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Sunday, December 04, 2016

[Matt's Messages] “I Will Avenge the Blood of My Servants”

“I Will Avenge the Blood of My Servants”
The King of Kings in the Books of Kings
December 4, 2016 :: 2 Kings 8:1-10:36  

I’m going to read a lot of scripture to you today (three chapters worth), but don’t you worry, I absolutely guarantee that it will not be boring!

These chapters are probably the most exciting chapters (and most gruesome) in the whole second book of kings. Action, adventure, blood, death, intrigue, suspense–these chapters have them all!

And here’s the title that I picked to sum up these three chapters in one quote from chapter 9, verse 7 where God through the prophet says, “I Will Avenge the Blood of My Servants.”

This is big story about the justice of God.

I tried to think of how to divide this up into shorter portions for preaching, maybe a chapter at a time, but I really think that these next several pieces all flow together to tell one big story about how our God brings perfect justice and rights every wrong.

He says, “I will avenge the blood of my servants.”

Now, perhaps, you haven’t been waiting for that in this book.

And that’s my fault (at least a little).

Back in 1 Kings, the LORD promised to bring justice to against the Ahab, Jezebel, and all of Ahab’s children. Do you remember that?

Ahab was a six-thumbs down king. The worst ever by far at that point.

And he married an 10-thumbs down queen.

And they killed the prophets of Yahweh by the dozens. By the hundreds. Maybe by the thousands!

And they brought in the worship of Baal and Asherah.

They led the country into rank idolatry.

And though Ahab died at the end of 1 Kings, Jezebel has yet died.

And Ahab’s son is the king. His line has continued.

It’s actually Ahab’s grandson who is the current king!

“I thought God had promised to bring justice?”

For the last few months I should have pointed this out every Sunday when I preached from 2 Kings.

All of those chapters where the prophet Elisha was bringing peace and joy and life and hope to God’s people, God’s faithful remnant–every single sermon should have included that line: “Huh. I thought God had promised to bring justice?”

In 1 Kings 19 when Elijah heard the small, still voice, he was told to anoint Elisha and also see that Hazael was anointed king over Aram and Jehu king over Israel.

But that hasn’t happened yet.

Elijah went to heaven on a fiery chariot before those things were accomplished.

And Elisha hasn’t done them yet, either!

“Huh. I thought God had promised to bring justice?”

He’s brought miracles.
He’s healed the waters and the death in the pot.
He’s taken care of widows.
He’s taken care of Syrian generals with leprosy!
He’s made an axhead float.
He’s blinded Arameans and opened the eyes of his servants.
He’s lifted a famine and made some lepers very happy and sent the Arameans packing all by Himself.

But so far, no justice.

“Huh. I thought God had promised to bring justice?”

Well, now it’s time.

We’ve just about reached the end of the story of Elisha, and it’s all about God’s avenging justice.

2 Kings chapter 8, verse 1.

It starts with one last happy story.  Which is also a story about justice. V.1

“Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, ‘Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the LORD has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.’ The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.

At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to the king to beg for her house and land.”

Remember this lady? She was mom in chapter 4 whose son died and then the LORD through Elisah brought him back to life.

She’s had to move away and when she got back someone (maybe the government) had seized her land.

So she’s looking to get not just her boy back but her land back and something we call “justice.”

What are the chances that she’ll get it? V.4

“The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, ‘Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.’”

It’s surprising to see Gehazi here because he was given leprosy back in chapter 5. Perhaps this story is out of chronological order–the Bible writers often do that–or perhaps the king doesn’t care that he’s leprous. He’s getting used to have lepers around.

But he’s asking Gehazi to regale him with Elisha stories. Especially the miracles. Especially the ones that not everybody knows about. V.5

“Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to beg the king for her house and land. [What coincidence! What timing!] Gehazi said, ‘This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.’

The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, ‘Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.’”

I love that story! It’s a great story about how there really are no coincidences and that God’s timing is absolutely perfect. And it’s a story about how God arranges things so that there is justice.

