2 Kings 9:1-13 – Justice Is A Part of a Father’s Love

Posted: July 1, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 9:1-13

Jehu Anointed King of Israel

Growing up with my dad (who passed away 8 months ago now), as I have told you before here, he was not a “harshness only” dad but he was a strict dad. I knew my dad loved me with all his heart but he had rules for behavior in our household. As I have also said before here, his boundaries for my and my brother’s behavior were not flexible, were not etched in sand, but rather in dried cement. When we crossed those boundaries, there were consequences, always…consequences. There was no negotiation. We already knew the rules and yet we went ahead and broke one or more of them. Done deal. Punishment of some sort was to come. When we were young ones, whippings would happen. As we grew into pre-teens and especially as teenagers, it would be the withdrawals of freedoms or the taking away of privileges. Regardless of the form of punishment, it was always sure and certain to follow when misbehavior occurred.

I was not necessarily a big fan of my dad’s defined boundaries and his justice for having transgressed his rules. I did not care for his rules at all. As a teenager, I actually hated all his seemingly petty rules. I hated his unwavering-ness. I wanted to negotiate away his rules. I wanted to minimize my transgressions against his rules. I always tried to justify why my actions were actually not violations of his rules by using convoluted logic. I would also try to justify my behavior by saying that my friends’ fathers allowed them to do this or that. I would get angry at him. Why would my dad who so-called loved me punish me for violating his “house rules”? If he loved me, he would not do this, right? He really just wants to me mess with me, right? He really doesn’t love me, right? If he loved me, he would let me do what I want, right?

At that time, I could not understand that dad’s justice was part of his love for me. I just wanted to be free to do as I pleased. However, part of loving your children is to teach them about the world works. There are consequences for bad behavior. He wanted to teach us to be responsible and productive citizens of the world who didn’t bounce around at the wind because we were spoiled brats as adults. He wanted us to be operate in the world and be productive and consistent and create a good life for ourselves. He wanted us to be self-sufficient. What more can a parent desire for their kids before we die? To know that your children will be OK and make it without us after we are dead and gone, regardless of the age at which we as parents die. For these reasons, he had justice as part of his love for us growing up. Now as an adult and having raised my own kids, I understand that.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read this passage about the plan for justice against the descendants of Ahab and Jezebel. My dad had justice for me and my brother. God, similarly, loves us but justice is also part of his love. Let’s read 2 Kings 9:1-13 now with that in mind:

Chapter 9

1 Meanwhile, Elisha the prophet had summoned a member of the group of prophets. “Get ready to travel,”[a] he told him, “and take this flask of olive oil with you. Go to Ramoth-gilead, 2 and find Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi. Call him into a private room away from his friends, 3 and pour the oil over his head. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you to be the king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run for your life!”

4 So the young prophet did as he was told and went to Ramoth-gilead. 5 When he arrived there, he found Jehu sitting around with the other army officers. “I have a message for you, Commander,” he said.

“For which one of us?” Jehu asked.

“For you, Commander,” he replied.

6 So Jehu left the others and went into the house. Then the young prophet poured the oil over Jehu’s head and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anoint you king over the Lord’s people, Israel. 7 You are to destroy the family of Ahab, your master. In this way, I will avenge the murder of my prophets and all the Lord’s servants who were killed by Jezebel. 8 The entire family of Ahab must be wiped out. I will destroy every one of his male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. 9 I will destroy the family of Ahab as I destroyed the families of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 Dogs will eat Ahab’s wife Jezebel at the plot of land in Jezreel, and no one will bury her.” Then the young prophet opened the door and ran.

11 Jehu went back to his fellow officers, and one of them asked him, “What did that madman want? Is everything all right?”

“You know how a man like that babbles on,” Jehu replied.

12 “You’re hiding something,” they said. “Tell us.”

So Jehu told them, “He said to me, ‘This is what the Lord says: I have anointed you to be king over Israel.’”

13 Then they quickly spread out their cloaks on the bare steps and blew the ram’s horn, shouting, “Jehu is king!”

In this passage, we must remember that Elijah had prophesied that many would be killed when Jehu became king (1 Kings 19:16-17). Thus, Elisha advised the young prophet to get out of the area as soon as the prophesy was delivered – before the slaughter began. Jehu’s action seems harsh as he hunts down and kills relatives and friends of Ahab (see 2 Chronicles 22:8-9). However, unchecked idol worship of Baal was destroying the nation. If Israel was to survive, the followers of Baal had to be eliminated. Jehu fulfilled that need for God’s justice.

When you read this passage, it reminded me of growing with my dad’s expectations of behavior from my brother and me. He had his boundaries. Not because he wanted to restrict us or hold us back but rather because he knew that certain behaviors were ultimately destructive for me and my brother. The justice was there to prevent us from destroying ourselves. Sometimes, he would give us warnings but with repeated violations came ultimate justice.

That’s what I see here in this passage. God had given the Israelites plenty of warnings about their idol worship. They continued to sin. They continued to rationalize away why it was OK for them even though God had said it was against His will for His children. They continued to go against God. They continue to practice behaviors that God had clearly stated were against His will. They seemed to think that it was no longer an expectation of God or they just no longer cared that God had said these things were against His will.

That’s the thing that we examine of ourselves as individuals, groups, and as a nation today. That’s the takeaway from this passage. God not only is a God of love – the part of God that we like – but He is also a God of justice. Justice is part of an earthly father’s love for his kids. It is the same with God. He gives us His Word as our guide, as our warnings against that which is destructive for us. Eventually, there will be justice. Eventually there will be correction. We must then repent and return unto Him.

Amen and Amen.

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