2 Kings 10:18-31 (Part 2) – Fashioning Christianity Into What Works For Us

Posted: July 10, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 10:18-31 (Part 2 of 2)

Jehu Kills the Priests of Baal

As a Christ follower, when you look back on your life before salvation in Jesus Christ, you look back with shame and wonderment at how you lived your life in those days. I know for myself, prior to my salvation in December 2001, I sit back and go “wow” at how I looked at my lifestyle. I actually thought I was a Christ follower when I really wasn’t.

Growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid, I knew all about the general arc of the Bible. I knew about the general themes and theology of God’s Word. I grew up in it. I knew all the biblical heroes and their stories. I knew about Jesus and what He represented and that He died on the cross for my sins. I knew all the basics. But I did not know Jesus as my Savior. Living in a parsonage as the son of a Methodist pastor does not guarantee salvation. I did not come to know Jesus as my Savior until I was well into adulthood – at age 39.

In my adult years, I thought I was saved. I thought I was a Christ follower. All of those thoughts came from my history, my legacy of being a preacher’s kid. But I really wasn’t. I really had fashioned my own beliefs that suited how I wanted to live my life. I saw Jesus as this anti-establishment rebel that went up against the Jewish religious elite and the Roman Empire to try to straighten them out and paid for it with his life. That was a pretty cool idea to me. Jesus as a rebel. Jesus as the anti-establishment hero. Jesus as the great philosopher who had a better way of living and achieving a higher plain of living. He was an anti-establishment hippie type that stood against the tide of common convention and pointed us to a better way of living. That was my Jesus prior to my salvation. I did not buy into the fact that He and the Father were of one and the same essence – that Jesus was God in the flesh.

I also believed that God just wanted me to be happy. Thus, God and I had deals about the things that were stated in the Bible to be sins that I enjoyed doing. For all the things that I had been through in my adult life in personal life, God and I had deals about some of my excesses, my sins that I practiced regularly and did not want to give up. I negotiated with God about these things. And I rationalized my sins away as being OK. I rationalized my sins away as (1) God just wanted me to be happy and (2) it was compensation for what I had been through in my personal life. It is amazing how, as people who have not been convicted before the Holy Throne of God about their sins, we will rationalize our sins away as being OK. We will rationalize away our sins away as today being a new day and totally different from the days of the Bible. We will rationalize away our sins as being OK because we like them so much and that God may have His rules but they don’t apply to us. We rationalize away our sins as being OK because even though God may have his rules, He just ultimately, really wants us to be happy and self-actualized. How could something that makes me happy be wrong in God’s eyes? Me and God…we gotta a deal on that. He just wants me to be happy.

That was my religion. That was “my Christianity” before I was saved. It was not until the Holy Spirit convicted me of all my unworthiness before a loving but also just God that I really saw Jesus as necessary to blot out my sins. It was not until then that I saw that I was deal-making with God but had no real cards to play like I thought I did. I stood ugly and sin stained and I saw it for the first time in December 2001. It was at that time that I saw my sins for the condemning and damning things that they are. I saw that I truly deserved to be sentenced to hell. I saw it and I saw Jesus, the Son of God, who really did die on the cross for my sins as the way out of the sentence I truly deserved. Isn’t wild how we are so blind until we finally listen to the Holy Spirit?

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read 2 Kings 10:18-31 in preparation for this second blog on the passage at hand. I thought of how Jehu fashioned his own belief system that worked for him – because it was what suited his life (his political ambitions). He probably really thought he was on the right path. It sounded good. It looked good. But ultimately, he was continuing to bastardize God’s Word and God’s command to fashion out what was advantageous for him. He created his own belief system that made him feel like what he was doing was OK. Sound familiar? It does to me. It was me. Let’s read the passage now:

18 Then Jehu called a meeting of all the people of the city and said to them, “Ahab’s worship of Baal was nothing compared to the way I will worship him! 19 Therefore, summon all the prophets and worshipers of Baal, and call together all his priests. See to it that every one of them comes, for I am going to offer a great sacrifice to Baal. Anyone who fails to come will be put to death.” But Jehu’s cunning plan was to destroy all the worshipers of Baal.

