Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from August 17-23 are provided by Pastor Yohan Lee of Radiance Christian Church (S.F.).
Devotional Thoughts for Today
2 Kings 9:11-13
11 When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they said to him, “Is all well? Why did this mad fellow come to you?” And he said to them, “You know the fellow and his talk.” 12 And they said, “That is not true; tell us now.” And he said, “Thus and so he spoke to me, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’” 13 Then in haste every man of them took his garment and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet and proclaimed, “Jehu is king.”
I have always found this exchange interesting and very insightful into human nature. If you read the entire account, starting at verse 1, we see that the prophet Elisha tells his unnamed servant to go and anoint Jehu, likely a prominent commander (or general) in the Israelite army, as king. Jehu is further charged with the task of wiping out Ahab’s household (the current monarchy). Make no mistake, Jehu is charged to commit treason.
Here’s the interesting part: one would think that such an important and troubling charge would come from a prominent prophet, Elisha himself even. But Elisha didn’t go; he sent an unnamed under-prophet with questionable credentials. In fact, Jehu’s friends even describe this prophet as a “mad fellow.” Let’s put it like this: let’s say that God wants you to commit some act of treason against your country (He is not asking for this, by the way); my guess is that in order for you to even consider it, Tim Keller, John Piper, and the rest of the Gospel Coalition as well as all of the other prominent evangelicals in Christendom better be behind you. You would not go and betray your country on the advice of that street preacher who stands on the corner of Crazy Ave. and Obnoxious Blvd. yelling at everybody, “Repent or die!” No way would you do that. So the question we must ask is, “Why did Jehu and his companions act on this prophet’s words?”
To me, the fact that this prophet was legit and from the Lord is irrelevant. How many times in the OT have prophets of the Lord been put to death because the recipients did not like their message? I think the reason Jehu and his men were willing to start a revolution is that the prophet told them something that they all wanted to hear. Think about it—if this prophet had come in and said, “Jehu, in the name of the Lord, I command you to quit killing people, repent, and pick up crochet,” Jehu’s men probably would have utterly disregarded, maybe even killed, this “mad fellow.” But because he gives them good news—major promotions for everyone, they are all willing to listen to this seemingly crazy man and his seemingly crazy command.
Here is what I find insightful about human nature. When it comes to good news or flattery, we don’t care who the source is, do we? If your worst enemy gave you a compliment, you’d be happy. Why is it that when we are struggling with an issue, we tend to only ask advice from the people who will tell us what we want to hear? On the flip side, when it comes to criticism, we are often quick to disregard the critic as hypocritical or unknowledgeable. As people of God, we must understand that God has spoken truth through seemingly crazy, uneducated and even wicked people, and on at least one occasion, a donkey. Our job is to humbly accept truth whatever the source, even if it hurts. We should also be careful not to run on everything our itching ears want to hear.
Lord, please grant me humility and discernment to hear your truth no matter the source. Lord, help me to be honest in my heart so that I can discern if my desires align with your will.
Bible Reading for Today: Ephesians 6
Lunch Break Study
5 Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
7 One who is full loathes honey,
but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
8 Like a bird that strays from its nest
is a man who strays from his home.
9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.[a]
10 Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,
and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbor who is near
than a brother who is far away.
Questions to Consider
- What do these Proverbs say about friendship?
- How does an enemy masquerade as a friend?
- How are you as a friend? Do you speak the truth in love? Are you faithful and loyal?
- Friends can wound you with open rebukes, but those wounds are good for you (vs. 5-6). The value or sweetness of a friend’s comes from his honest counsel (vs. 9). And friends (or neighbors) are near in times of trouble (vs. 10).
- Enemies in contrast give “hidden love” and “kisses.” (They compliment when rebuke is needed or they tell you things are okay in times of distress.) They are far when trouble comes (vs. 10).
- Personal question. Please evaluate your friendships and yourself as friend.
Who are the cheerleaders in your life? Who are the people that tell you what you need to hear? Do you have enough of those people in your life? Is there anyone in your life who needs to hear biblical counsel? Do you handle truth well? Are you teachable?