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The Killing Fields (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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July 24, 2023 6:00 am

The Killing Fields (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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July 24, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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God, of course, in Christ. We are to reflect this character of God through the message we preach and hopefully through the lives that we live, through faith, through the Word of God. We uphold what God has declared and it is exclusively given to Christianity to do this. No other religion on earth can give the true Word of God.

And this was the case with the Jews during the age of the law. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of 2nd Kings.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of 2nd Kings Chapter 10 as he begins his message, The Killing Fields. 2nd Kings Chapter 10, exciting stuff. These lessons are preserved for us to familiarize ourselves with, analyze, so that the Holy Spirit can draw from them later. For me, I do think about when I'm driving sometimes, he drove his chariot like Jehu. And it's more of a rebuke, not a compliment.

Watch that road rage, kid. But that's an example. These stories are meaningful and not just things to entertain us. The Killing Fields, that's the title for this consideration. These were not battlefields.

They were indeed killing fields. Slaughter is going to just cover these pages of Jehu, his life, is a judgment on the political and the religious wickedness and its influences in the Northern Kingdom. And that should mean something, because we want to see politicians dealt with, the wicked ones.

And here in Scripture, when we read of the princes, etc., they're part of that political structure, their influence over the land. Those whom Jehu was dispatched to judge with the sword were wicked people. But Jehu himself was wicked. And he will exceed his orders and begin extending his slaughter into the Davidic line, the descendants of David.

And we'll get to that. And so Jehu slaughters Ahab's descendants. Well, he had a license to kill.

We considered that last. He slaughters Ahaziah's 42 brothers. He did not have license to do that, though they were sympathizers with the house of Ahab. He strikes down the prophets of Baal.

Well, there would be cheering on that one. And then he reigns in Israel. And it was unfortunately a reign that was not governed by God.

But God, of course, restricted his reign nonetheless. So that God uses a man like Jehu as his scourge. Just because God used him does not mean he was in fellowship with God.

And there's a lesson right there. In Scripture, God is known to use those who are unfaithful to achieve his goals. God uses Satan, the enemy of God's people. And as you go through it in Scripture, it makes perfect sense in this cursed world that we live in, under the curse from the fall of man.

This never excuses the personal sin of the individual being used by God. So here's Jehu. He's the perfect instrument. And he goes through from point to point like lightning bolts, carrying out his orders. But then he exceeds the orders. And to make things worse, he upholds the worship of those idols that represent enemies of God. And he is going to be held accountable for that personally. And it has already been judged and sentenced.

And we can only assume after that. He strikes dead any who might claim the right to the throne. He's king now. God has had the prophet Elijah send his servant to anoint Jehu king. And as was the custom of the kings in those days, any potential threat was to be eliminated before it blossomed. We went through this with the life of David and the split of the nation, the kingdom shortly after Saul's death.

It was not a final split. That would come after Solomon. He would, Jehu, would go on to strike the court officials of the kingdom, of the northern kingdom, the priest of Baal, the family and friends.

He slaughtered anybody that got in his way. This is a good point for us to remember that this is Old Testament law. This is not New Testament grace. This is the age of the law, not the age of grace. We live in the age of grace. They lived under the law. The age of the law went from Mount Sinai to Calvary.

Then the transition into this period of grace. And this age that Jehu was in, during this time, God preserved Israel so that he could produce, among other things, but mainly, so that God would produce the prophets who would announce to the world and prepare the earth for the coming of Christ. One Messiah is the Jewish alternative. Also to demonstrate that many will opt out of true religion. Many of these in the Old Testament, these Jews, they opted for decadence rather than for obedience and devotion to Yahweh. And they were raised with the right religion. It wasn't as though they were raised in a pagan environment, although some of the Jews have that in their history.

But overall, they were raised with the right stuff and they did the wrong thing nonetheless. And we see that today. It is part of the war that all of us are engaged in.

