Know, then, that not a word the Lord has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The Lord has done what he announced through his servant Elijah. (2 Kings 10:10 NIV)
The house of Ahab had cultivated the worship of Baal. This idolatry had corrupted the nation of Israel more than any of Ahab’s predecessors. That’s why the judgment against Ahab had to be so thorough. Not one vestige of the house of Ahab could remain.
To ensure such a thorough wiping out of the lineage required a man who would be passionate about doing what God wanted. Jehu, a commander for Ahab initially, was enlivened by the anointing he had received. He was more than willing to do whatever it took to accomplish the task he had been set. That zeal and willingness saw him bring down not just an entire Royal household – and it was a large household – but also saw him completely wipe out Baal worship in the country.
That zeal, that desire, that passion was great for the start of his rule in Israel. It was great in getting the job done where the stench of Ahab and Baal worship were concerned. Such a zeal for wiping out any idolatry and its source in our lives is a great expression of our desire to be true to the one real and living God. Some of us have grown up in environments that have accommodated and compromised where idolatry and sin is concerned. It is such a zeal that is needed to aggressively wipe out such compromise. That’s not language some are comfortable with when they think of a faith that is marked by peacemaking, meekness and humility. Yet those characteristics are expressions of devotion to God – the same God that does not want us corrupted and rendered ineffective and unfruitful by sin and idolatry.
In as much as that zeal is necessary, it is also important to remember that the whole point of that zeal is to stay centred and devoted to God. Though Jehu was successful in wiping out Baal and the house of Ahab, he did not carry that zeal over into establishing a devotion for God. It transpired that he only got rid of a greater idolatry to reintroduce the sins of Jeroboam.
Though our zeal may make progress in doing what’s right, it is an ongoing devotion to God that will keep us doing what’s right. That is not something we manage by our own willpower – that is something we rely on God to sustain in us as we remain focused on Him.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden