Jesus is an angry King
In week two of our We Four Kings series, we focus on King Jehu. Jehu was a very unique king … a real crazy dude! Jehu was king about 700 years before Jesus, but they have something rather interesting in common. It’s probably going to sound a bit odd to you, and it’s more than likely against the grain of who you know Jesus to be, but the thing they share in common is, Jehu was an angry king. You’re likely going to squirm a bit with the mention of that association, but yes, Jesus is an angry King. Let me use scripture to paint a picture of Jesus that you may not have had before. This isn’t all Jesus is as King, but it’s helpful and good to add this image to the others that scripture paints. Check out Revelation 19:11-18…
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:king of kings and lord of lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”
Crazy, right?! But also absolutely true. And here’s something you can’t miss. We typically see anger as a bad thing, and our view of God is that He’s mostly loving and forgiving and then every once in a while He does something really horrible. In our heads, we separate the “horrible things” and see them as bad, when they’re really an illustration of God’s goodness. In the math of our world, bad does not equal good. In God’s economy, however, His anger and judgement is a sign of His justice and mercy. God would not be just if there was not consequence for sin, and harsh consequence for rooted sin … and make no mistake, He is just. In God’s economy, His anger is good.
Jehu arrives on the scene near the end of the carpet bomb that was King Ahab. Ahab had all but decimated the God’s place in the hearts of the people. And if King Ahab himself wasn’t bad enough, his wife Jezebel was even worse. This wrecking ball couple drove a wedge deeper and deeper between God and His people. This wedge was on full display in the most despicable and destructive act of the king and queen in setting up the worship of the false god, Baal. This false god and the means by which it was worshiped were full on NC-17 and beyond. Disgusting, disgusting practices involved in Baal worship.
In the midst of this deplorable scene, was this man Jehu and the prophet Elijah. Jehu was the commander of God’s army and Elijah was God’s prophet. Amidst a larger narrative, God reveals himself to Elijah and instructs him to go and appoint Jehu as the next King of Israel. Elijah, in turn, instructs another prophet to go to Jehu — and this is really good — and run up to him at full speed, pull him aside and really quickly pour oil on Jehu to anoint him as the next king and then high tail it out of there. Elijah knew that if anyone else found out about what he was asking this prophet to do, they would hunt him down and kill the poor, subordinate prophet!
Jehu got up and went into the house. Then the prophet poured the oil on Jehu’s head and declared, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the Lord’s people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’” Then he opened the door and ran.
2 Kings 9:6-10
There were 2 outs, and God taps Jehu to go bat “cleanup.”
100 Years Later
You’ve gotta watch this week’s video to hear about what happens to Jezebel, but suffice it to say, Jehu followed God’s instructions and cleaned house. Problem is, Jehu enjoyed it a bit too much and then took it too far. In enacting God’s vengeance, King Jehu got bloodthirsty.
So Jehu killed everyone in Jezreel who remained of the house of Ahab, as well as all his chief men, his close friends and his priests, leaving him no survivor.
2 Kings 10:8-11
Jehu disobeyed God in taking his divine assignment too far. And just as before, God’s anger and judgement would fall on the head of the current king. A hundred years later, through the prophet Hosea, God decrees judgement on King Jehu.
Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.
Anger and Christmas
Jehu’s anger, the kind that takes it too far, is the kind that we understand. Jesus’ anger, however, is perfect and good. Jesus’ anger never goes too far, it isn’t without reason, it isn’t like a madman from heaven, it is very intentional and purposeful and it’s always displayed for a specific reason. And here is where we bring it back to the season we are in the midst of, and the celebration of a King born in a manger. In the act of coming to earth, being born and dying on a cross for our sins, Christ made a way for us. A way for us to escape the anger of a just God, escape the penalty of our sin. Jesus didn’t come to protect us from the devil. He didn’t come to protect us from each other. Jesus came and gave up His own life to protect us from God’s justice. You and I are Ahab and Jezebel, we are the 70 sons and Jehu and Peter and Judas. We deserve God’s anger and his justice, but Jesus willingly died on a cross and received in His own body the full wrath of God. He died in our place so that God’s justice could be satisfied and God’s grace could be administered. If you and I believe in Jesus, if we commit our full heart and selves to Him, we don’t have to be on the receiving end of God’s justice. Praise God, He sent Jesus! Praise Jesus, He died in our place! And all the people said, “Merry Christmas.”