. He is forgiving. He forgives all our sins when we repent. However our Lord is God of judgement. He must punish the evil and the sinful. This was revealed in the cross of Jesus. God punished his one and only Son, to the full measure, for our sins. Jesus had a crown of thorns pressed into his head. Jesus was flogged without mercy until his blood flowed. Jesus was pierced in his hands and feet with nails and hung on a cross. This is the punishment that we deserve. Jesus cried out, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani," which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus suffered the pain and misery of hell because of our sins. God deals with man's sins very seriously. We must know the consequences of our sin and the holiness of God. Many people emphasise God’s love. Indeed God is love. God loves sinners. God loves sinners so much that he sacrificed his own Son for us. However, God is holy. He cannot overlook sin of any kind. He must punish the evil and the sinful. Finally the Lord has punished all the sin of the world on the cross of Jesus.

We have also learned something about carrying out God's mission from Jehu's zeal for the Lord. This zeal made him courageous, diligent and thorough. It is good to learn this from him. However, Jehu makes a great contrast with the prophet Elisha. Jehu did not give life. He did not shepherd anyone. On the other hand, when Elisha prayed to God, a woman's dead son came back to life. Elisha carried out his ministry with a life-giving spirit and a great shepherd's heart, like Jesus. God gives us Christians the mission of sharing the gospel of life with the people of our times (Ro 1:5). God will judge the sins of our people and of each of us personally. However, God does not call us to destroy other people, but to love and serve others with the mind of Jesus. Jehu's zeal can make us effective and successful. But more than that, we need to have the love of God in our hearts. Then we can carry out our mission of preaching the gospel. Let's ask the Lord to give us his zeal and his love so that we may preach of the gospel of Jesus Christ and complete our mission.

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