And so we try to invest so much in our children in this fight. This present age of grace that we live, of course, is designed to show truth and kindness to Christ's likeness of God. In other words, God, of course, in Christ. And we are to reflect this character of God through the message we preach and hopefully through the lives that we live, through faith, through the Word of God. We uphold what God has declared and it is exclusively given to Christianity to do this. No other religion on earth can give the true Word of God. And this was the case with the Jews during the age of the law. In fact, the mission of Christ being one of mercy, not judgment, perplexed the great prophet John the Baptizer.

He couldn't figure it out. Are you the coming one or do we look for another? Why am I still stuck in jail if you are the Messiah?

You're supposed to be dealing with our enemies. Well, this was not, Jesus did not, he was putting an end to the age of intervention and bringing in salvation. And that's why Jesus said in Matthew 26 verse 53, Or do you think that I cannot now pray to my Father and He will provide me with more than 12 legions of angels? And so there the Lord is saying, I can interfere with this. I can do like Jehu. I can smite the wicked right here on the spot. But that's not why I'm here. And so these dispensations and the theologians and they've done a fairly good job at this. They've marked about seven of them. You can go up to 11.

You can do a little bit more if you want to be a little flexible here and there. But overall, for instance, when man was created, it was the age of innocence. There was no knowledge of sin. And then, of course, came the fall. And so these are charted out in the scripture. This is the introduction I'm giving to this story of Jehu. All of this to say as we watch him be used as God's scourge that we do not say this is for the New Testament church. We can go do this to our enemy.

So we want to sometimes. We just want, just Lord, can you just pause the age of grace for about five minutes and just reactivate the law just five minutes. That's all I'm asking. Punch this guy in the nose and then we'll be back to grace.

I'll pray for him. Anyway, verse one now of 2 Kings chapter 10. Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria and Jehu wrote and sent letters to Samaria to the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to those who reared Ahab's sons saying, now before we get to verse two, according to Hebrew phraseology, the way they use their language, the idioms, the vernacular, the seventy sons, the sons includes grandsons and just the offspring. And there would have been quite a number of them when you factor in the multiple wives, the harem, the concubines, and then the sons of the kings would have, you know, a harem and just a prolific people in the palace area who could afford this. We know from 1 Kings 20 that Ahab had multiple wives even though he's dead and his son Jo-ram has just been killed by Jehu. So there are going to be a lot of kinfolk in the palace left behind after the death of Ahab and Ahab's son Jo-ram. These sons and grandsons are the male descendants that represent a threat to Jehu and the northern kingdom overall because with them is the preaching of Baal worship. This was why God was judging them. They were spreading this and it was seeping into the southern kingdom also. And it's going to be put to an end.

They will still have problems but they will be slowed down. These descendants of Ahab would have claimed the right to get justice and kill Jehu for killing Jo-ram. The cycle of vengeance would have gone on and he knows this and he's putting an end to it. There are grounds for considering the number 70 here, used here, as symbolic and not literal. You look back at in the judges Abdon had 70 descendants and then Abimelech, he was the first in the age of the judges, he was the first of the Jews recorded to claim himself to establish himself as king. That didn't go well but he killed his 70 brothers. And so you say well is that a literal number? Well it certainly could be or it could be a poetic way of saying he had a lot of them.

Either one is fine I think. It doesn't do any violence to the veracity of the word when you begin to look at how the Jews did right things you get to see this pattern evolve at least potentially. To the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders and to those who are reared in Ahab's sons. Now he's writing this letter to them. Jehu is in Jezreel 25 miles from Samaria where he's sending the letter. Evidently leaders from Jezreel have ran up to Samaria and he's addressing them also in that city and there are the caregivers of King Ahab's descendants. Verse two, now as soon as this letter comes to you since your master's sons are with you and you have chariots and horses, a fortified city also and weapons. Verse three, choose the best qualified of your master's sons, set him on his father's throne and fight for your master's house. Jehu, well first off Samaria was far more defensible than Jezreel. It was just a naturally fortified city with the hills and the delves and just made it difficult for an enemy to come against them.