20 Then Jehu ordered, “Prepare a solemn assembly to worship Baal!” So they did. 21 He sent messengers throughout all Israel summoning those who worshiped Baal. They all came—not a single one remained behind—and they filled the temple of Baal from one end to the other. 22 And Jehu instructed the keeper of the wardrobe, “Be sure that every worshiper of Baal wears one of these robes.” So robes were given to them.

23 Then Jehu went into the temple of Baal with Jehonadab son of Recab. Jehu said to the worshipers of Baal, “Make sure no one who worships the Lord is here—only those who worship Baal.” 24 So they were all inside the temple to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had stationed eighty of his men outside the building and had warned them, “If you let anyone escape, you will pay for it with your own life.”

25 As soon as Jehu had finished sacrificing the burnt offering, he commanded his guards and officers, “Go in and kill all of them. Don’t let a single one escape!” So they killed them all with their swords, and the guards and officers dragged their bodies outside.[a] Then Jehu’s men went into the innermost fortress[b] of the temple of Baal. 26 They dragged out the sacred pillar[c] used in the worship of Baal and burned it. 27 They smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet, as it remains to this day.

28 In this way, Jehu destroyed every trace of Baal worship from Israel. 29 He did not, however, destroy the gold calves at Bethel and Dan, with which Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to sin.

30 Nonetheless the Lord said to Jehu, “You have done well in following my instructions to destroy the family of Ahab. Therefore, your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.” 31 But Jehu did not obey the Law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit.

In this passage, when we at it for today’s blog, we must ask the question, why did Jehu destroy the idols of Baal but not the gold calves in Bethel and Dan? When we analyze it, Jehu’s motives may have been more political than spiritual. First, if Jehu had destroyed the gold calves, his people, the people of the northern kingdom (Israel), would have traveled to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom (Judah) and worshipped there (which is why the first breakaway king of the northern kingdom, Jeroboam had set them up in the first place – see 1 Kings 12:25-33). Second, Baal worship was associated with the dynasty and lineage of Ahab so it was politically advantageous to him to destroy all vestiges of Ahab including his religion. The gold calves on the other hand had a longer history in the northern kingdom and were valued by all political factions. Finally, Baal worship was anti-God but the gold calves were thought by the people to be visible representations of God himself (even though God clearly states in Exodus 20:3-6 that such worship of images was idolatrous).

Jehu did much of what the Lord told him to do but he did not obey him with all his heart. He had become God’s instrument for carrying out justice, but he had not become God’s servant. As a result, he gave only lip service to God while permitting the worship of the gold calves. Check the condition of your heart toward God. We can be very active in our work for God and still not give Him the heartfelt obedience that He desires from us.

Often, we create our own belief systems because they are advantageous to us – so that we can continue doing what we want to do. However, that does not change God’s Word. That does not change God’s view. What He has called sin in His Word will always be sin – forever. We cannot negotiate that away. We can say that God just wants us to be happy so, as a result, God and me have a deal on this sin or that sin. But we are just deluding ourselves. We have no cards to play. We are sinners before God. We are habitual sin criminals and we cannot negotiate sins away in His court room. What was sin at the beginning of time is still sin now and will continue to be sin forever into eternity.

Lord, please help us to see our sins for what they are and how God’s Word is timeless and unchanging. Help us to see that we cannot negotiate our sins away before God. Help us to see our sins in their true light and repent of them, turn away from them, and become more and more like Jesus as we mature in Christ. Help us to be humbled by our penchant for sinning. Help to be humbled by our constant need for Jesus Christ. Help us to see that we have no negotiating power with God other than the grace offered to us through Jesus Christ and through our own repentance for sins. Please Lord allow us to listen to the Holy Spirit as He identifies the sins in our lives and not ignore them, rationalize them, try to keep them. Please allow us to listen to the Holy Spirit as He calls us to repentance for each sin that we have buried in rationalization.

Amen and Amen.

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