by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Kings 12:25-33
I. After the northern tribes separated from Judah, the kingdom they established was never ruled by a good king.
A. The very first king, Jeroboam, sought to stabilize his country by establishing his own religion - I Kings 12:25-33
1. He feared defection if the people crossed into Judah so he created centers of worship in his own country.
2. To gain acceptance, he made the religion some what like that given to God.
3. To keep people around, he declared feast days to coincide with the feasts in Jerusalem.
4. And thus he lead the people into idolatry.
5. For this he and his descendants were removed - I Kings 15:25-30
B. But Baasha didn’t learn the lesson.
1. Perhaps he thought it didn’t apply to him - I Kings 15:33-34
2. Yet, he suffered the same fate - I Kings 16:1-4, 8-13
C. Zimri did not last long, only a week, yet his short reign continued the sin of Jeroboam - I Kings 16:18-19
D. Omri and his son, Ahab, made matters worse by bringing in Baal worship on top of the idolatry Jeroboam created - I Kings 16:31-33
E. It was during Ahab’s reign that Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal and Asheroth, proving who really reigned.
1. It was at this time, too, that Elijah was given a task for the future - I Kings 19:15-17
2. Ahab dies and Ahaziah, his son, takes his place - I Kings 22:51-53
3. He doesn’t last long - II Kings 1:16-17
4. Another son of Ahab takes the throne - II Kings 3:1-3
a. Jehoram does a little better. He stops worshiping Baal and Asheroth, but he still follows Jeroboam’s creation.
II. The Zeal of Jehu
A. Elisha fulfills the command originally given to Elijah - II Kings 9:1-10
B. Jehu’s commission is to destroy the house of Ahab, just as Jeroboam and Baasha’s houses were destroyed.
1. Johoram, or Joram, is wounded in battle with Hazael, so Jehu uses the opportunity - II Kings 9:14-26
2. He then killed Ahaziah, king of Judah, who was supporting Joram in his war - II Kings 9:27-28
3. He then goes after Jezebel. She taunts him by calling him Zimri, the short-lived killer of Baasha’s house. All it got her was a quick death - II Kings 9:30-37
4. Jehu has all descendants of Ahab killed as proof of loyalty - II Kings 10:1-10
5. He has everyone loyal to Ahab’s house killed - II Kings 10:11-17
C. Jehu, in a clever scheme, removed all the Baal worshipers as well - II Kings 10:18-28
III. The Downfall of Jehu
A. With so much zeal for the Lord, it is surprising what we learn next - II Kings 10:29
1. Recall that Jeroboam’s religion was an imitation of the true worship of God. Perhaps Jehu felt that it was close enough.
2. Jeroboam’s religion had be in place for many generations. Perhaps Jehu felt that if God tolerated it this long, a bit longer won’t matter.
3. Besides it retained its political advantage of keeping people in Israel.
B. God’s judgment - II Kings 10:30-33
1. For his zeal, four kings of his lineage followed him. The fourth, Zechariah is killed in a political upheaval has God predicted - II Kings 15:8-10
2. However, even as Jehu reigned, Israel began losing territory bit by bit.
IV. Application - I Corinthians 10:6, 11-12
A. Becoming a Christian involves a change in life - Ephesians 4:17-24
1. It cannot be a partial change - James 2:10-12
2. Cannot stay in sin - Romans 6:1-4
3. Cannot be conformed to this world - I Peter 1:14
4. Must cease from sin - I Peter 4:1-2
B. Jehu proved himself zealous to reform, but only to the extent that he wanted.
1. Far too many Christians reform their lives, but only to the extent that they want
2. They keep some of their past lives, finding comfort in familiar ways.
3. Christianity becomes a religion of convenience. As long as I can see the benefit to me, I’ll change, but I retain the right to veto.
C. Such semi-reformation will not get us to heaven. It will not bring glory to God because it places our own choices over God’s.