What Christians Can Learn from the Great Mistake of King Jehu? This is the question that I am going to analyze in this article.
As you know, King Jehu is not someone well-known among Christians and his story is seldom discussed among preachers and pastors except in contexts related to Ahab and Jezebel.
Jehu, son of Nimshi was a valiant warrior with a great zeal for the affairs of God Almighty; and he accomplished great things for the kingdom of God. He put to death the whole family of Ahab and his Baal worshipping prophets.
Furthermore, He also took very strong measures to wipe out Baal worship and Asherah Poles from the land of Israel. However, at a certain point in his life, he stumbled in his commitment to serve God wholeheartedly and his failures led to further spiritual deterioration of the Israelites.
Anyway, I don’t intend to talk more in detail about those spiritual issues, instead, my focus will be mainly on what we, believers, can learn from the failures of Jehu.
Jehu Anointed as King of Israel.
Jehu was anointed as king of Israel at a very turbulent time in the history of Israel and Judah. Both the nations were under the rule of kings who were in neck-deep idolatry and Baal worship. The People in both the kingdoms were also following their leaders and engaged in all kinds of evil practices like child sacrifices and worshipping idols and Asherah poles.
Though, Prophet Elijah warned these leaders of punishment from God Almighty, they did not heed his warnings. Finally, God decides to execute judgment on both houses of Israel and HE instructs Prophet Elisha to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi in order to accomplish this task. The following verses tell the details.
1The prophet Elisha summoned a man from the company of the prophets and said to him, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take this flask of olive oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. 2When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Go to him, get him away from his companions and take him into an inner room. 3Then take the flask and pour the oil on his head and declare, ‘This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and run; don’t delay!” (2 Kings, 9, 1-3)
As the above verses say; Prophet Elisha sent a man from the company of prophets to Ramoth Gilead and he anoints Jehu, son of Nimshi as king of Israel. This is happening while Joram son of Ahab is ruling in Israel as king.
Jehu’s Victory over Ahab’s Household.
As soon as Jehu was anointed as the king of Israel, he and his companions killed Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah, king of Judah at Jezreel. After killing Joram, Jehu finds his mother Jezebel and kills her too. After killing Joram and Jezebel, Jehu also instructs Joram’s Palace administrators and elders to kill all the seventy princes who belonged to the royal family of Ahab.
In addition, Jehu also killed all the remaining priests, close friends and chief men of Ahab’s family. Jehu continued the killing until no one was left alive in Ahab’s family. Thus, he fulfilled what The LORD Almighty had spoken through Prophet Elijah about Ahab’s family.
After killing the complete household of Ahab, Jehu entices and traps all the prophets of Baal in the temple of Baal and kills them too without allowing anyone to escape. Then, Jehu and his men demolished the temple of Baal and destroyed the sacred stone by burning it. Thus, Jehu destroyed Baal worship and the people who promoted it.
Well, from the above description, it is clear that Jehu was very zealous for the affairs of God and he wholeheartedly obeyed God’s instructions by eliminating the enemies of God.
30The Lord said to Jehu, “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.” ( 2 Kings 10, 30)
In the above verse we see the LORD commending Jehu for being faithful to God’s instructions and destroying the people who promoted Baal Worship in Israel. And also, as a reward God promises Jehu that his descendants will sit on the throne of Israel up to the fourth generation. Here, I wonder why The LORD Almighty limited it to the fourth generation and not beyond that.
I guess, it might be because he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat – the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.
28So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel. 29However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit—the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. ( 2 Kings 10, 28-29).
So, now we have another question to examine: What were the sins of Jeroboam Son of Nebat?
Jeroboam was the first king of Israel, the kingdom that God established by splitting the Kingdom of David as a punishment for the sins of King Solomon. Lord Almighty was well-pleased with Jeroboam and anointed him as the king of Israel (ten tribes) through Ahijah, the Prophet of Shiloh.
Furthermore, LORD Almighty also promised Jeroboam that his kingdom will be as enduring as the Kingdom of David; if he remains faithful to all HIS Commandments and do what is Just and Right in HIS eyes.
37However, as for you, I will take you, and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. 38If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you. (1 Kings 11, 37-38)
Anyway, during King Solomon’s reign he could not become the king of Israel as he escaped to Egypt to save his life from the hands of the King. However, after the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam became the king and he fell out with the people of Israel (ten tribes) and they made Jeroboam, who had returned from Egypt after the death of King Solomon, the King of Israel. Thus, LORD’s mighty hands fulfilled what HE had spoken through Prophet Ahijah.