Now, what should we be saying when read that?

“Huh. That’s great. She got justice.

But I thought God had promised to bring justice for the blood of His servants. What about all of those guys that Ahab and Jezebel killed?”

Verse 7.

“Elisha went to Damascus [in Syria!], and Ben-Hadad king of Aram was ill. When the king was told, ‘The man of God has come all the way up here,’ he said to Hazael, ‘Take a gift with you and go to meet the man of God. Consult the LORD through him; ask him, 'Will I recover from this illness?'’

Now, this is a turning point in the story of Elisha.

He’s been doing miracles that bring grace and life, but now he’ll be prophesying mostly judgment and death.

He goes out of the country to Syria. It doesn’t say why, but he’s nearby to the king of Aram, Ben-Hadad who has been the enemy of Israel for many chapters now.

And Ben-Hadad is sick and is worried about his future. He’s learned by now (maybe from Naaman) that Elisha can tell the future.

So he sends one of his guys to find out what is going to happen.

And his guy’s name is Hazael.

And that should ring bells for you and for me.

In 1 Kings 19, the LORD told the prophet to anoint Hazael king over Aram.

And he’s supposed to be a king that brings vengeance. V.9

“Hazael went to meet Elisha, taking with him as a gift forty camel-loads of all the finest wares of Damascus. He went in and stood before him, and said, ‘Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, 'Will I recover from this illness?'’

Elisha answered, ‘Go and say to him, 'You will certainly recover'; but the LORD has revealed to me that he will in fact die.’

He stared at him with a fixed gaze until Hazael felt ashamed. Then the man of God began to weep. ‘Why is my lord weeping?’ asked Hazael. ‘Because I know the harm you will do to the Israelites,’ he answered. ‘You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.’

Hazael said, ‘How could your servant, a mere dog, accomplish such a feat?’ ‘The LORD has shown me that you will become king of Aram,’ answered Elisha.

Then Hazael left Elisha and returned to his master. When Ben-Hadad asked, ‘What did Elisha say to you?’ Hazael replied, ‘He told me that you would certainly recover.’ But the next day he took a thick cloth, soaked it in water and spread it over the king's face, so that he died. Then Hazael succeeded him as king.”

I told you that this wouldn’t be boring!

There’s an assassination for you right there.

Elisha tells Hazael that Ben-Hadad would recover just fine if he was allowed to. But Hazael will murder him in his sleep and take over the kingdom.

God has shown this to Elisha. It’s part of His plan. But he takes no pleasure in it.

Hazael seems to take pleasure in it! “That’s sounds cool, but how could I ever do it?”

“God says it will happen.” Which is no excuse for what he does. Hazael takes matters into his own hands and becomes the king of Aram by treachery.

Now, how about the kings of Judah and Israel?

We haven’t seen much of them for the last few chapters. The king of Judah almost not all.

So, now in verse 16, we get an update. Who is king? Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat. V.16

“In the fifth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, when Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat began his reign as king of Judah. He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years.”

What’s next?

Thumbs up or thumbs down, right?

This is in the South remember. The north is always bad. What about this guy in the South? He’s related to David....v.18

“He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD.”

Two thumbs down.

He married into and followed the wicked family in the North.

But he wasn’t wiped out? Why? Because God always keeps His promises. V.19

“Nevertheless, for the sake of his servant David, the LORD was not willing to destroy Judah. He had promised to maintain a lamp for David and his descendants forever. [That’s in fact, why we have Christmas. Because a son of David was born in Bethlehem that lives today to keep God’s promises! V.20]

In the time of Jehoram, Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king. So Jehoram went to Zair with all his chariots. The Edomites surrounded him and his chariot commanders, but he rose up and broke through by night; his army, however, fled back home. To this day Edom has been in rebellion against Judah. Libnah revolted at the same time. As for the other events of Jehoram's reign, and all he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah? Jehoram rested with his fathers and was buried with them in the City of David. And Ahaziah his son succeeded him as king.”

Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat was nothing to write home about. He barely survived and his kingdom shrank under his rule.

How about his son, Ahaziah? Thumbs up or thumbs down? V.25

In the twelfth year of Joram son of Ahab king of Israel, Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah began to reign. Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem one year. His mother's name was Athaliah, a granddaughter of Omri king of Israel [Probably the daughter of Jezebel. Remember her name. She’ll come back into the story. Thumbs up or thumbs down? V.27]

He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab and did evil in the eyes of the LORD, as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab's family. Ahaziah went with Joram son of Ahab [in the north] to war against Hazael [the new] king of Aram at Ramoth Gilead. The Arameans wounded Joram; so King Joram returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him at Ramoth in his battle with Hazael king of Aram. Then Ahaziah son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to Jezreel to see Joram son of Ahab, because he had been wounded.”

Now, I’m not going to spend any time explaining all of that, but I’ll just say this. If you do the math on the reigns of these two kings, North and South, Joram son of Ahab in the North and Ahaziah son of Joram in the South, you find out that both of these guys are due to die in the same year.

And here they both are in the same place. Jezreel.

And the king of the north has a military leader that has the name Jehu.

Everything is now in place for God’s vengeance to fall.

2 Kings chapter 9.

“The prophet Elisha summoned a man from the company of the prophets and said to him, ‘Tuck your cloak into your belt, take this flask of oil with you and go to Ramoth Gilead. When you get there, look for Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. Go to him, get him away from his companions and take him into an inner room. Then take the flask and pour the oil on his head and declare, 'This is what the LORD says: I anoint you king over Israel.' Then open the door and run; don't delay!’

So the young man, the prophet, went to Ramoth Gilead. When he arrived, he found the army officers sitting together. ‘I have a message for you, commander,’ he said. ‘For which of us?’ asked Jehu. ‘For you, commander,’ he replied. 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.”

I told you it wouldn’t be boring!

Do you know what this makes Jehu?

It makes him a Messiah.

What does Messiah mean? An anointed ruler.

Jehu is the only king of the northern kingdom to be anointed.

And he is anointed to bring God’s vengeance.

We don’t like that word. For most of us vengeance conjures up the connotation of meanness, beastliness, unrighteous anger.

But when vengeance is decreed by God, it means justice.

It means righting the wrong and making everything right by righteous force.

The time has come for God to avenge the blood of His servants.

And He has anointed Jehu as the messiah to do it. V.11

“When Jehu went out to his fellow officers, one of them asked him, ‘Is everything all right? Why did this madman come to you?’ ‘You know the man and the sort of things he says,’ Jehu replied. ‘That's not true!’ they said. [You’re covered in oil!] ‘Tell us.’

Jehu said, ‘Here is what he told me: 'This is what the LORD says: I anoint you king over Israel.'’ [And they believed him.] They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, ‘Jehu is king!’

So Jehu son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi, conspired against Joram. (Now Joram and all Israel had been defending Ramoth Gilead against Hazael king of Aram, but King Joram had returned to Jezreel to recover from the wounds the Arameans had inflicted on him in the battle with Hazael king of Aram.) Jehu said, ‘If this is the way you feel, don't let anyone slip out of the city to go and tell the news in Jezreel.’ Then he got into his chariot and rode to Jezreel, because Joram was resting there and Ahaziah king of Judah had gone down to see him.

When the lookout standing on the tower in Jezreel saw Jehu's troops approaching, he called out, ‘I see some troops coming.’ ‘Get a horseman,’ Joram ordered. ‘Send him to meet them and ask, 'Do you come in peace?'’

[That’s the key question here. “Do you come in peace?” v.18]

The horseman rode off to meet Jehu and said, ‘This is what the king says: 'Do you come in peace?'’ ‘What do you have to do with peace?’ Jehu replied. ‘Fall in behind me.’ The lookout reported, ‘The messenger has reached them, but he isn't coming back.’

