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This Morning in the Word: Don’t flinch!

June 26, 2010
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Don’t flinch: Hear the applause of Heaven!

II Kings 9 & 10 – Take a few minutes and read this!

Jehu drove his chariot like a crazy man, swung his sword in a wide arch and rushed headlong toward what God had called him to do.  He was not delicate; he was not diplomatic. Jehu was vivid.

And Jehu didn’t flinch.

Virtually every mention of Jehu in Scripture shows him living in the thick of things. He was not a sidelines kind of guy; he was not a shadow dweller. Safety nets did not attract him, the middle ground was unfamiliar to him. He was not terribly careful. And when he didn’t follow through whole heartedly, Scripture identifies it as a deficiency. (II Kings 10:31) But, evidently the things that he missed – they were not small incidentals that he neglected – were eclipsed by what he confronted and eliminated.

As I read the accounts in the comfort of my chaise lounge, I see lots of things that he did as over the top; they make me uncomfortable (like the two piles of heads at the entrance of the city gate – II Kings 10: 8.) But, on the other hand, I whistle and applaud  him because he was the guy who FINALLY dealt with Jezabel. Even the mighty prophet of God, Elijah, had moments when he hid for fear of that powerfully wicked woman. But, not so with Jehu. He drove his chariot up under her window and, with the knowledge of God’s specific judgment against her, called her own servants to align themselves with God’s decision about ending her reign of evil. (II Kings 9:30)

Jehu did not flinch.

All things considered, it is easy to cheer for Jehu because he was not pursuing his own agenda or his own promotion; he was pursuing principle. When a king with a record for ungodliness and ungodly alliances tried to draw him into cooperation with talk of peace, Jehu’s answer reveals his discernment, “How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?” He named the sin and evil plainly and he dealt with it appropriately. He knew what God had said and he acted boldly to fulfill God’s decree. (II Kings 9: 27)

Jehu loved what God loved and hated what God hated. He knew God’s standard and he set himself to follow after it – straight down the line. He set himself against the leaders who were set up against God, and he set himself against the complicit  relatives (10:13), spiritual leaders (10:19), advisors, and close friends (10:11) of that leadership.  He gave people a chance to choose their allegiances (10:15) and showed them what their choices meant. His pursuit of righteousness and justice was not diluted by misplaced mercy or mismanaged grace.

He was crafty; he was uncompromising; he did not flinch.

At the end of the story, God’s opinion of Jehu is given clearly (10:30):  Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in My eyes …  Hear the applause of Heaven???

 

Intentional Conversation:

What mattered to Jehu? What did not matter?
How did he demonstrate a willingness to overcome obstacles and endure hardship in order to “accomplish what was right in [God’s] eyes”?
How does this narrative rebuke me? How does this narrative encourage me?

 

Look for Christ in the OT narrative
How do you see Christ foreshadowed in Jehu – use positive comparisons and negative comparisons:

What the Father decreed dictated the life and death of Jesus.
Jesus was perfectly aligned with the standard of the Word.
Jesus was wholehearted in His obedience.
The enemies of God are the enemies of Jesus.
Jesus completely, boldly, unflinchingly confronted and eradicated the evil works of sin,
Is the same true of Jehu? Is the same true of me?

 

Look for lessons about God’s character in the OT narrative

God is just and righteous.
God values obedience.
God will not share His glory
God does not esteem mixed or half-hearted loyalties.
God enables and protects those He sends out.
God praises those who live by principle.
God rewards those who pursue His agenda.

I also read Psalm 144  and it occurs to me that Jehu had access to this same Psalm. It speaks to the heart of where Jehu was called to live. I wonder if it comforted his heart and encouraged him on the way, just as it ministers to us today. Oh, the enduring value of the Word of God!

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