So, Jerobaom became the king of Israel and he knew fully well that it is the LORD Almighty who made him King over Israel and HE will be the one who will protect his Kingdom from the hands of his enemies. However, Jerobaom started doubting the faithfulness of God and devised his own strategies to retain the loyalty of his subjects.
He thought, if the people of Israel keep visiting Jerusalem for worshipping in the Temple of God, they might eventually become loyal to King Rehoboam again and he might lose his throne.
26Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. 27If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.” (1 Kings 12, 26-27)
So, in order to prevent the people of Israel from visiting Jerusalem, he devised his own plans to establish places of worship in Israel. He decides to make two golden calves and instructed the people of Israel to worship them. In addition, he also built two shrines in Bethel and Dan and established sacrificial systems and festivals similar to the ones in Jerusalem. The people of Israel obeyed Jeroboam and began to prostitute themselves by worshipping these golden calves.
28After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30And this thing became a sin; the people came to worship the one at Bethel and went as far as Dan to worship the other. d
31Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. 32He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. 33On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings. (1 Kings 12, 31-33)
When the whole Israel started to prostitute themselves by worshipping the Golden Calves set up by Jeroboam, God sent a prophet to warn Jeroboam while he was at the altar of Bethel to sacrifice. But despite the miracles and the warnings, Jeroboam continued in his rebellion against the LORD Almighty.
33Even after this, Jeroboam did not change his evil ways, but once more appointed priests for the high places from all sorts of people. Anyone who wanted to become a priest he consecrated for the high places. 34This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall and to its destruction from the face of the earth. (1 Kings, 13, 33-34)
The Tragic Errors of Jehu
The worship of Golden Calves and the places of Sacrifice at Bethel and Dan continued uninterrupted until the time of Jehu. Though, Jehu received a holy anointing and power to destroy these satanic places of worship that challenged the authority of the Most Holy Temple of God in Jerusalem, he was not willing to destroy them for the same reasons that Jeroboam wanted to establish them.
Though God Almighty revealed the power of HIS mighty hands in the life of Jehu by anointing him as the King of Israel and destroying all his powerful enemies, he did not trust HIM to sustain his throne.
Instead, like Jeroboam, son of Nebat, Jehu also feared that if the people of Israel visited Jerusalem annually for the Feasts, it might eventually sway their allegiance to the King of Judah and he might lose his throne.
So, he decides to sustain the worship of Golden Calves in Israel which was a serious rebellion against God Almighty. As you know, Jehu began well with following God Almighty wholeheartedly but as his success reached its Zenith, he began to fall from the grace of God and started to rely on his own wit and wisdom to sustain his success; he decides to follow the same shrewd and sinful paths of Jeroboam.
Avoiding the Mistakes of Jehu.
Well now we have a clear picture of the great mistake that Jehu committed while walking under the anointing of God Almighty. This same pattern of behavior we see in Jeroboam and Jehu did not end with the reign of Jehu, it continued through the reigns of Jehu’s descendants and It still continues in the midst of God’s people in a very subtle manner. The Spirit of worshipping the golden calves that entered into the lives of Israelites through Aaron still holds its sway over God’s people.
Like Jehu, many of the very successful anointed Christian leaders in the contemporary Christian world too have started relying on their own wit and wisdom to sustain their ministries that they started with the anointing of God Almighty.
If we examine the lives of many of the prominent figures in the Christian realm, we could find that; they all have been called out by the God Almighty with a divine assignment and they all had very humble beginnings. They were, like Jehu, nobody in the spiritual realm when they were called out.
But, God Almighty through HIS anointing and Power, made them bear fruits and flourish in the Kingdom of God. Because of God’s divine help and support their ministries grew many folds and branched out like the cedars of Lebanon, strong and tall.
However, as their ministries grew many folds, these shepherds started incorporating worldly wisdom and ideologies into their teachings so as to accommodate and please their huge audience who supported them financially. Though they knew very well that they were deviating from the God ordained path, they tolerated the compromises for the sake of sustaining their ministries and positions.
Like Jehu, they had very good beginnings, they wholeheartedly stood for the Kingdom of God, they preached the gospel sincerely, they led people from Baal Worship to Christ, they taught the people to follow God wholeheartedly.
However, on the way, as their ministries grew, they started compromising with the true Gospel, and like Jehu, they too feared that their support base would dwindle drastically if undiluted gospel is preached and unconditional obedience to God’s Commandments is demanded from their sheep.
