The Hero We Need Isn’t Jehu

Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 9.22-26
22 When Joram saw Jehu he asked, “Have you come in peace, Jehu?” 
“How can there be peace,” Jehu replied, “as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?” 
23 Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, “Treachery, Ahaziah!” 
24 Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. 25 Jehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer, “Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when the LORD spoke this prophecy against him: 26 ‘Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, declares the LORD, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares the LORD.’ Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of the LORD.” 

Reflection: The Hero We Need Isn’t Jehu
By John Tillman

Joram’s death completes a prophecy against Ahab. Ahab was so evil that the writer of 2 Kings made a special mention (twice) that there never was anyone like Ahab, who chased after Baal and declared God and God’s prophets to be his enemies. If not for the actions of a few who resisted Ahab, all the prophets of the Lord and those faithful to Yaweh could have been wiped out. 

After the murder of Naboth, God promised to wipe out Ahab’s family, then later delayed the judgment. After Ahab’s death, time was up. Justice rode into Samaria at the heels of Jehu. Like Jehu’s arrow that pierced Joram’s fleeing back, God launched Jehu, into the heart of Israel’s idolatry, targeting those responsible for violence and injustice.

Comparatively speaking, Jehu is probably the closest Israel ever came to having a righteous king who sought the Lord. However, that’s kind of like saying he was the best smelling dumpster fire in the alley. 

Jehu’s brand of justice was blood for blood, deception for deception, and slaughter for slaughter. 
Most of the time those who are used by God to carry out violent justice are then brought down in violence by God. Live by the sword, die by it. They aren’t good role models and we shouldn’t long to emulate them. Jehu wasn’t the hero Israel needed. He’s not the one we need either. 

One thing Jehu got right was that we cannot have peace with God while serving other gods. Jehu was an incomplete savior who delivered an incomplete and unsatisfying justice. He failed to pierce the idolatry and injustice in his own heart. He destroyed the worship of one of Israel’s idols but left other corrupt worship practices in place.

We might like to picture ourselves as a Jehu. We may feel heroic riding to attack and destroy the idols of others. But what idols do we leave standing? What false gods are we at peace with? Before you launch an arrow at another, target your own heart with the help of God’s Spirit. How can there be peace, when our idolatry lives?

Jesus is the hero, the savior, we need. One day, Jesus will ride like Jehu, bringing final justice to evil. But now is the time of salvation when we can make peace with God through Christ. Now, Jesus extends his hands, offering forgiveness. Make peace with him today.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
The Lord is King; let the people tremble; he is enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth shake. — Psalm 99.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 9 (Listen – 6:32)
1 Timothy 6 (Listen – 3:16)

Read more about Ahab and David
Ahab’s murder of Naboth has some interesting parallels to David and the murder of Uriah.

Read more about Muscle Memory
Ahaziah adopted the sinful behavior of his father and suffered the same tragic death.

The Identical Nature of Greed and Lust

Scripture Focus: 1 Timothy 6.17-18
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

Reflection: The Identical Nature of Greed and Lust
By John Tillman

As he brings his letter to Timothy to a close, Paul has just lifted heart, mind, and spirit in a glorious and artful prayer, comparing Timothy’s testimony to that of Christ before Pilate and describing God living in unapproachable light. He ends this passage on an uplifting note with a well deserved “Amen.”… But after closing out the letter so beautifully and with a definite note of finality, Paul seems to think of one more thing.

In his commentary, John Wesley notes that verses 17-21 of 1 Timothy seem to be a kind of postscript. It is as if the letter was ready to go and then, perhaps, delayed long enough that Paul had time to think of one more paragraph he found necessary to add. 

So, what was so important that Paul felt the need to add more about it? Wealth and greed.

Paul earlier addressed ministers who think “godliness is a means to financial gain.” This shows us that the prosperity gospel is not a 20th-century invention. It is as old and as dangerous as any other heresy. Paul then turns his attention sharply in verse 17 from ministers to wealthy church members who were at risk of becoming ensnared by greed.

If Paul considers wealth a distraction worthy of a second look and warning, so should we. Paul has already taught that wealth is powerful enough to corrupt those called as ministers of the gospel and instructed Timothy to “flee” from its influence. Paul takes the danger of greed seriously.

Paul uses the word “command” when speaking to the rich about their responsibility to be humble and generous. It is the same level of authoritative language he uses to speak of sexual sins. 

Financial sins of greed and sexual sins of lust are two sides of the same coin. It was no mistake that when the prophet Nathan needed an analogy for lust, he chose a parable about a rich man stealing material goods from the poor. Lust and greed are the exact same sin. One is concerned with material goods and one with flesh.

We must take a second look at our hearts for the twin sins of lust and greed, inviting the Holy Spirit to illuminate every dark corner. Greed or lust may be the downfall of a minister, as Paul warned Timothy, but, as Paul warned, they may also destroy a community.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
O Lord, watch over us and save us from this generation forever. — Psalm 12.7

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
2 Kings 9 (Listen – 6:32)
1 Timothy 6 (Listen -3:16)

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Read more about God Shivering on Concrete
God’s love is evident in the disaster God promises a nation that ignores responsibilities to the poor and to the foreigner. Our God humbles nations addicted to greed—including His own.

Read more about Greed and Envy
The trap for the wealthy is to think that we are not that wealthy, or that the poor are not that worthy.