So the king sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, ‘This is what the king says: 'Do you come in peace?'’ Jehu replied, ‘What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.’ The lookout reported, ‘He has reached them, but he isn't coming back either. The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi–he drives like a madman.’

‘Hitch up my chariot,’ Joram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. [Oh boy. You can see what’s happening now!]

When Joram saw Jehu he asked, ‘Have you come in peace, Jehu?’

‘How can there be peace,’ Jehu replied, ‘as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?’ [And then he knew!] Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, ‘Treachery, Ahaziah!’

Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. Jehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer, ‘Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when the LORD made this prophecy about him: 'Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, declares the LORD, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares the LORD.' Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of the LORD.’

How many times have we seen that God always keeps His promises?

How many times do we need to be told that that includes His threats?

“In accordance with the word of the LORD.”

v.27 “When Ahaziah king of Judah saw what had happened, he fled up the road to Beth Haggan. Jehu chased him, shouting, ‘Kill him too!’ They wounded him in his chariot on the way up to Gur near Ibleam, but he escaped to Megiddo and died there. His servants took him by chariot to Jerusalem and buried him with his fathers in his tomb in the City of David. (In the eleventh year of Joram son of Ahab, Ahaziah had become king of Judah.)”

Jehu has killed, not just one king today but two. Not just the king of the Israel in the north, but the king of Judah of South. What will happen down there?

And has Jehu gone too far?

It’s Jezebel’s turn now. It’s been a long time coming. V.30

“Then Jehu went [back] to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. [Always the queen. Always the idolatrous harlot. Always defiant and unrepentant even though she knows her time is up. V.31]

As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, ‘Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?’

He looked up at the window and called out, ‘Who is on my side? Who?’ Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. ‘Throw her down!’ Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot. Jehu went in and ate and drank. ‘Take care of that cursed woman,’ he said, ‘and bury her, for she was a king's daughter.’ But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. They went back and told Jehu, who said, ‘This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh. Jezebel's body will be like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, 'This is Jezebel.'’”

I told you it wouldn’t be boring.

Jehu has not come in peace. He’s come in vengeance. The LORD’s vengeance.

Chapter 10, verse 1.

“Now there were in Samaria seventy sons of the house of Ahab. [Elisha said that God has said that they all need go.] So Jehu wrote letters and sent them to Samaria: to the officials of Jezreel, to the elders and to the guardians of Ahab's children. He said, ‘As soon as this letter reaches you, since your master's sons are with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city and weapons, choose the best and most worthy of your master's sons and set him on his father's throne. Then fight for your master's house.’ [Ready or not, here I come.]

But they were terrified and said, ‘If two kings could not resist him, how can we?’ So the palace administrator, the city governor, the elders and the guardians sent this message to Jehu: ‘We are your servants and we will do anything you say. We will not appoint anyone as king; you do whatever you think best.’

Then Jehu wrote them a second letter, saying, ‘If you are on my side and will obey me, take the heads of your master's sons and come to me in Jezreel by this time tomorrow.’ Now the royal princes, seventy of them, were with the leading men of the city, who were rearing them. When the letter arrived, these men took the princes and slaughtered all seventy of them. They put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jehu in Jezreel. When the messenger arrived, he told Jehu, ‘They have brought the heads of the princes.’ Then Jehu ordered, ‘Put them in two piles at the entrance of the city gate until morning.’ The next morning Jehu went out. He stood before all the people and said, ‘You are innocent. It was I who conspired against my master and killed him, but who killed all these?

Know then, that not a word the LORD has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The LORD has done what he promised through his servant Elijah.’ 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.”

I told you that it wouldn’t be boring.

The author doesn’t let us think for a second that God is not in this vengeance.  V.10, “Know the that not a word the LORD has spoken...will fail. The LORD has done what He promised.”

Including His threats.