So instead, of relying on God’s power and anointing to sustain their ministries, like Jehu, these shepherds too devised their own plans to sustain their thrones and as a result many of them lost the divine favor and anointing, and their ministries turned to become like the fig tree on the roadside that was full of leaves but had no fruits (the fig tree that Jesus cursed.
Next, let us examine some of the things we can do to avoid Jehu’s Mistakes.
1.Do not Rely on Man’s Power to do God’s Work.
The big mistake that Jeroboam and Jehu committed was to rely on human power and wisdom to sustain the work of God. Both of them were anointed by God Almighty to be the kings of Israel and HE had promised that their thrones will continue for many generations if they had wholeheartedly obeyed HIM.
The power that would sustain their throne was not money, military and people but the favor of the LORD Almighty. But these two kings misunderstood this truth and relied on their own wit and wisdom to sustain their thrones.
Similarly, if God Almighty has anointed you into HIS ministry, HE will sustain you in that ministry. At any point, if you decide to rely on your own power and ability to sustain God’s work, that is going to make things difficult for you. God is the one who called you into the ministry and you should lean only on HIM to sustain you.
What God demands from you is unconditional obedience and nothing else. If you compromise with the Word of God for the sake of retaining your sheep, that is not going to help you. Don’t let the spirit of Golden Calf sneak into your ministry through your compromise.
2.Stop Compromising with the Word of God.
God’s Holy Word is the final authority in anything related to the house of God and His people. Hence, leaders should lead the sheep according to God’s laws and regulations and not according to the traditions and customs and laws of the society. Most of the time, leaders agree to compromise with the Word of God for the sake of accommodating socially acceptable customs and practices with in the church. However, these might be things that are not approved in the Word of God and might turn out to be detrimental for the sound functioning of the church. For e.g. There are things that are acceptable in the society but prohibited in the Bible.
A classic example is: a Christian couple living together before marriage. Another example is: Divorce among Christians – God hates divorce and Jesus clearly stated:
Let no man separate what the LORD has united.
So, how can a church promote something that God Hates? In large congregations, these issues are common but leaders are not willing to confront them as they do not want to displease their congregation and lose the support from them.
3.Teach and Preach Obedience.
Nowadays, we seldom hear Teachings and Preaching on Obedience. Pastors and Preachers are willing to teach about anything under the sun but not about obedience to God’s Commandments. Many of the churches don’t even open the book of Leviticus which has the foundation and details of all the laws that we find in the New Testament. If we try to build something without beginning from the foundation do you think it will stand? No; Same is true for God’s Commandments; when you neglect the foundation, you are neglecting the whole structure. How much importance does God give for HIS commandments? Let us look at Deuteronomy 6.
6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6, 6-9)
So, how often do you talk about God’s Commandments to your congregation and with your children? It will be difficult for you to answer this question, because you never talk about them even once a year.
LORD Almighty, by HIS grace, through HIS only begotten son, redeemed us from Egypt, from the land of slavery and sin. He redeemed us and brought us into HIS eternal Kingdom and we need to obey his commandments once we enter that promised land. We can’t live in the promised land like we lived in Egypt.
1These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.(Deuteronomy 6, 1-20)
The path of simple obedience is straight and narrow, and few there be that find it.” (A. Rowland)
We live in one of the most turbulent times in the history of the church. The church is going through a very serious existential crisis. Corruption has crept into all facets of the Spiritual realm and we see many of the sheep and shepherds alike falling prey to this corruption. It seems like the great falling away that the Bible talks about, has already begun.
But unfortunately, Christian leaders, preachers and Pastors have played an important role in letting this corruption creep into the church. The compromises that the shepherds made in order to retain their fame, name and positions have enabled the enemy to walk into the pew and the pulpit without any hindrance.
What we see here is; the result of compromises made by many of the Christian leaders, Preachers and Pastors. Like Jehu, these shepherds decided to rely on their own wisdom and wit to sustain the anointed positions that they received from the LORD Almighty.
But this high tide of corruption needs to be stopped before it is too late and for this the church needs to return to the true Faith that once delivered to the Saints.
The church needs to focus exclusively on Holiness and Obedience rather than focusing on increasing the numbers within its walls. Of course, compromises help increase the numbers really fast but it does not help the church to be holy.
Many professing Christians consider religion inappropriate to business competition and to political movements. In this they resemble the son of Nebat.(A. Rowland)