What Are the Motives Behind Our Serving God?

jehurides SCRIPTURE READING – 2 KINGS 9:1-37; 10:1-35

Before grabbing your Bible and diving into this story, let me give you but one definition for the word MOTIVE:

“An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action; causing an action.”  [The Free Dictionary by Farlex]

We will be returning to this definition throughout this bible study.

“HOUSE CLEANING” –

My wife’s “desire” for an entire house cleaning, most often, does not necessarily incite action.  It is much like my DESIRE to exercise, knowing it’s physiologically healthy, but almost never causes an action on my part.  I am glad to get that off my chest before getting into this particular Blog Bible Study.

JEHU’S Commission from God –

A PROPHET was sent to pronounce God’s death sentence on AHAB (1 Kings 20:42) because of his DISOBEDIENCE of not killing Ben-Hadad, king of Aram.

Elijah later prophesied AHAB’S doom in 1 Kings 21:19 after he had murdered Naboth and seized his property (vineyard); the results in 1 Kings 22:38. 

Elijah prophesies AHAB’S descendants would be cut off and his wife JEZEBEL would be killed (1 Kings 21:22-24).

Because of AHAB’S subsequent humbling of himself before God, God took notice (as He always does), choosing to bring about these promised disasters during the reign of his son Joram, instead of in AHAB’S lifetime (1 Kings 21:27-29).

JEHU, a commander in the Israelite Army, is anointed king and commissioned to exterminate AHAB’S descendants (2 Kings 9:6-10), fulfilling the prophecies against the house of AHAB.

JEHU’S “ZEAL FOR THE LORD” in Cleaning House–the house (dynasty) of Omri and his son AHAB (2 Kings 10:16) –

The Killing Fields ~

  • JEHU kills Joram, king of Israel and AHAB’S son (2 Kings 9:24-26).  Joram’s body was thrown on Naboth’s plot of ground, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Elijah (1 Kings 21:19).
  • JEHU kills Ahaziah, king of Judah, one of Ahab’s grandsons (2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 22:7 explains how Ahaziah’s visit to Joram was used by God to bring about his downfall).  He also kills some of king Ahaziah’s relatives who were coming to visit (2 Kings 10:12-14).
  • JEHU has JEZEBEL thrown out of a window.  She is then trampled and eaten by dogs (2 Kings 9:32-37).
  • He incites the officials of Samaria who were rearing 70 sons of AHAB, to kill all the royal princes (2 Kings 10:6-9).
  • JEHU KILLED ANYONE RELATED TO, OR ASSOCIATED WITH AHAB IN JEZREEL (2 Kings 10:11) and ALL his family in Samaria!  (2 Kings 10:17).
  • His final achievement was his killing of ALL THE BAAL PRIESTS, destroying the Baal Temple to the point it became used as a latrine–an outhouse.  (2 Kings 10:25-29)

For all of JEHU’S enthusiastic ZEAL, God rewarded him with the longest dynasty in the history of Israel (2 Kings 10:30).  But, did JEHU have an alternative MOTIVE behind his ZEAL?

JEHU’S MOTIVES EXPOSED and JUDGED!

The prophet HOSEA gives us a glimpse in exposing something I thought was quite interesting.

Hosea 1:4 (NIV):

Then the LORD said to Hosea,  “Call him Jezreel, because I will soon punish the house of Jehu for the massacre at Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of Israel.”

God was going to punish the house of JEHU for a massacre He had sanctioned and rewarded JEHU for (2 Kings 10:30).  

I thought to myself after reading this, “Wait a minute.  Jehu seemed like an obedient servant of the Lord.  What’s the deal?”

Outside Appearances Are Not Always As They Seem! –

2 Kings 10:28-29, 31 (AMP):

[28] JEHU rooted Baal out of Israel,  [29] BUT…

JEHU did not give up the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, by which he made Israel to sin,that is, the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

[31] But JEHU paid no attention to walking in the law of the Lord the God of Israel, with all his heart.  He did not quit the sins with which Jeroboam made Israel to sin.

At my first reading, I found that strange, being that JEHU had exterminated Baal worship.  What happened to his ZEAL ( 2 Kings 10:16) that alone, should have led him to ridding a nation of every sort of idol worship?

I believe it never was purely there to begin with.  I also believe that JEHU’S AGENDA didn’t really include God.

JEHU, by cleaving, against the will of God, to Jeroboam’s SIN, which served his own political ends, showed that, in the slaughter of his master, he acted not as he pretended, out of ZEAL for God’s will, but served his own will and ambition.  [See Footnote [1] ]

Getting rid of Baal served his interests but getting rid of the Jeroboam calf idols cut in on his own political gains.

