Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Dice Game Abstract by Julie-Anne Gatehouse, 2019
Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, to wit, the golden calves that were in Bethel, and that were in Dan.
— 2 Kings 10:29
With cunning and sheer brutality Jehu, the upstart king anointed by God destroys first the whole family of Ahab, and then all the prophets of Baal, and goes on to utterly destroy the temples of Baal, turning them literally into public toilets.1 But his purge of false worship is incomplete. Jehu leaves the two golden calves erected by Jeroboam when Israel first split from Judah.
But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.2
Perhaps, like Jeroboam, Jehu was afraid his people would pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God, and never return. Like Jeroboam, he was unable to put his trust in the Lord, but preferred to be in control of the people himself. In both cases the justification was that the golden calves represented the true God, behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.3 The act clearly broke the commandment, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image", but both Jeroboam and Jehu saw more value in controlling their people than having God take care of that for them.
It is characteristic of faith today that we hold on to some element of self will. We bargain with God, 'if you do this then I'll stop that', or 'I'll totally believe in you if such-and-such an event happens'. We hold on to our own golden calves, never being quite ready to give ourselves to God with a full and open heart. Faith for the most part is this cautious thing, the hedging of a bet. Pascal's wager comes to mind.4
Jehu did some good work on God's behalf, but fell short of complete faith. Inevitably his reign did not end well. In those days the Lord began to cut Israel short: and Hazael smote them in all the coasts of Israel. 5 The second book of Kings charts the fall of Judah and Israel, and this episode was an important contributor to that collapse. It always comes down to inadequate faith, the common denominator in all of Israel's failings.
1 2 Kings 10:27
1 2 Kings 10:31
3 1 Kings 12:28
4 Pascal's Wager
5 2 Kings 10:32