Now, I tend to think that in this section, Jehu starts to go it on his own. V.12

“Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds, he met some relatives of Ahaziah king of Judah and asked, ‘Who are you?’ They said, ‘We are relatives of Ahaziah, and we have come down to greet the families of the king and of the queen mother.’ ‘Take them alive!’ he ordered. So they took them alive and slaughtered them by the well of Beth Eked–forty-two men. He left no survivor.”

Now I’m sure he could have made the excuse that the two royal families have intermarried, and so this was bringing God’s justice to bear on them. But just like killing King Ahaziah wasn’t in his marching orders, I’m pretty sure that killing these guys wasn’t either.

But he’s got the taste of blood now.

V.15

“After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Recab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, ‘Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?’ ‘I am,’ Jehonadab answered. ‘If so,’ said Jehu, ‘give me your hand.’ So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot. Jehu said, ‘Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD.’ Then he had him ride along in his chariot.

When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab's family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the LORD spoken to Elijah. [And then he got really tricky. V.18]

Then Jehu brought all the people together and said to them, ‘Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much. [Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good!]

Now summon all the prophets of Baal, all his ministers and all his priests. See that no one is missing, because I am going to hold a great sacrifice for Baal. Anyone who fails to come will no longer live.’ But Jehu was acting deceptively in order to destroy the ministers of Baal. [It’s a plot.] Jehu said, ‘Call an assembly in honor of Baal.’ So they proclaimed it.

Then he sent word throughout Israel, and all the ministers of Baal came; not one stayed away. They crowded into the temple of Baal until it was full from one end to the other. And Jehu said to the keeper of the wardrobe, ‘Bring robes for all the ministers of Baal.’ So he brought out robes for them. Then Jehu and Jehonadab son of Recab went into the temple of Baal. Jehu said to the ministers of Baal, ‘Look around and see that no servants of the LORD are here with you–only ministers of Baal.’

So they went in to make sacrifices and burnt offerings. Now Jehu had posted eighty men outside with this warning: ‘If one of you lets any of the men I am placing in your hands escape, it will be your life for his life.’ As soon as Jehu had finished making the burnt offering, he ordered the guards and officers: ‘Go in and kill them; let no one escape.’ So they cut them down with the sword. The guards and officers threw the bodies out and then entered the inner shrine of the temple of Baal. They brought the sacred stone out of the temple of Baal and burned it. They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day. So Jehu destroyed Baal worship in Israel.”

Can you believe it?

I’m sure the Israelites never thought that that could happen.

Remember just a few pages ago how there were Baal priests everywhere and it seemed like Baal worship would never end?

And one day it did.

One day it was gone, just like that. Because the Jehu the messiah came and through him the Lord avenged the blood of His servants.

So, does this mean that Jehu is two thumbs up? V.29

“However, he did not turn away from the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit–the worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan. [Baal is gone. But that doesn’t mean that Jehu has a good heart. In fact, he didn’t go far enough with his reforms! V.30]

The LORD said to Jehu, ‘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 will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation.’ [One thumb up. The only king of Israel who gets one thumb up. V.31]

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.

[And the nation paid for it. V.32]

In those days the LORD began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael [as prophesied] overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory east of the Jordan in all the land of Gilead (the region of Gad, Reuben and Manasseh), from Aroer by the Arnon Gorge through Gilead to Bashan.

As for the other events of Jehu's reign, all he did, and all his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Jehu rested with his fathers and was buried in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son succeeded him as king. The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years.”

I told you it wouldn’t be boring.

But what does it mean for us today?

It’s very bloody story and hard to stare at, isn’t it?

I love that the prophet, when he sees the future weeps over the vengeance to come.

But I also love that the vengeance shows us God’s perfect justice.

Let me give you three very quick points of application.

#1. MARVEL AT THE PATIENCE OF GOD.

When we see all of that vengeance fall, we can easily forget that God has been very patient with everybody concerned.

Chapter after chapter people are given the opportunity to repent and make amends.

But Jezebel just suits up and puts on her Maybelline.

And stands there defiantly.

