Posted by: arieliondotcom | May 28, 2013

Almost Clean (2 Kings 10)

Almost Clean
(2 Kings 10)

There is a story of a church in a dictatorship country being suddenly taken over by soldiers during a service. The soldiers say that worship is forbidden and the Christians are going to die. If anyone is not a follower of Jesus Christ they may live but must leave immediately. Many do. When they are gone, the soldiers reveal that they are really Christians. They just wanted to see who the true Believers were. That kind of test of loyalty is what we see in today’s chapter.

Jehu is obeying the prophecy made by Elisha that he is to be king of Israel. But to do that GOD tells Jehu he must kill not only the current king of Israel, which he did in chapter 9, but every descendant of Ahab, the king’s father, and every worshipper of the idol Baal.

So Jehu starts cleaning house. First, he puts out a challenge. He sends letters throughout the country to all of those who are protecting the 70 sons of Ahab. He tells them “Put up or shut up.” and to choose sides. If they think they’re strong enough to claim the throne, get ready to prove it because he is coming to kill the sons of Ahab. Or if they want to be loyal to Jehu as their new king, chop off the heads of Ahabs sons and send the heads to Jehu.

This is a “no brainer”, no pun intended. They know Jehu just killed both their king and his, Ahab’s son Joram, as well as the King of Judah, the tribe they’d been broken off from for generations! So they chop off the heads of Ahab’s 70 sons and deliver them to Jehu.

Jehu continues the purge and kills everyone who has any loyalty to Ahab’s sons at all. Even if they are just a friend. Anyone who might try to get revenge.

Next, he wiped out the relatives of the King of Judah. He had killed the King of Judah in the last chapter for becoming an idol worshiper like the King of Israel, Joram, and like his idol worshipping mother Bathsheba. When these people say they are friends of the idol worshippers they are admitting to being idol worshippers themselves. So Jehu kills all 42 of them.

Jehu next meets Jehonadab, who is a god-fearing man and asks if he is loyal to the LORD and to Jehu as Jehu is to him. Jehonadab answers that he is and Jehu pulls him up into his chariot as a partner in his next adventure: cleaning the land of Baal worshippers.

Jehu and Jehonadab go to the great temple of Baal and Jehu pretends he wants to celebrate being king by having the greatest worship service ever to the idol Baal. He orders that every Baal worshipper must come or die. Every Baal worshipper comes and they fill the great temple. Jehu also tells the Baal worshippers in the temple of Baal to check and make sure there are no believers in the GOD of Israel there and that everyone is a true worshipper of Baal, dressed in the ritual robes of Baal that he provides.

(This should be reminding you of the Book of Judges when Samson killed a temple full of idol worshippers by pulling the temple down on them.)

In this case, though, Jehu surrounds the temple of Baal with soldiers loyal to him and to the LORD and says that the soldier who allows a Baal worshipper to escape will die in their place.

When their sacrifice to their idol is complete, Jehu shows how powerless their idol is by having his soldiers wipe out every one of them. The idol worshippers had made an inner secret room in their temple like the Temple of GOD in Jerusalem had the Holy of Holies. But in this idol’s temple instead of the Ark of the Covenant and Cherubim there was an idol, a pillar. Jehu had the pillar destroyed, the temple to Baal destroyed, and turned it into a public toilet instead.

GOD commends Jehu on wiping out the descendants of Ahab and the worshippers of Baal. As a reward, Jehu’s descendants will remain on the throne of Israel for four generations to match the number of generations of Ahab.

But here’s the sad part of the story. Jehu had been careful to wipe out every single descendant of Ahab. Like Israelites searching the house during a Passover meal, he’d made sure there was no trace of Baal worship. But he did not wipe out all idol worship. He allowed the golden calves that had been set up by a previous king to stand. The kings allowed this rather than having the people return to Jerusalem to worship there so the people of Israel wouldn’t return to Judah and the kings would lose their kingdom.

You can see how confused this would make the people. To them, killing all the descendants of Ahab only meant Jehu wanted no rivals to his throne. It no longer pointed them away from idols and back to the true GOD as intended. And since Jehu allowed other idols besides Baal and besides the LORD to be worshipped it only meant he didn’t like Baal but there were plenty of gods to worship, It didn’t point them to the One, True GOD as intended.

GOD kept his promise and kept Jehu on the throne. But as punishment to Jehu for allowing idol worship to continue, GOD had the property of Israel slowly nibbled away at by Hazael, King of Syria. Ironically, the meaning of Hazael (One Who Sees GOD) is very similar to the name of the King of Judah Jehu had just killed, Ahaziah the (GOD Rules). So it’s as if the victory he seemed to win wasn’t really a victory, just as the glory GOD was supposed to receive by having worship of other gods wiped out was never fully realized.

We may think we are living good lives. We may think we’re wearing ourselves out in ministry and that must mean we’re okay with GOD. But the holiest human on earth still sins and that sin, no matter how small is enough to keep us from GOD. It may be such a habit we don’t even think of it as sin. It’s “just how I am.” Or we may not even remember it. But it will still keep us from GOD.

The Apostle Paul will say hundreds of years after Jehu that if we do the greatest sacrifices humanly possible but aren’t motivated by Love, we are nothing. Not just that our good works are worthless. (Isaiah says that.). But that we are nothing.

John will say that GOD is Love. The only way we can act out of GOD’s Love is to have GOD living in and through us. And that is only possible through new Life in JESUS.

Jehu was almost clean. He almost cleaned the land of idol worshippers. But almost isn’t enough and he found the life he thought he had slipping away to the enemy.

Only JESUS can completely cleanse us. Only He can change our motivation to love. Once we are His, it is the enemy of our souls who will rage, “I almost won! ALMOST!”

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