But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. — 2 Kings 10:31
One of my favorite stories about my grandfather, Alba Green, is how he came into the Apostolic Faith Church. Grandpa had been involved in a religious community in the State of Washington, and when that group disbanded, he began searching for a people who believed the whole Bible — a place where he could raise his family and be assured that they were being taught sound doctrine.
He heard about the Apostolic Faith work, and in 1921, he came to Portland to investigate. He sat in one meeting in the church at Front and Burnside, and afterward asked to speak to our founder, Florence Crawford. He told her, “There is enough power in this place to change the world!” He had found what he was looking for.
The next day, he contacted my grandmother and told her that the family would be moving to Portland. And that very day, he joined the laborers who were building the tabernacle on the church campground.
From then on, Grandpa was a wholehearted participant in the work of the Lord. For some years, he was employed by Southern Pacific Railway, but he devoted his after-hours time and Saturdays to whatever task was going on around the church, and made many out-of-town trips to assist in branch church projects. After his retirement, he went to work full-time for the church, and even lived on the church campground for the last years of his life so that he could be close by to take care of whatever needed to be done there. He raised his children to love and appreciate the Gospel, and four of them went into full-time Gospel work. The influence of his dedication impacted succeeding generations also. Today, many of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren have active roles in the Apostolic Faith organization. And their children are being brought up to love church and Sunday school as well!
Grandpa’s wholehearted commitment to the work of the Lord is a contrast to that of Jehu, the central figure of today’s text. Jehu knew of the true God; in fact, he was quite zealous in his destruction of Baalism. He burned the images of Baal throughout Israel, and destroyed the house of Baal. Sadly, however, Jehu was more of an instrument of the Lord than a servant. He was half-hearted in his commitment. In spite of his destruction of the evidences of Baal, he remained an idolater himself. While he gave lip service to God, he continued to permit the worship of golden calves.
Just as my grandfather’s wholehearted commitment to God influenced those who followed him, Jehu’s half-hearted response to God influenced those under his rule and the generations who followed him. We read that during his reign “the LORD began to cut Israel short” (verse 32) and his children in successive generations continued in his idolatrous practices.
Today, check your commitment to God. Are you serving Him wholeheartedly, and being fully obedient to His Word? Going halfway is not enough! Remember, the choices you make today could very well have an impact on those around you, and even on those who come after you, if the Lord tarries. Let’s purpose in our hearts to be completely dedicated to God.
Under the direction of Elisha, a young prophet had anointed Jehu to be the next king of Israel (2 Kings 9:1-10). Jehu took advantage of his new position to smite the house of Ahab, and systematically destroyed anyone who might be a political threat. This action had been predicted by the young prophet who anointed him (2 Kings 9:7-10). God knew that Jehu would kill and may have used that foreknowledge to accomplish His justice against the evil house of Ahab.
The tenth chapter of 2 Kings records three violent acts that were committed by Jehu. First, he slew the seventy sons of Ahab. These men were a significant political threat to Jehu for, as descendants of Ahab, they had a great interest in battling to keep the throne of Israel in the dynasty of Omri. Jehu piled the seventy chopped-off heads at the city gate, possibly in order to strike terror in the heart of anyone who might oppose his rise to power.
Second, while visiting Samaria, he ordered the deaths of forty-two innocent people who had not yet heard about the massacre of Ahab’s sons. (The prophet Hosea later foretold that Jehu’s dynasty would be punished for this senseless slaughter. See Hosea 1:4-5.)
Third, he engineered the destruction of all the priests of Baal using deception and the threat of death to anyone who did not carry out his execution orders (verses 20-28).
Although Jehu was a violent, ruthless man who was likely motivated primarily by his desire for political power, he tried to justify his actions by claiming that he was merely carrying out the work and words of the Lord (verses 10 and 16). However, Jehu’s hypocrisy is revealed in verses 29 and 31, for in spite of his apparent zeal to wipe out the worship of Baal, he allowed the Israelites to continue the worship of the golden calves in the cities of Bethel and Dan.
Some commentators view Jehu as a great patriot of Israel. He protested against Joram and the house of Ahab for the harm they did to Israel. He knew that to be strong, Israel must be cleansed of Baal worship. He likely recognized that Israel had to come back to the true God, but was unconcerned about how they did it. For Jehu, it seemingly was sufficient to worship God at the temple of the golden calves in Dan or Bethel. In addition, there may have been an element of political expediency involved. If Jehu had destroyed the golden calves, the people would have had to travel to the Southern Kingdom to worship God in Jerusalem.
The chapter closes with a summary of Jehu’s twenty-eight-year reign. While Jehu had the influence and the energy to truly turn the nation back to God, his half-commitment left that potential unfulfilled and pointed to a lack of any real relationship with God.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah
E. Jehu of Israel
3. The bloodshed by Jehu
d. The destruction of Ahab’s lineage (10:1-11)
e. The destruction of Ahaziah’s relatives (10:12-14)
f. The sparing of Jehonadab (10:15-17)
g. The eradication of Baal worship (10:18-28)
(1) The worshippers gathered (10:18-24)
(2) The worshippers annihilated (10:25-28)
4. The reign of Jehu summarized (10:29-36)
a. His success and failure (10:29-31)
b. The rise of Hazael of Syria (10:32-33)
c. The death of Jehu (10:34-36)
Because Jehu’s heart was not perfect toward the Lord, much of the land of Israel was lost during his reign, and his dynasty only lasted for four generations. The spiritual choices we make today could have a lasting impact on future generations!