“The LORD said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.’ Yet Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam, which he had caused Israel to commit. In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory…” (10:30-32)
First I will start with Merry Christmas! I am praying that this holiday season has been and continues to be such a blessing to your family. Next, as we prepare for the New Year, brains are cranking and pens are planning for big changes in 2016. Almost everyone out there makes or has made a New Year’s resolution. Some try to lose weight, some aim to stop smoking, some make it a habit to do outdoor activities rather than stay bundled up on the couch, and some just try to implement practical ways of putting others first in their days, but without fail a majority of New Year’s “changes” get put on the back burner. The mindset always becomes I will do it tomorrow or will try again next year. Why is that?…. It is because we cannot be successful just correcting behavior without a change in our heart.
In 2 Kings 9-10, Scripture tells us that Jehu, the anointed king of Israel was obedient to God’s commands with ridding the land of Baal and other practices that worshipped foreign gods. Jehu was crafty, swift, and forceful to carry our God’s judgment on those that loved other gods. He was responsible for killing many, destroying temples, burning altars, and ousting religious leaders that did not love the God of Israel. His only downfall……… he was also valuing the ways of Jeroboam by making gods for himself, golden calves. In fact, people saw his actions and followed his ways, “… which he had caused Israel to commit.” (v. 31) Since God is just, He rewards Jehu with assuring him that his descendants to the fourth generation would reign in Israel, but He also brought judgment on Jehu and Israel because sin is sin and it all needs to be addressed. As a result of Jehu’s actions, he was responsible for other nations overpowering Israel.
Now many would ask, “Why wouldn’t he see what God was doing through him and only commit himself to the one true God?” The answer is because his heart was not fully committed. Jehu loved and obeyed God I’m sure, but allowed for another priority to rest in the temple of the Spirit… his heart. We know from the Word of Christ that we cannot serve two masters. (Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13) Now here is the kicker… reading this so many will think “I don’t serve another god or even create other gods,” but most of us do. You heard me correct…. Most of us do! Jehu valued God above his golden calves and transformed a nation to prove it. However, that one little “bad habit” lingered. How many of us struggle with alcohol, pornography, drug use, gambling, or chronic spending on things that will fade and corrode?… Or maybe I’m thinking too “severe”…. Instead, how many of us value sports functions over God? “We have to race home from church or skip church to catch the game or so our kids can play in the game.” How many of us enjoy our stuff so much that others borrowing something becomes a nuisance? How many of us always have to have the final say or decision because our self-image and pride are too haughty? How many of us always have to own top of the line things or become envious when someone we know owns the “best” out there?
The question then becomes, what are your closet “golden calves” and are you willing to rid your life of the things that are not of God? If you want to commit to that lifestyle, don’t wait for the New Year… start now… and rather than focus on the behavior, look at your heart. Identify (1) Why are these things in my life? And (2) Who do I love more… these “things” or the one true God? Remember that God is just and with rewards for obedience to Him also comes judgment towards unfocused hearts.
Enjoy your Christmas and don’t forget the true reason we celebrate!
Lord, how is it possible that we see all you do in our lives, yet we still clutter our hearts with things that do not honor you or put you first? You are greater than anything we have or do. Forgive us and help us to remain focused in your ways. Teach us undistracted obedience. We pray this in your Just Name, Amen.