A sure sign of God’s immediate JUDGMENT on JEHU is found in 2 Kings 10:32; His reducing of the size of Israel.

[32] “[So] in those days the Lord began to cut off parts of Israel…”

While JEHU might have “slept with his fathers” as V35 says, meaning his physical death, I can assure you, that is NOT descriptive of what has been taking place for thousands of years in hell with his soul.

My JUDGMENT?  No, GOD’S JUDGMENT!

THE MOTIVES BEHIND OUR SERVICE TO GOD –

Some examples of SERVICE with impure motives is serving God out of SELFISH AMBITION.

The apostle Paul gave examples of selfish ambition in Philippians 1:14-18 (NIV):

[14]  Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

[15]  It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

[16]  The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

[17]  The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

[18]  But what does it matter?  The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.  And because of this, I rejoice.

Although Paul is speaking about preachers trying to make a name for themselves in his absence,  A. W. Tozer says,

“Many a solo is sung to show off, many a sermon is preached

as an exhibition of talent; many a church is founded as a slap to

some other church.  Even missionary activity

may become competitive and soul-winning’

may degenerate into a sort of brush-salesman project

to satisfy the flesh.”

[*See Footnote [2] ]

Serving God out of GREED –

Paul wrote about FALSE TEACHERS in 1 Timothy 6:3-10, who saw financial opportunity in the Gospel.  Unfortunately, that is still in place in the 21st Century in record numbers.

Serving God without LOVE –

HIDDEN MOTIVES
HIDDEN MOTIVES

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (AMP):

IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing.  Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.

Our SERVICE to God is but an empty service…a service without LOVE for others.

IMPURE MOTIVES –

“It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.”  ~ A. W. TOZER

GOD KNOWS YOUR MOTIVES!!

God is examining your MOTIVES.

Proverbs 16:2 (NLT):

“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.

God will reveal your MOTIVES.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV):

[12]  The word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  [13]  Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

1 Corinthians 4:5b (NIV):

“He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.”

Over the years, I have noticed how some people treat God like a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card that they discard after He gets them out of their problems.

Some people climb the Church ladder of success much like folks climb the Corporate ladder.  They truly don’t care who they step over.

They wear their RELIGION like a cloak over their desires–camouflaged hearts– for 4-x4-camo-camouflage-heart-gas-cap-bumper-sticker-decal-window-stickers-decalsfolks to see them as spiritual.

They may speak in tongues and be used in great gifts of the Spirit, but their lack of LOVE for others reveals a HEART with impure motives.

So, why do we do, what we do, in SERVING our heavenly Father.

Why Are You Serving God?

Are you serving God out of interest in His plan for you, or, are you SERVING HIM to the extent that what He does benefits your plan for your life?

Why we SERVE won’t mean a hill of beans in the end, unless we truly had ZEAL for the Lord, rather than wearing a Cloak of sorts over who we really are.

Therefore, check your MOTIVES FOR SERVING CHRIST…today!!


FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:

Footnote [1]:  Barnes – Notes on the Old Testament – (2 Kings 10)

Footnote [2]:  Draper’s book of Quotations for the Christian World – A. W. TOZER; by Edythe Draper.

 

CREDITS:

Commentary:  Why Did God Condemn Jehu?  By Troy Lacey and Tim Chaffey on April 8, 2011 – The Misconception Series.

Photos:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible (AMP);  New International Version (NIV); New Living Translation (NLT).

 

 

 

 

“Soul Fasting” (Part One)

TRUE FASTING–

Is there a difference between REGULAR FASTING and TRUE FASTING for the Believer?  When pastors call for a church to fast during the year, do we understand the differences, or are there differences?  Is the idea of FASTING an Old Testament practice and not for todays Church?

Isaiah 58:3-12 NIV translation:

“Why have we fasted, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?  Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?  Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?”

A Bending Reed
A Bending Reed

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:  Here am I.  If you do away with the yoke  of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will become like the noonday.  The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.  Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” 

GOD’S CHOSEN FAST:

I’ve been re-reading a terrific book written by one of my favorite authors, Mr. Don Nori: SECRETS OF THE MOST HOLY PLACE.  He asks a question that really caught my attention (pg. 175),  “Are you content to fast food, or is your desire to become God’s chosen fast?”

He goes on to say “Most of us know what the Scriptures call the true fast,” but few of us know the power and significance of this most unusual form of fasting.”

Now I don’t know “most Christians,” but I know I was unfamiliar with this form of fasting.   So, the Word Detective investigation into God’s Word began.

Over my Christian life, I’ve heard many times by different pastors who call for an annual “CHURCH FAST”; not a mandatory ritual, but a strongly suggested activity for a week or two in January.