Probably one of the best in the land. Jehu playing the psychological war that he plays, he says pick a leader for yourself to war against me because I'm on my way and I'm bringing my army with me and so I want you guys to be ready. So you know I've killed your king and unless you see me as king, prepare to defend yourself. So he's playing head games with them. He suspected that they did not have the nerve for war against him, having the reputation he had and he felt that they would surrender their courage to their imagination. He started thinking about you know what this guy can do, what he will do to them. They're like you know we might want to just join with him. Verse four, and there here's the proof of course, but they were exceedingly afraid and said look two kings could not stand up to him.

How can we stand? And of course he killed Joram, the son of Ahab with an arrow through the heart and he had on command Ahaziah, king of Judah, shot with an arrow. He was wounded, shot with an arrow, he was wounded and chased him down and eventually they retrieved him and killed him.

Most humans have not killed another human. Jehu killed without hesitation when he felt it was necessary. I don't know that he was enjoying it. I think there was some of that for some. I think he kind of enjoyed killing Jezebel, but some of the others I think he felt this was his duty and it made perfect sense.

In fact, in many ways even though he's slaughtering these people, he's had he not averted war with his terrorist tactics, there would have been more deaths through the battlefields that would have come to be. So when you look at it that way, it's not as gory as it may sound just reading the verses. Verse five, and he who was in charge of the house and he who was in charge of the city and the elders also and those who reared the sun sent to Jehu saying, we are your servants. We will do all you tell us, but we will not make anyone king.

Do what is good in your sight. So they are surrendering without terms. The overseer of the palace, the overseer of the city, the heads, those who are the mentors and teachers, the educators of the princes in the palace, that's who are speaking up there in verse five. Verse six now, then he wrote a second letter to them saying, if you are for me and will obey my voice, take the heads of the men, your master's sons and come to me at Jezreel by this time tomorrow.

Now the king's son, 70 persons, were with the great men of the city who were rearing them. And as for your stickler for detail, you might say, well, see, there are 70 persons. That's the literal.

Well, you can't argue with that, but it still could be general. Anyway, Jehu says, prove it. You're going to be loyal to me.

I want you to prove it. Now the Hebrew wording here, I'm told, is intentionally ambiguous, which is not a surprise. Jehu is not only tough, terrifying, but he is very shrewd. His request could mean you leaders bring the guardians of Ahab's sons to me at Jezreel, according to the Hebrew. Or, according to the Hebrew, his request could be interpreted as telling them to kill Ahab's male descendants. So in the Hebrew, those who really get that language are saying to us, he's being intentionally ambiguous.

You say, why is that? Well, he wants them to do the killing, and he doesn't want to get blamed for it. And he knows they're going to know who he is, and they're going to connect the dots, and they're going to kill these people. Because they're going to read into the letter, we know what he wants. And so this ambiguity allows him to distance himself from further acts of violence in the eyes of the people. Not us, we read the story, and we say, Jehu, this is you. But he's justified in this. Ahab's house has to go.

They're doing more damage by living than being taken out of the way. He's not going to have a lot of shame, none. Not because he's a sociopath or a narcissistic type of character that cannot feel shame. Those type of people, the Bible says the wicked know no shame. They can't feel it. Decent people have a sense of shame. And Jehu is not going to feel shame because he feels justified.

So that's, I think, an interesting point. As you look at, for instance, the news media, the journalists and the liberal media, they have no shame. They cause more problems.

They could stop problems. They are diabolical. And you call them out on it, and they don't flinch. It doesn't matter to them. And there are many politicians that you can catch them in the act. They don't care. It doesn't mean anything to them. But they'll turn that on those who have a decent sense. They'll get rid of them.

You need to quit your job. You were caught, you know, doing this or that. Anyhow, a side point. Verse 7, so it was when the letter came to them that they took the king's sons and slaughtered 70 persons, put their heads in baskets and sent them to Jezreel.

Well, as ghoulish as it is, palace life offered a good and happy life if you were a male, which these were, until there was a regime change. And this is what could befall you. Verse 8, then a messenger came and told him, saying, they have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, lay them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until morning.

This is just gross. Now, he knows what he's doing. Remember I said he wants to distance himself from this execution? You're going to see that when he calls a press conference and he's going to do this. But decapitation is always shock and awe, no matter how it happens.