It’s amazing that we are not all toast, isn’t it?

I know that I have a hard time being patient and longsuffering with people.

And I don’t have the responsibility of bringing justice for my servants the prophets who have been slaughtered!

The apostle Peter says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. [But he won’t be patient forever.] But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare” (2 Peter 3:9-10).

But right now, He’s being patient.

And so should we be.

Because His timing is not off at all. He can swoop in and connect the Shunnamite mom with the king at the very moment when Gehazi is telling the very story of her son.

He doesn’t get the timing wrong. Ever.

He’s being patient. And that should make us marvel and also repentant.

Don’t put off your repentance thinking you’ve got forever!

You don’t know how much time you have.

He does, but you don’t.  He always keeps His promises, including His threats.

He’s just being patient right now.

#2. TREMBLE AT THE VENGEANCE OF GOD.

When the LORD finally does unleash His justice, it is terrible to behold.

And don’t think that this just an Old Testament thing with God.

This Summer we read the book of Revelation together in our Family Bible Week class.

It’s in there.

God promises to avenge the blood of His servants, and He will.

What happened to Jezebel, what happened to the priest of Baal, is a picture of what will happen in the final judgment.

And it will be the Messiah who does, God’s Anointed One.

Read Revelation 19 some time. And tremble. Here are a few verses from it.

John writes, “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 makes 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. Out of his mouth comes 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 unlike Jehu, he won’t make any mistakes. He won’t go too far or not far enough.

His justice will be just right.

“Is it peace?”

“Do you come in peace?”

The answer is, there will be peace when Jesus brings it in full.

“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

Tremble at that.

Don’t look away. Know that this is our God.

Our God is not just a kind and merciful God. He’s not just an old uncle who loves to hand out presents at Christmas with a twinkle in his eye.

Our God is a consuming fire.

And He will avenge the blood of his servants.

Tremble with joy at that!

I mean it. It is good news that God is just and will bring perfect justice to the world.

Every wrong will be made right.

Nobody will get away with anything.

That’s worth celebrating!

That’s how it is in Revelation. Here’s the first verse of chapter 19:

“After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments.’”

He’s going to bring us perfect justice!

Hallelujah!

Have you been hurt by someone?

Does it feel like they’re going to get away with it?

They won’t.

Their sin will either be judged at the Cross or in the eternal judgment.

And it will be perfectly dealt with.

Justice will be done and will be seen to be done.

God will avenge the blood of His servants.

#3. HOPE IN THE GRACE OF GOD.

This story isn’t over yet.

Jehu dies and things are not perfect yet.

But there is another king coming who will make everything right.

He’ll be two thumbs up, everything thumb you can think of up!

And He will perfectly balance grace and justice.

In fact, He will take the justice on Himself.

He will take God’s vengeance on Himself.

That’s what the Cross is, isn’t it?

The wrath of God applied to the Son of God.

The just vengeance of God applied to God the Son.

To give us grace.

That’s what this table is all about.

As John Newton wrote:

Let us wonder grace and justice 
Join and point to mercy’s store 
When through grace in Christ our trust is 
Justice smiles and asks no more 
He Who washed us with His blood 
He Who washed us with His blood 
He Who washed us with His blood 
Has secured our way to God


***

Messages in this Series:

01. Who Will Be King?
02. The Wisdom of the King
03. The Temple of the King
04. The Incomparable King of the Temple
05. A Breathtaking King
06. The Turned King and the Torn Kingdom
07. The Two Kings and the Tearing of the Kingdom
08. The Word of the LORD
09. In the Eyes of the LORD
10. The LORD Lives
11. The LORD Is God!
12. The LORD Is Still God.
13. “You Will Know that I am the LORD”
14. "Thus Saith the LORD!"
15. What the LORD Says
16. Is There No God in Israel?
17. Where Is the God of Elijah?
18. How NOT To Relate to God
19. God of Wonders
20. No God in the All the World Except in Israel
21. LORD, Open Our Eyes!

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