Being a DIABETIC for over 56 years, ‘doing without food’ and adjusting my insulin wasn’t an option, so I just passed.  Now my actions might be an excuse or just a misunderstanding of the term FASTING, in either case I simply ignored the pastor’s request (I do pray!).

FASTING FOR WRONG MOTIVES:

In Isaiah 58:1-2, we can see the seriousness of the people’s self-absorbed religious practices.

[1] CRY ALOUD, spare not.  Lift up your voice like a trumpet and declare to My people their transgression and to the house of Jacob their sins!

{2] Yet they seek, inquire for, and require Me daily and delight [externally] to know My ways, as [if they were in reality] a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinance of their God.  They ask of Me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God [in visible ways].  (Amplified Bible)

The people delight in the nearness of God; they thought of themselves as righteous–right with God.

THE PEOPLES PRESSURE (3-5):

In Verse 3, the people now voice their complaint in difficulty, though they were doing what the Law required.

Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not noticed?  Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  (NIV translation)

The people present how they view their RELIGION.  They were observing the activities as laid down by the religious leaders (priests), even engaging in FASTING (Lev. 16:29; Zech. 7:5-6).  They thought their FASTING in and of itself was humbling before their Lord.

Their FASTING though, was thoughtless or done as an attempt to obtain a selfish conclusion.  It was employed only for RELIGIOUS SHOW or to engage God to act on their behalf (See Mt. 6:16-18).

THE ACT OF SELF-DENIAL IN OUR FASTING:

Self-denial is a process to draw us closer to God, allowing us to hear Him better.  The prescribed annual fast, the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29) was to afflict one’s soul for the purpose of mediation on the seriousness of one’s sins and the greatness of God in making ATONEMENT for them.  (See Footnote [i]).l

They saw FASTING as denying themselves of God so they might gain something worldly from God in return.  Neither FASTING nor REPENTANCE should be to get something from god in return.  REPENTANCE nor FASTING should be to get God to do anything.  They are expressions, the conviction that my ways are wrong and God’s ways are right whether He does anything for me or not.

Their FAST was simply an affliction of body, not an affliction of soul.

REAL MOTIVES BEHIND OUR BEHAVIOR IN FASTING:

VERSE 4 continues to lay open real motives behind the people’s behavior:

Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist.  You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high.  (NAS)

The reason for their FASTING was to make their iron-fisted, controversial acts more successful.

Fasting was to be the cause for God to effect or enact their covetous desires.  When it became obvious that their FASTING wasn’t having the desired effect in their lives, they FASTED to know why not.

So God told them that the purpose of their RELIGION was to acquire more and not to improve their closeness, their relationship with Him, as it was originally intended.

VERSE 5 relays that their motives, their purpose for fasting focussed on the external rather than on the realization that they need to be changed:

Is such a fast as yours what I have chosen, a day for a man to humble himself with sorrow in his soul?  [Is TRUE FASTING merely mechanical?]  Is it only to bow down his head like a bulrush and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him [to indicate a condition of heart that he does not have]? Will you call this a fast and acceptable day to the Lord?  (Amplified Bible)

Because they had been focusing on their selfish ends (even their fasting) rather than a change of heart, attitude, and action…their prayers went unanswered.

The SACRIFICES of God are a broken heart and a contrite spirit.  If they call their bodily sacrifice alone a FAST, they were badly mistaken.

Bowing one’s head like a reed was a sign of humility; putting on sackcloth and sitting in ashes were symbols of FASTING and signs of submission. But unless they go hand-in-hand as an inward submission to God and turning away from sin, they mean nothing!

THE ABSENCE OF THE BLESSING:

During the days of ISAIAH, God’s people were not experiencing the Lord’s Blessing–His favor on their lives.

They went through the MOTIONS OF WORSHIP and couldn’t understand why God wasn’t noticing their religious efforts.  But while they were FASTING, they were also exploiting their workers and fighting among themselves (vv 3-4).

8222922317_2cce0295b3Isaiah condemned their HYPOCRISY and told them they needed to change.  If they would free the oppressed, share with the hungry, house the homeless, and clothe the naked, God would BLESS THEM with…

 

HEALING,

ANSWERED PRAYER,

GUIDANCE,

STRENGTH,

JOY!

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY is no substitute for an OBEDIENT HEART.

THE PROPER PATTERN, 6-7:

FASTING is to let go of the normal and natural daily nourishment of this world in order to reach out and grab the empowering of God that is needed and to live righteously in this world.

In VERSES 6 & 7, we learn the desired outcome of FASTING:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:  to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood?

-GO TO PART TWO TO CONTINUE-

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