This is not supposed to happen. This, of course, would reduce the chance of opposition. There would be those if they were thinking about an uprising. They saw a pile of heads of royalty, no less. They would have a second thought. Throughout history, there have been openings for executioners.

Want ads used to be full of them. I don't know want ads for, you know, job opening, great hours, pension, need to have no problems killing people. You know, that's how it would go. But anyway, whose coolest job was it to collect the heads, cart them up to Jezreel, stack them in front of the city? What a sick sin world this really is.

Anyway, verse 9, so it was in the morning that he went out and stood and said to all the people, you are righteous. Indeed, I conspired against my master and killed him. But who killed all these? So again, he is benefiting from his violent reputation as a killing machine. He, as I mentioned, actually spared more lives than had he not taken these steps. But still, he doesn't want to be known as a mass murderer.

So he calls this news conference for his public relations. He says, but who killed all these? Yeah, I did kill Jo Ram.

I shot him with an arrow. But who killed these people? And by doing this, he's washing his hands of the crime.

But he's the one that sent that letter up there to get this in motion. He is also saying clearly there are others that are not loyal to the House of Ahab. Otherwise, they would not have slaughtered Ahab's descendants like this.

I'm not the only one part of this uprising. Yeah, I killed Jo Ram. But who killed these? So he shields himself from the gruesome deed. We would think that the tutors, those caregivers for these princes, would have fought for their pupils.

But honor does not seem to have been widespread in the Northern Kingdom. Verse 10, Know now that nothing shall fall on the earth of the word of Yahweh, which Yahweh spoke concerning the house of Ahab. For Yahweh has done what he spoke by his servant Elijah. Well, this is mock faith on his part.

It was convenient for him. It's true what he is saying. And there's an example of an unbeliever preaching the truth of God's Word. You have a big problem with that. And that's why Jesus, when the demon said, We know who you are, the Son of God, he said, He said, Be muzzled. Shut up. The Greek is be muzzled.

In the coming from you, it's not permitted. There's a conflict of interest that has to be upheld. And this is an interesting point because if the devil can get to tell the truth about God, then he's going to open up the door to tell the lies that he's really after doing.

And he gets away with this. Thus, cults are born. But he makes it clear that the killing field that he is associated with was by God's scourge on the wicked. And this is prophesied by Elijah. That was way back in 1 Kings chapter 21. So he names, he says, his servant Elijah. Called this long time ago and it went through Elisha and then finally the servant and now Jehu is there to announce it.

It's odd that he honors God here but dishonors him with the rest of his life with the idolatry. His disloyalty to Yahweh would later render him unable to protect the land from the Syrians. We'll get that in verses 32-33. But the Syrians, where this all started, the two kings before he killed them, Ahaziah and Jo-ram, north and south, they were against Syria, Syria coming into the promised land. Jehu was the general there.

Jo-ram gets wounded and goes back to Samaria and then Jehu, of course, his anointed king, goes there and kills those two kings. But the Syrians are still out there to take land and he should have stopped them. And he would have stopped them had he remained loyal to Yahweh.

And so there's another lesson for all of us. God can use us. He can use us in spite of ourselves. He can use us in fellowship or outside of fellowship.

And of course, it falls on the individual to decide how it's going to be. You're either going to love the Lord or you're not. And the great difference between David and Hezekiah versus Jehu is God used all of them. David and Hezekiah, they loved the Lord Yahweh in spite of their faults. Whereas Jehu, he had faults too, but he didn't love the Lord. We have no mention of him. It's sort of like Esau.

We never read of the God of Esau, the God of Jacob we hear about. How come we don't hear about Esau? Well, he made his choices. He was a man's man. He felt he could do good. If you said, Esau, do you believe in God? He probably would have said, yes, I do.

And then gone on to do other things. Thanks for joining us for today's edition on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today in the Book of Second Kings has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to crossreferenceradio.com. Once more, that's crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. Our time is about up, but we hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue on in the Book of Second Kings. We look forward to that time with you, so make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick as he teaches from the Bible right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-24 08:26:57 / 2023-07-24 08:36:15 / 9

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