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But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord,
the God of Israel, with all his heart;
he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel sin.
2 Kings 10:31
I sat on the floor of my prayer closet …
overwhelmed by God’s mercy and grace. Once again God’s Word met me where I was, filling the places that needed nourishment, healing the wounds in my heart, shining His light in my dark places.
It never gets old.
But it takes a new meaning after a season of gray skies.
I don’t mean a time of sorrow. Oh, I’ve had my share of those, no question. Many were the days where God poured His light in that kind of darkness.
But this was different.
I knew that something was not quite right in my relationship with God. Not that I wasn’t hearing Him, or did not feel His presence.
But something.was.different. And I could not put a finger on it. Or, should I say… I didn’t really WANT to put a finger on it.
Oh, sweet honesty!
Sometimes you just must face it: You are stepping out of His will.
Even if ever so slightly. Still… It is what it is.
Leaning on our own understanding and acting on reason other than by faith…
And we find ourselves in a season of, not dark, but gray skies.
The rain that usually pours down from Heaven to nourish our souls turns into droplets that can barely quench our thirst. And we look up, wondering why peace is not quite there anymore.
Until God, in His inexplicable mercy, takes us to a character in Scriptures whose decisions wake us up from our slumber. And then, mercy of mercies: We read the end of their story. Either how God came to their rescue… or how they wrecked their lives beyond repair… one decision at a time.
King Jehu …
That was the character whose spiritually defeated life came to my rescue that morning.
Jehu had everything to become a great king in the Northern Kingdom, and from a human perspective, he was indeed a successful king. His family ruled the Northern Kingdom longer than any other. God used him to punish and destroy Ahab and Jezebel’s evil dynasty, and he also obliterated Baal’s worship in the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
When you read Israel’s history for the first time and come across the beginning of Jehu’s account, you have the impression that, finally, after a long history of evil and idolatrous kings, a righteous one would finally sit on the throne.
But Jehu is another example of a life that started well, only to end in mediocrity, spiritual blindness, and, ultimately, defeat.
He destroyed the idols of Baal, but not the golden calves in Dan and Bethel. He went beyond God’s command and led a senseless bloodbath. One decision at a time, this promising king turned away from God’s best by giving in to compromise and falling into temptation. And just like that – a life that would have been crowned in victory and reward left a trail of destruction and bondage.
Because he was devoted to Yahweh only to the point that it served his own interests.
On the surface, Jehu was carrying out God’s command and restoring His land, but in his heart, Jehu’s message to God was clear:
“I’ll give you this much. But not my all.”
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
Does that pierce the heart of any other honest Christian out there?
Seriously, how many Christians do you know, who started their journey completely dedicated to serving God, not matter what, only to give up in the middle of the way?
How many times have you found yourself judging them for their mistakes, bad decisions or compromise?
I know you have. Guilty as charged here too.
But can I tell you something? Do you know how easy it is to fall away from God’s best for you?
You do it just like King Jehu: One bad decision at a time. One small compromise at a time. One step in the wrong direction at a time. One yes to temptation at a time.
One. Just one time.
That’s what it takes for the devil to take a hold of your heart, make you cling to your golden calves and, before you know it, become so attached to that sparkly idol that you simply don’t want to let it go.
Oh, the golden calves! …
Believe me. If you don’t have one, the devil will certainly send one your way, sooner or later. Because if he does not get you to quit while facing a trial, he will send you something to get you to fall into temptation or compromise.
What he will never, ever do, is quit on trying to destroy your testimony and destiny. That, my friend, the devil will never do.
You better not forget that.
But thank God for His mercy and grace, praise Him for not giving up on us.
The story of Jehu was, for me, God’s warning:
“I have a plan for you. Either you are all in, or you are all out. The choice is yours.”
So I ask you…
Do you have a golden calf, secretly hidden somewhere in your heart… or closet?Hear the voice of the King who was Almost Great, shouting from the pages of his shattered story:
Take a hammer and destroy that golden calf. Do that before your steps take you so far away from the path Yahweh has for you, that your destiny is but a dream.
How is God encouraging you today?