May 14 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants shall sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.” ~2 Kings 10:30

Sometimes God raises up the unlikeliest people to do his bidding. Such is Jehu, anointed by God to become the king of Israel. Jehu is a man with a reputation for reckless driving, a trait that matches his devil-may-care attitude and bad manners. He executes his duties like a modern-day mob boss taking revenge for an entire generation of offenses committed against his family. Though the king is overzealous in carrying out his campaign of cruelty, he is commended by the Lord for doing his duty. Jehu is rewarded for his obedience, and his dynasty lasts longer than that of any other northern king.

Jehu is not the most endearing man. He’s not the kind of king I would want sitting on the throne of my country; unless, of course, I was living during a period of great apostasy! But whether I like him or not, there is something about Jehu that God really likes. This man is not afraid to act in the face of so much evil. Ahab, his wicked queen, his successor, his children, his court, and all his minions are violent offenders of God’s Word. They hate both justice and mercy, and so they pervert the land, kill the prophets, exploit the people, and prostrate themselves before Baal. It takes a man with some moxie to stand up against this evil lot, and Jehu is just the man for the job.

Years ago, when I was dealing with a person who had a history of divisiveness in several congregations, I had to be unusually firm in my insistence that such behavior was not acceptable. I even had to get tough with his supporters during a meeting following his excommunication from the church. Later, I received a reproof from another church member explaining that I needed to show more patience and gentleness. I was gracious, but I wondered, Has he read the stories of Jehu and, yes, of Jesus making people mad?!

I think Christians, including me, are too gracious in some instances. I’m not sure God wants us to deal with evil and evil people with kid gloves. Sometimes He confronts sin without mercy. In the words of British writer Dorothy Sayers, “We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah . . . and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates [weak ministers] and pious old ladies” (Christian Letters to a Postmodern World). Perhaps there are times we need some colorful figures who aren’t afraid to confront evil. Whether it is in the church, the neighborhood, the school, the workplace, or the nation’s capital. Sometimes God needs people to stand up in the midst of a messed up world and say, “This isn’t right.   We are not going to tolerate this any more.” And that might mean people like you and me! Make no mistake about it, God will reward such bold, brave people.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.