Today we continue the story of Jehu, who was anointed king of Israel and then assassinated the Ahazia, King of Israel and Joram, king of Judah in obedience to The Lord. He then watched as Jezebel’s eunuchs threw her out of a window and let dogs eat her from the street. But he was not finished. God had told him, “And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord. For the whole house of Ahab shall perish, and I will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah. And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the territory of Jezreel, and none shall bury her.” (2 Kings 9:7-10).
Jehu was passionate about this mission from God. He cleverly and zealously pursued his calling. It was no small undertaking. Verses 1-3 read,
“Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria, to the rulers of the city, to the elders, and to the guardians of the sons of Ahab, saying, 2 “Now then, as soon as this letter comes to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, fortified cities also, and weapons, 3 select the best and fittest of your master's sons and set him on his father's throne and fight for your master's house.”
What Jehu told the guardians was basically, ‘I’m coming to make war on you and kill all of you, and you better hope some of those kids can be your king in battle.’ Verses 4-5 record their reply.
“But they were exceedingly afraid and said, “Behold, the two kings could not stand before him. How then can we stand?” 5 So he who was over the palace, and he who was over the city, together with the elders and the guardians, sent to Jehu, saying, “We are your servants, and we will do all that you tell us. We will not make anyone king. Do whatever is good in your eyes.”
God made sure that everyone had heard about Ahazia and Joram’s deaths. They were so filled with fear simply by his reputation that they eagerly surrendered their charges and submitted to Jehu as their king. Verses 6-8 continue the account.
“Then he wrote to them a second letter, saying, “If you are on my side, and if you are ready to obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and come to me at Jezreel tomorrow at this time.” Now the king's sons, seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who were bringing them up. 7 And as soon as the letter came to them, they took the king's sons and slaughtered them, seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets and sent them to him at Jezreel. 8 When the messenger came and told him, “They have brought the heads of the king's sons,” he said, “Lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning.”
Jehu had only to lift a pen to continue his mission for God. He had obeyed and the Lord had grown his reputation. Now he could look at every person and show them what God had done. Verses 9-11 read,
“Then in the morning, when he went out, he stood and said to all the people, “You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who struck down all these? 10 Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what he said by his servant Elijah.” 11 So Jehu struck down all who remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, all his great men and his close friends and his priests, until he left him none remaining.”
But the task was not yet done, there was more. Jehu was dogged in his fervor for this one command form God. He was not going to leave any part of it undone. And the more he continued the greater his reputation grew and the more he was cemented as Israel’s king. Verses 12-14 read,
“Then he set out and went to Samaria. On the way, when he was at Beth-eked of the Shepherds, 13 Jehu met the relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah, and he said, “Who are you?” And they answered, “We are the relatives of Ahaziah, and we came down to visit the royal princes and the sons of the queen mother.” 14 He said, “Take them alive.” And they took them alive and slaughtered them at the pit of Beth-eked, forty-two persons, and he spared none of them.”
The people Jehu met were not blood related to Ahab, they were relatives of Ahazia. When Jehu asked them who they were they could have identified themselves as servants King Jehu, Israelites and children of God, or any number of ways. But they identified themselves as relatives of Ahazia. Because they declared themselves that way, it showed they refused to submit to Jehu as king. Their pride made them Ahabites, even when their blood did not. They took Ahazia’s name and he had taken Ahab’s name. They chose their allegiance and they chose their destiny.
Jehu then met someone else on the road. Verses 15-17 say,
“And when he departed from there, he met Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him. And he greeted him and said to him, “Is your heart true to my heart as mine is to yours?” And Jehonadab answered, “It is.” Jehu said, “If it is, give me your hand.” So he gave him his hand. And Jehu took him up with him into the chariot. 16 And he said, “Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord.” So he had him ride in his chariot. 17 And when he came to Samaria, he struck down all who remained to Ahab in Samaria, till he had wiped them out, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke to Elijah.”
Jehonadab declared his loyalty to Jehu and so he was allowed to go with Jehu and see what he did. There was no one in Ahab’s line left, but there were still worshippers and prophets of Baal. Jehu’s vehemence for this one command was not over yet. Verses 18-27 describe Jehu’s cunning plot to destroy everything to do with Baal in Israel.
“Then Jehu assembled all the people and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, but Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now therefore call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshipers and all his priests. Let none be missing, for I have a great sacrifice to offer to Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu did it with cunning in order to destroy the worshipers of Baal. 20 And Jehu ordered, “Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. 21 And Jehu sent throughout all Israel, and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. And they entered the house of Baal, and the house of Baal was filled from one end to the other. 22 He said to him who was in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out the vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out the vestments for them. 23 Then Jehu went into the house of Baal with Jehonadab the son of Rechab, and he said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search, and see that there is no servant of the Lord here among you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” 24 Then they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.
Now Jehu had stationed eighty men outside and said, “The man who allows any of those whom I give into your hands to escape shall forfeit his life.” 25 So as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Jehu said to the guard and to the officers, “Go in and strike them down; let not a man escape.” So when they put them to the sword, the guard and the officers cast them out and went into the inner room of the house of Baal, 26 and they brought out the pillar that was in the house of Baal and burned it. 27 And they demolished the pillar of Baal, and demolished the house of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day.”
Jehu’s great sacrifice was every worshipper, prophet of Baal, the temple, and the pillar. He turned the idol’s worship and place of worship into a toilet. Now he had carried out his command from The Lord and he could settle onto Israel’s throne. Verses 28-36 read,
“Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. 30 And the Lord said to Jehu, “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 of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 31 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.”
“In those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel. Hazael defeated them throughout the territory of Israel: 33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the Valley of the Arnon, that is, Gilead and Bashan. 34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 35 So Jehu slept with his fathers, and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his place.36 The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.”
Jehu was passionate for one command God had given him. He was passionate against two groups of people Ahab’s line and Baal worshippers. He was not passionate for all of God’s Word. He chose which commands he would obey and which he would disregard. He let the false religion that Jeroboam had set up to untruly worship God stand. God honored Jehu’s partial obedience partially. His sons would reign for four generations, not seven, not one thousand, just four. God began to cut off parts of Israel and prepare them for Judgement because of Jehu’s partial worship of God.
Jehu was passionate against Ahab, not passionate for God. Don’t we sometimes do that too? We pick one or two commands that suit us and we are all about it. We wear the banner of anti-something instead of the banner of Christ. We picket against this group or that because of their blatant hate for God, but we do not remember how deeply God loves them. We pretend we hate the sin as much as God does, but we don’t love the ‘sinner’ in spirit or in truth. Picketing, slandering, and spurning are not definitions of love. Love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, this is a description of Jesus, and how we are to be as bearers of His image. It is not warm feelings or words it is action.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Like Jehu, God gave us a mission too. Matthew 28:18-20 records it.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus gave us two commandments which He said were the crux of all the commandments of Scripture. Matthew 22:37-40 reads,
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Our mission involves teaching people to observe all Jesus commanded us to do. He commanded us to love God with our entire beings and so love people and care about them the way we care about ourselves. He then made it profoundly simple by telling us how to do that. John 13:34-35 says,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Believer, be zealous for God, all of Him. Be passionate for His whole Word and all His people. Do that by love. Love is active and tangible. Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Choosing one part of His word or character and disregarding the rest is making a false religion and that is called idolatry.