Posted by: arieliondotcom | May 25, 2013

The Anointing of Acceptance (2 Kings 9)

The Anointing of Acceptance
(2 Kings 9)

It’s always amazing to me when people say how boring the Bible is. So many writers, knowingly or unknowingly, take their ideas from the Bible’s true life events and make popular books and movies from them.

I can’t recommend a violent movie like The Godfather even though the Bible does have a lot of violence. But, hey, for me the movie The Godfather is a home movie. Marlon Brando even resembles my father.

I say all that because this chapter has a lot of the elements of The Godfather and you may recognize them if you’ve seen the movie.

First, let’s set the scene. The people of Israel are one big, happy family of 12 tribes when they arrive in the Promised Land. But then most of the tribes break away from Judah, the tribe of David that is faithful to GOD. In Godfather terms, they are now rival families, with Judah being faithful to GOD and the other tribes worshipping idols. The King of Judah, however, keeps associating with the king of the remaining tribes (collectively called Israel) which practice idolatry. And ultimately, Judah has an evil king too because of this.

As we join our story, GOD is bringing judgment on all the tribes. He still calls them, all 12 tribes, His people, His family. He refuses to wipe them all out. But he is going to whack…I mean kill…the ringleaders of rebellion against Him.

Joram is the King of Israel (most of the rebellious tribes). Hazael is King of Syria (the common enemy). Ahaziah is the King of Judah, the tribe that has been faithful to GOD but is now becoming idolatrous, too. GOD is going to use Jehu, the commander of the King of Israel, to kill Joram the wicked King of Israel and Ahaziah, the wicked King of Judah. (Like the closing scenes of The Godfather where so many “hits” occur. Only these are done righteously, on the battlefield, and under orders from GOD.)

GOD, like the Godfather in the movie, is also getting payback for old wrongs. Joram the King of Israel will be killed. And the way he is killed will show that he is not only being killed for his own idol worship but as punishment for his father and mother, Ahab and Jezebel, murdering a poor man, Naboth, to get his family garden because he wouldn’t sell his inheritance to them.

That is the background. Now let’s see the rest of the story.

The prophet Elisha sends one of his apprentice prophets to deliver a message to Jehu, commander of the armies of Israel, and to anoint him with oil as King of Israel in place of King Joram.

The prophet must be quick about it, though. He must hurry there, anoint Jehu and get gone before anyone captures him. He runs up to the group of commanders and calls Jehu aside.

Now why should Jehu listen to this man? Remember, Jehu is in a country of idol worshippers. Because this man was known, by the way he dressed and probably by being seen with Elisha and the other prophets, as a prophet. This prophet who is going to anoint Jehu has the anointing of believability. He has a reputation of being able to speak for GOD. Credibility. And so Jehu accepts not only the invitation to talk to him alone, but his prophecy.

The small bottle of oil Elisha gives his apprentice prophet to anoint Jehu is also significant. It should remind us of the miracle Elisha did for the widow whose sons were going to be sold into slavery because she had no money to pay her debts. Elisha had been used by GOD to make the tiny bit of oil she had in the house increase as much as she could handle and for the money from the sale of all that oil to sustain her and her sons for life. The widow was blessed to the degree she accepted she would be.

Now, although Jehu and his friends joke about prophets being crazy, they accept what he says as Truth from GOD. But that could come only because the prophet had accepted Elisha’s orders as being from GOD.

All of these people are acting at the risk of their lives. Elisha and his fellow prophet could have been killed as traitors by Jehu and Jehu and his men could be killed as traitors by Joram. But because they all accept the mission from GOD to kill Joram, they’re all in.

Joram is recovering in Jezreel from a battle with the Syrians and Ahaziah the King of Judah is visiting. This friendship is the thing that got Judah in trouble and why Ahaziah, King of Judah, will die too.

Jehu rides down towards the King of Israel’s camp with the commanders of the Israelite army riding behind him. He is going to kill his own king.

When Joram is told Jehu is approaching, driving his chariot like a wildman in his trademark style, Joram assumes Jehu has news about the Syrians he was supposed to be protecting Joram from. So he sends a message asking whether Jehu is bringing news of war or peace with the Syrians. But when the messenger reaches Jehu and asks the question he’s told to join Jehu’s troops or die.

When Joram is told by the guard watching all this from the watchtower Joram sends another messenger. And the same thing happens! Now curiosity gets the best of him and he goes to see for himself. Ahaziah the evil king of Judah takes his chariot and follows Joram’s chariot to meet Jehu. And the spot where they meet him ” just happens to be” the very spot where Ahab had killed Naboth for his garden years before.

Joram asks Jehu whether he has news of peace or war, meaning with the Syrians, but Jehu says there can be no peace because Joram’s mother, Jezebel, is an idol-worshipping whore!

Imagine the terror that froze Joram’s heart! He catches on that Jehu’s going to kill him, pulls his chariots around and yells to his best friend forever in idol worship, Ahaziah, King of Judah, that it’s a trap. But it’s too late. Jehu sends an arrow through Joram’s heart and he dies. Just as Ahab had died. And Jehu has his body thrown on the land where Naboth was murdered and Ahab’s blood was poured. Ahaziah the King of Judah tries to outrace Jehu’s men, but he’s shot, too.

While he’s in Jezreel, Jehu pays Jezebel a visit. She has already heard he is in town and also that her son, King Joram, is dead. As others are anointed for acceptance, she is in denial. She should be in mourning and repentance for her idolatry, making the people follow her into it, for murdering Naboth, and for murdering the prophets of GOD. Instead she puts on make-up and decorates her hair to try to seduce Jehu. Some say her eye make-up was also part of decorating her eyelids with magic symbols to give her powers over Jehu.

But when Jehu comes he ignores her insults that he is no better than a rebellious servant for killing Joram. He doesn’t look at or speak to her. He treats her just the way Elijah had said he wouldn’t look at or speak to her husband Ahab because of his sins and only acknowledged him because Jehoshaphat of Judah was with him and was still obedient to the LORD in those days.

Jehu calls Jezebel’s servants to throw her down through the window and they do, splattering her all over the ground as the horses trampled her. He goes in to clean up, rest and eat and tells his his people to bury what’s left of Jezebel since she had been a queen, after all. But the servants find only parts of her skull palms and feet in fulfillment of prophecy. Jewish scholars say even the dogs wouldn’t eat those parts of Jezebel she had marked with idolatrous symbols.

These things happened because those who acted in accordance with the mission they were given accepted that mission was from GOD. And others accepted their word because of their credibility.

What about us? Are we credible witnesses for JESUS Christ? When we say “Thus says the LORD”, will others believe us because they’ve seen a relationship with Christ in us?

I can’t say whether Mario Puzo realized he was copying a lot of 2 Kings 9, though with different motives, in The Godfather. But when the Godfather says he’s going to make an offer we can’t refuse he forgets that we can refuse to accept GOD’s love. We may not even feel the effects for years. But we can’t refuse Christ’s offer of the anointing of acceptance and Love and live. And that makes all the difference. If we refuse to accept GOD’s offer of acceptance we become refuse like the worthless remains of Jezebel.

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