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The Danger of Settling for First Place

Today’s reading: 2 Kings 10:18-13:25

My selection: 2 Kings 10:28-31

28 Thus Jehu wiped out Baal from Israel. 29 But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. 30 And the Lord said to Jehu, “Because you have done well in carrying out what is right in my eyes, and have done to the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, your sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.” 31 But Jehu was not careful to walk in the law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He did not turn from the sins of Jeroboam, which he made Israel to sin.

My reflections: The final evaluation of Jehu’s reign resulted in a mixed grade. He wiped out Baal but kept the golden calves of Jeroboam. He did enough good to warrant the continuation of his dynasty but enough bad to be compared to evil Jeroboam.

Jehu was not focused on pleasing God or being completely obedient. Perhaps he was just good enough to be not as bad as most other kings. He settled for being first place in a field of very flawed rulers. He went part way toward leading the nation to faithfulness but not far enough. As a result, the dismemberment of Israel’s territory began (vs. 32).

My challenge: What is the standard for righteousness in your life? Do you compare your obedience with that of others to get a false sense of spiritual superiority? Or do you make Jesus Christ and God’s Word the standard for holiness? To use other people as a measure of perfection will result in either overwhelming discouragement or unwarranted pride. Or some of both. To look to Christ will result in humility, challenge, and encouragement.

God’s purpose for you, Christian, is not to merely make you better than others but to transform you into a true reflection of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Don’t be a Jehu. Look to Jesus. Seek to please Him. Seek to be like Him. There is joy ahead at the end of the race.

Tomorrow’s reading: 2 Kings 14:1-16:20

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