Jehu had the basic qualities that could have made him a great success. From a human perspective, in fact, he was a successful king. His family ruled the northern kingdom long than any other. He was used by God as an instrument of punishment to Ahab’s evil dynasty, and he fiercely attacked Baal worship. He came close to being God’s kind of king, but he recklessly went beyond God’s commands and failed to continue with the obedient actions that began his reign. Within sight of victory, he settled for mediocrity.
Jehu was a man of immediate action but without ultimate purpose. His kingdom moved, but its destination was unclear. He eliminated one form of idolatry, Baal worship, only to uphold another by continuing to worship the golden calves Jeroboam had set up. He could have accomplished much for God if he had been obedient to the One who made him king. Even when he was carrying out God’s directions, Jehu’s style showed he was not fully aware of who was directing him.
As he did with Jehu, God gives each person strengths and abilities that will find their greatest usefulness only under his control. Outside that control, however, they don’t accomplish what they could and often become tools for evil. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to tell God of your willingness to be under his control. With his presence in your life, your natural strengths and abilities will be used to their greatest potential for the greatest good.
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Took the throne from Ahab’s family and destroyed his evil influence
- Founded the longest-lived dynasty of the northern kingdom
- Was anointed by Elijah and confirmed by Elisha
- Destroyed Baal worship
Weaknesses and mistakes:
- Had a reckless outlook on life that made him bold and prone to error
- Worshipped Jeroboam’s golden calves
- Was devoted to God only to the point that obedience served his own interests
Lessons from his life:
- Fierce commitment needs control because it can result in recklessness
- Obedience involves both action and direction
- Where: The northern kingdom of Israel
- Occupations: Commander in the army of Joram, king of Israel
- Relatives: Grandfather: Nimshi. Father: Jehoshaphat. Son: Jehoahaz
- Contemporaries: Elijah, Elisha, Ahab, Jezebel, Joram, Ahaziah
Key verse: “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” (2 Kings 10:31).
Jehu’s story is told in 1 Kings 19:16 – 2 Kings 10:36. He is also mentioned in 2 Kings 15:12; 2 Chronicles 22:7-9; Hosea 1:4, 5.