Attempts at Reform
Open Your Bible
2 Kings 8:16-29, 2 Kings 9:1-37, 2 Kings 10:1-36, Psalm 72:1-20
How does it make you feel to hear someone blame God when bad things happen? Or when you find something difficult to understand or accept in Scripture—how does that affect you? For me, so many conflicting thoughts, theories, and perceptions can seep into my heart, creating doubt that threatens to weaken my faith. This is what I thought of when reading through today’s passages, when God calls Elisha to anoint Jehu as Israel’s king.
“This is what the LORD God of Israel says: ‘I anoint you king
over the LORD’s people, Israel. You are to strike down the house
of your master Ahab so that I may avenge the blood shed by the hand of Jezebel—
the blood of my servants the prophets and of all the servants of the LORD’” (2 Kings 9:6–7).
I am so grateful that we know the context of all that came before this! Reading through 1 and 2 Kings, I am often reminded of why God’s story needs to be read straight through and in its entirety. Out of context, some pieces of the story do not fit, and can even seem to conflict. But with the whole story, we see God working in and through all things, which strengthens our hope in a powerful God, who is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. We see through the entirety of Scripture that God gives His people ample opportunities to reform, warning them that should they not repent and turn back to Him, the outcome will not be good. Still, they don’t always listen.
But rest assured, when God says something will happen, it will happen. In 2 Kings 9:22, King Jehu goes to Jezebel to fulfill what God predicted through the prophet Elijah fourteen years earlier (1 Kings 21:23–24). And so when Jehu obeys God’s command to kill Jezebel, who brought about “so much prostitution and sorcery,” his actions were “[fulfilling] the LORD’s word that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite” (2 Kings 9:36).
The God we serve is mighty and just. He cannot be overthrown and will not be mocked, yet He is gracious to give us fair warning as to where our sinful choices will ultimately lead us. Though these verses describing violent scenes might cause us to squirm, may we instead rest our eyes on our Savior, whose death and resurrection have brought us redemption and hope through His own blood being shed. These passages point to our need for salvation, our need for Jesus.
The God of Israel is the one “who does wonders… the whole earth is filled with his glory” (Psalm 72:18–19). Jehu trusted this, despite not fully understanding what God was doing. He knew that when God calls, you answer that call. When He commands, you obey. Through the difficult, uncomfortable, and hard-to-explain things of this life, may our devotion and zeal for the Lord sustain us in all situations (2 Kings 10:16).