“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the LORD, over Israel. And you shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, so that I may avenge on Jezebel the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD” (vv. 6–7).
Waiting for the Lord to bring judgment on all His and our enemies is surely one of the most difficult things to do as a believer. We long for the day when everything will be set right, when God’s people no longer have to suffer mocking and even worse forms of persecution. Scripture recognizes the difficulty we have in waiting for the judgment of the Lord. Several psalms, including Psalm 13, feature the psalmist crying out to our Creator, asking Him with urgency how long it will be until he is avenged. Perhaps even the saints in heaven find it hard to wait for the Lord to judge our enemies. After all, Revelation 6:9–11 depicts the souls of the martyrs asking the Lord how long it will be before He avenges their blood shed in bearing witness to Christ.
Naboth’s family may have wondered when the line of Ahab would finally suffer the Lord’s judgment. After Ahab stole Naboth’s vineyard and had Naboth killed, God promised to bring an end to Ahab’s line, but not until the reign of Ahab’s son (1 Kings 21). Moreover, Ahab’s wife persecuted and killed many of the prophets of the Lord (18:13). This would have made the faithful remnant in Israel long for the day when their deaths would be avenged. And all these individuals had to wait for many years for the Lord to act. Ahab’s first son to sit on the throne of Israel, Ahaziah, reigned for two years (22:51–53). Then, Ahab’s other son, Ahaziah’s brother Jehoram of Israel, became king and ruled for twelve years (2 Kings 1:17–18; 3:1). God did not act immediately to end Ahab’s line; His people had to wait.
Today’s passage reveals the instrument that the Lord would finally use to fulfill His promise of judgment on the house of Ahab. God had told Elijah to anoint Jehu king over Israel many years earlier (1 Kings 19:16), and it fell to Elisha to carry out this command. Sending one of the sons of the prophets to Ramoth-gilead, Elisha had him anoint as king over Israel Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat, son of Nimshi (not the same Jehoshaphat who was one of the kings of Judah; 2 Kings 9:1–3). In so doing, the young man whom Elisha sent proclaimed that Jehu would be the one to cut off the house of Ahab, to bring an end to Ahab’s line (vv. 4–10). Jehu was a commander in the army, and at least a good portion of the army celebrated his anointing (vv. 11–13). God’s people had to wait no longer. Their enemies were finally about to be eliminated.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
Dr. R.C. Sproul frequently observed that believing in God is easy but believing God is much harder. It is difficult to continue trusting in God’s promises, for so often the Lord seems to delay their fulfillment. This is especially true of His promise to set all things right and to destroy all His and our enemies. But just as the Lord fulfilled His promise to end Ahab’s line, so will He fulfill His promise to consummate His kingdom. What seems to be a delay is not a denial.