From a sermon series on 2 Kings by See Huang Lim, a missionary at IBF
When somebody says he will do something, do you believe him? It depends on who, right? If it is your son whom you know is lazy, even if he tells you that he would do his homework, you already instinctively know that he won’t. But what about God? When he says he will do something, do you have a strong conviction that He will?
Today, we will continue with the story of Jehu in 2 Kings 10. In my last sermon, Jehu conspired against King Ahab’s son Joram and killed him. From this chapter, I want to highlight 3 points: 1) The Word of God will come to pass, 2) the Word of God will bring judgment, and 3) the Word of God has come in the flesh.
[Read 2 Kings 10]
The Word of God will come to pass
My first point is this: the Word of God will come to pass. These events are a fulfilment of Elijah’s prophecy in 1 Kings 21. After King Ahab killed an innocent man, prophet Elijah sent him a word of God’s judgment. Let’s turn to read 1 Kings 21:21-24, “Behold, I will bring disaster upon you. I will utterly burn you up, and will cut off from Ahab every male, bond or free, in Israel. And I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the anger to which you have provoked me, and because you have made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel [Ahab’s notorious wife] the Lord also said, ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel within the walls of Jezreel.’ Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat.”
Now let’s return to today’s passage, 2 Kings 10. After Jehu kills the 70 sons of Ahab, he says this in verse 10, “Know then that there shall fall to the earth nothing of the word of the Lord, which the Lord spoke concerning the house of Ahab, for the Lord has done what he said by his servant Elijah.” In other words, Jehu saw himself as carrying out God’s prophecy.
After Jehu finishes his bloody business, the Word of God comes to him in verse 30, “And the Lord said to Jehu, ‘Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.’” And God does keep his promise to Jehu, if you read a few chapters later in chapter 15.
What all this tells us is that when God promises something, he will bring it to pass. For us today, do we believe God when his Word promises something?
For example, you may know the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 that God will provide for our needs. He says in Matthew 6:31-33, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Now that I have a newborn baby, I get worried thinking about the cost of raising our child. I’m sure many of you parents went through that phase too. Will God really provide, or does everything depend on us to take care of ourselves? Well, I can tell you that so far, God has already provided so much for our baby. Baby clothes, for example—we received so many clothes from friends that my wife said that she could open a shop selling clothes. We also received many secondhand items that would normally be quite expensive, like a stroller, car seat, and baby crib. It was a reminder from God to us that he knows what we need.
And the way that God provides is through people. God cannot be seen but his love can be seen through our actions and care for those in need. I remembered as an international student in America, what made me feel especially loved was being invited to the home of a couple who cooked for us weekly. It wasn’t just the food that warmed our hearts, but their listening ears. They took the time to listen to our problems as foreign students in the US. As poor international students, we not only needed food but also a place where that feels like home away from home.
Here in our church, are there people you can think of whom you can be a blessing to? It doesn’t have to be you cooking and inviting someone over. It could be as simple as taking that person out for a meal at a nearby café. Or perhaps asking her if she has anything you can pray about.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus was willing to carry the weight of the world upon his shoulders, and therefore, he will be willing to carry you in your times of need. But will you be Jesus to those around you who are in need by helping them to carry their burdens?
To sum up my second point, the word of God will come to pass. Let’s move on to the second point: The word of God will bring judgment.
The Word of God will bring judgment
In chapter 10, Jehu carried out the killing of Ahab’s family. But ultimately, as the writer of 2 Kings describes, it is actually God acting behind the scenes to judge Ahab’s family. As I mentioned earlier, the cause of judgment was that Ahab killed an innocent man to steal his property.
Some people say that they can’t believe in God because of all the evil in this world. But I think it is harder for me to believe that there is no God. If there is no God, then many who do evil will get away with it. There will be no justice for many people in this life or in the next life.
In 2 Kings, God’s judgment came because of injustice but there were two other reasons as well: 1) when people start elevating themselves above God, and 2) when people commit idolatry.
Often in the Bible, many rulers fail to see that they are merely God’s servants. They elevate themselves, but God humbles them. One example in the New Testament is in Acts 12, when a crowd of people cheers for King Herod, saying “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Acts 12:23 says, “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.” Herod failed to see himself as a mere man and accepted glory that is only due to God.
In the case of Jehu and Ahab, though, God’s judgment falls on them because of idolatry. Jehu wipes out the worship of Baal, but does that mean that he is better than Ahab? Actually, his decision to wipe out Baal worship is not necessarily because he is zealous for Yahweh, though he claims to be zealous. Rather, it is possibly because he wants to dispose of Ahab’s loyalists, many of whom are Baal worshippers.
The author of 2 Kings concludes that Jehu did some things right but ultimately, “He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. He did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (10:29, 10:31, 13:2, 13:11, 14:24, 15:9). Jehu destroyed Baal worship but not the worship of golden calves.
These kings may seem terrible to you, but they just examples of humanity’s generally fallen state. In Romans chapter 1, Paul writes that all humanity is in a rebellion against God.
Romans 1:21-23 says, “For although they,” referring to humanity, “knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 3 verse 23 further says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
The Bible says we are all guilty of elevating ourselves above God—for example, by being more concerned about our own wishes and desires than God’s desires. We are all guilty of worshiping and pursuing things besides God. Because of that, we are not exempt from the wrath of God.
How then can we escape from the great judgment of God? That leads me to the third and final point: the word of God has come in the flesh.
The Word of God has come in the flesh
First, what does it mean that “the word of God came in the flesh”? This idea is described in the gospel of John. John chapter 1 verse 1 tells us this, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 continues, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word that John is referring to is none other than the person of Jesus Christ.
John 3:16-17 highlight Jesus’ mission, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
God could have pronounced judgment on us and left it that way. But he did not. Yet he decided to take the punishment that we deserve. He came in the flesh to demonstrate this, through Jesus’ death on the cross.
We are celebrating Christmas not too long from now. During Christmas, we often say that Jesus is God’s gift to us. As the Bible clearly teaches, we don’t deserve anything from God or any gifts. If anything, we deserve God’s judgment. When we understand how wretched we are, then can we understand how great His love is, how great is God’s gift of Jesus. We are not only forgiven but become sons and daughters of God, and much more.
This is great news because we can then enjoy a deep, meaningful relationship with our Creator. From there we discover our lives’ purpose and meaning. We also grow to become like Christ who loved everyone, even those who hated him. We can experience joy and a lasting satisfaction that cannot be taken away. Can anyone else in the world offer you that?
To sum up what we have covered today: the Word of God are true and will come to pass in God’s timing and God’s way. The Word of God also carries out the judgment of God on the unjust and those who worship other things. But the Word of God does not only judge; it brings forgiveness and life. The Word of God, embodied in Jesus Christ, came in the flesh to rescue us. May we experience these realities more and more in our lives.