King Joram demanded, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”Jehu replied, “How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are all around us?”
(2 Kings 9:22)
The biblical stories of kingly successions in Judah and Israel are not pretty, but replete with political intrigue, generational curses, murder, warfare, and betrayal. Reading these narratives, I can’t help relating them to the current state of things in America.
Here’s the story, briefly. One of the young prophets in Elisha’s entourage was ordered by the LORD to anoint Jehu as king over Israel. This happened while Joram, son of the evil Ahab, was still on Israel’s throne. After the anointing ceremony, Jehu made his way to the palace where King Joram was recuperating from wounds of battle. Judah’s King Ahaziah was there visiting him. This is significant because the righteous kings of Judah typically avoided alliances with the wicked kings of Israel, but Ahaziah was clearly not one of the righteous ones. It appears he and Joram were buddies. Ahaziah was as compromised and idolatrous as Joram.
Jehu’s mission was to seize the kingship from Joram, and in the process, to kill every remaining relative of King Ahab. The watchman on the roof of Joram’s palace alerted the king that someone was coming across the plains of Jezreel with horses and chariots. Joram dispatched a messenger to ask the reckless rider if he came in peace. Jehu’s response was, “What do you know about peace? Fall in behind me!” The messenger didn’t return, so Joram sent another, and Jehu gave him the same answer. The second messenger didn’t return either, so Joram climbed into his own chariot to meet Jehu face to face, man to man.
When Joram approached he asked, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”, Jehu answered his question with another question: “How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are all around us?”
This question stopped me in my tracks. I started to look around the landscape of life in America in December of 2019.
We keep hearing about how divided we are as a nation. On the surface, it is a political divide. People who support the president versus people who despise him and want to take him down. Dig a little bit deeper and it looks like a culture war. People who are not able to get along because they differ sharply in their values and worldviews. But at the depth, at its roots, it is entirely spiritual. It is rooted not in differing ideologies, but in shared idolatry.
How can there be peace when millions of American babies are aborted every year, like babies were sacrificed to the god Molech? How can there be peace when sexual confusion and perversion are rampant as in Sodom? How can there be peace when thousands are given to violence like the depraved citizens of Ninevah? How can there be peace when people seethe with hatred for those who hold different beliefs, like so many of the political operatives in the days of the prophets? How can there be peace when so many bow at altars of greed and materialism, and others lust for power at the expense of the weak and vulnerable? How can there be peace when so-called “journalists” disseminate deceptive propaganda on every side?
American culture is in the spiritual grip of Jezebel, the queen who represents the killing and persecution of God’s righteous servants. She who despises everything good, pure, innocent, and wholesome. The spirit that tugs at peoples’ natural appetites, pulling them into addiction, insanity, depravity, and bondage.
How can there be peace?
Only with repentance and revival of hearts. Only with the freedom the Gospel of the Kingdom brings into the world. We need a nation of Josiahs. We need leaders who will tear down altars of secularism, especially when they’ve been fashioned within the walls of our churches. We need lovers of his Word and doers of his word, without apology. We need an army of peacemakers who feed the poor and visit the prisoners and speak words of life. We need prophets and intercessors who will war faithfully in the Spirit in behalf of those in bondage.
We need people like Jesus who walk in his authority and his deep compassion.
You can be sure of this: The Lord set apart the godly for himself.
The Lord will answer when I call to him. Don’t sin by letting anger control you.
Think about it overnight and remain silent. Selah.
Offer sacrifices in the right spirit and trust the Lord.
Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”
Let your face smile on us, Lord.
You have given me greater joy
than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.
In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.