In today’s Bible reading* we see the fulfillment of Elijah’s prophecy to annihilate Ahab and Jezebel and their descendants. King Jehu was God’s anointed king and appointed for this purpose. (2 Kings 9:6-7) And fulfill it he did!
Ahab had seventy sons, all of whom were beheaded at Jehu’s request. (2 Kings 10:7) Jezebel was thrown out of a window and most of her bloody body was devoured by dogs. (2 Kings 9:33)
Jehu also assembled every prophet of Baal and slaughtered all of them. (2 Kings 10:25) Further, the people tore down the temple of Baal, burned the column, and made it into a latrine. (2 Kings 10:27) Doing so, Jehu eliminated Baal worship among God’s people.
Although he did all these things which God appointed him to do, Jehu wasn’t perfect. He didn’t commit himself to follow God with all of his heart. He didn’t repent from the idolatry of Jeroboam. (2 Kings 10:31; 1 Kings 12:28–33) Jehu was the King of Judah.
Meanwhile, Joash, who had been hidden by his mother became King of Israel. Joash and the priest, Jehoiada, made a covenant and brought the people of Israel back to God.
This is an example of what Biblical repentance looks like. Following God’s commands, God’s covenant people fulfill prophecy and rid their land of the evil leaders who had led them into sin. Because of their extraordinary sin, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were killed as well as all of their descendants and counselors. Israel and Judah were finally — for a time — free from idolatry.
Idols come in many forms. When we think of idolatry, we often think of metal or wooden images worshipped by various religions. But an idol doesn’t have to be used by pagans and false religions.
Idols can be any number of things that people place between themselves and God. They are distractions. They can take the form of heroes, entertainment icons, TV shows, and favorite past times. Again, idols are things (and people) that people place between themselves and God.
Even Christians can be idolaters. Reformer and theologian John Calvin said that the human heart is a perpetual idol factory.
Even Christians can (and do) place things and people between ourselves and God. An idol is anything or anyone who disturbs your intimacy with God. Idols aren’t necessarily evil things. Even good things can be idols. Because we worship the created order rather than the Creator, God wrath is revealed against us. (Romans 1:18–23) We worry about what we will eat, drink, and wear. We let our jobs grab our attention. Our spouses. Our children. Our children’s activities. Our church work. Our ideas as to how church is supposed to be done. Our favorite music, even Christian music.
But God calls us to turn aside from idols and pursue Him and His righteousness above all. (Matthew 6:33) Ask God to show you what and whom you put in a place of priority above Him, His Kingdom, and His righteousness.
As He shows you those things, don’t make excuses. Rid them from your life (Matthew 5:27–30) and pursue God with your whole heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
2 Kings 9
2 Kings 10
2 Kings 11
2 Chronicles 22:10-12
2 Chronicles 23