Was King Jehu a Hypocrite, a Good Guy, or Both?

chariotThe story of King Jehu is found in 2 Kings 9 and 10. Jehu’s tale reads a bit like a Game of Thrones; fraught with barbaric gamesmanship. The Lord had Jehu anointed King and instructed him to wipe out the House of Ahab. (Ahab was a rather detestable fellow who encouraged the worship of a false god.) Anyhow, Jehu utterly destroyed the House of Ahab. Near the end of chapter 10 the Lord honored Jehu for following instructions. But there was a caveat with the Lord’s praise of Jehu: Jehu did not keep the law of the Lord with all his heart. Jehu’s policies caused the people of Israel to continue sinning. As a result, the Lord limited the House of Jehu’s reign to four generations. The Lord also began to reduce the size of Israel and their status in the region.

So what, specifically, did Jehu do wrong? The Bible says Jehu did not abandon the sins of Jeroboam, a nefarious former king. In other words, Jehu allowed the people of Israel to continue worshiping a golden calf. He also allowed them to worship God in an unauthorized place and he allowed unauthorized people to enter the priesthood. Jeroboam innovated in the wrong way and Jehu did not correct Jeroboam’s mistakes.

I never understood why Jehu would follow the Lord’s instructions requiring the removal by violence of an evil leader’s administration, and yet fail to follow the Lord’s instructions regarding worship. It wasn’t like Jehu was a wimp. It didn’t seem to add up. But then I noticed something interesting 2 Kings 10:16 where Jehu greets an associate just after slaughtering a bunch of Ahab’s followers:

“Jehu said, ‘Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.’ Then he had him ride along in his chariot.”

Note Jehu’s braggadocios zeal for the Lord. Or was it for the Lord? I’m going to stick my neck out here and suggest that this statement sounds to me like someone who loves the work of the Lord more than he loves the person of the Lord. How many of us today fall into this trap? We enjoy the work of the Lord so much we begin to add, remove, and tolerate things the Lord never asked us to add, remove, or tolerate.

Here’s the point: Despite his enthusiasm for following God’s instructions to accomplish a specific task, Jehu was also a hypocrite who broke God’s rules. We are not much different than Jehu. We can be so enthusiastic about an assignment from the Lord that we lose sight of other areas where we may have run off the rails or where God wants to accomplish something in a way that’s different from our own. Jehu’s unbridled spirit got the best of him.


Posted on May 20, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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