A Biblical Cautionary Tale

Posted on March 26, 2020

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By David Ettinger

Lessons to Be Learned
The Book of 2 Kings if filled with life lessons believers should take to heart.

For instance, the prophet Elisha had a servant named Gehazi. Read what greed and lying did to him (Chapter 5). King Jehoram married the heathen daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Read of the horrid consequences which resulted from that godless union (11:1). And there are many more: monarchs who started out well but turned from God; those who mocked God’s holy prophets; and others who embraced idolatry. They all reaped what they sowed, and we can learn from all of them.

Then there is a man who was enabled by God to accomplish His will, thoroughly obeyed God, was amply rewarded by God, and still held God at arm’s length while embracing the sin within him. His name is Jehu, and his story is found in 2 Kings Chapters 9 and 10.

God’s Man
The Lord’s long leash placed on the descendants of King Omri had been stretched to the limit.

Omri’s 12-year reign was summarized this way: “But Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him” (1 Kings 16:25). He was succeeded by his son Ahab, whose 22-year reign was similar: “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:31). Ahab was succeeded his sons Ahaziah and Joram, whose combined 14-year rule was not as wicked as their father’s, but was nonetheless evil.  

Alas, 48 years was enough, as God said, “No more!” So evil was the legacy of this family that God ordained that every descendant of Ahab be destroyed. The man he chose for the task was the fearless Jehu, a courageous military commander in Israel’s Northern Kingdom. He was also God’s chosen vessel. God, through a messenger, told him: “You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master … The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel – slave or free” (2 Kings 9:7-8).

Mission Accomplished!
Jehu came through in a big way! The account in chapters 9 and 10 is breathtaking! Jehu then set his sights on destroying the priests and worshipers of the foul non-god Baal, and did so with relish! And after all the Baal-adherents were slain, Jehu went one step further by tearing down the temple of Baal and turning it into a latrine (v. 27). The result: “So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel” (v. 28).

God was pleased with his servant and told him: “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation” (v. 30).

Well done, Jehu!

But …
Sadly, we read in verse 31: “Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam [idolatry, immorality], which he had caused Israel to commit.”

Oh Jehu, why? You did so well that despite your sin, God still granted you a lengthy 28-year reign. You had the privilege of being God’s chosen vessel and were empowered by God, and yet you still did not embrace Him as you should have.

A sad commentary on Jehu’s life – and a cautionary tale for you and me!

Believers in Jesus Christ are to be fully devoted to our Lord and Savior. We are to love Him with all of our hearts, souls, and minds (Matthew 22:37). Our hearts are to belong to Him. As such, we are to fight the temptations within us and wage battle against sin: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14).

Spiritually speaking, we are every bit as endowed to do God’s work as was Jehu. Let us not, therefore, do as he did by refusing to devote his heart completely to God, and embracing the sin he was so drawn to. The story of Jehu is a biblical cautionary tale. Sin and disobedience are constantly crouching at our doors (Genesis 4:7); let us be diligent to keep the door slammed on this enemy and not succumb to his allurements.

Let us learn from Jehu by emulating his zeal for God, but on the other hand by shunning that which ultimately tarnished his otherwise noteworthy and productive life!