God’s judgment of the wicked can seem harsh.
In 2 Kings chapters 9-10, there is a story about God anointing Jehu (pronounced Yay-hoo) as the new king over Israel. This is the same guy who was a crazy chariot driver…maybe you’ve heard someone being called a “jehu” if they are wild and crazy.
Anyway, God gave explicit instructions to Jehu to wipe out Ahab’s family because Ahab and his wife Jezebel had been desperately wicked, oppressing and killing many innocent people. Ahab had already died years before, but Jezebel and many other family members were still alive; Ahab’s son Joram even reigned as the king of Israel.
But they didn’t last long because Jehu obeyed God and wiped them all out. Wow. This was sweeping judgment from the hand of God.
The Modern Opinion on God’s Judgment of the Wicked
Modern people sometimes take issue with God and how he judged the wicked in the Old Testament, thinking his judgment was too harsh. They even go so far as to say that the god of the Old Testament is a god of judgment while the god of the New Testament is a god of love.
It’s true that the god of the Old Testament is a god of judgment but so is the god of the New Testament. The New Testament refers again and again to coming wrath of God against the wicked. It is also true that the God of the New Testament is a god of love but so is the god of the Old Testament. He is the same god.
Why would God judge people so harshly though? It’s one thing to punish King Ahab for his wickedness, but Ahab wasn’t even alive anymore. God’s judgment fell on Ahab’s family. It hardly seems fair, except for the fact that Ahab’s family was just as wicked as he had been.
Whenever I run into stories like these, I think about Scripture as a whole. The entire Bible is about God redeeming people, standing up for what is right and good, and proclaiming hope for the future. The crowning moment is when God brought Jesus back from the dead.
Whose wisdom about judgment?
It may seem odd for me to refer to the resurrection right now as we are talking about how God acted in the Old Testament. If, indeed, God brought Jesus back from the dead though, then I think we need to trust that God’s definition of just judgment is correct, and not ours. He is the only one qualified to judge.
I often think about Romans 1:22, where Paul is talking about those who reject God: “Professing to be wise, they became fools.” I also think of another passage in Isaiah 55 where it says that God’s ways are higher than human ways.
We need to be very careful about judging God and defining what is right by our own wisdom instead of the wisdom God gives us in Scripture. This includes insisting that God is love and therefore he would not judge people with a harsh punishment. That is human wisdom and not wisdom from the Bible.
Take-aways about God’s judgment
Things to take away from the story of Jehu and Ahab:
1. When the innocent are oppressed God takes it very seriously and will judge the oppressors.
2. Judgment sometimes extends to a person’s family. Our attitudes and actions right now might affect our descendants. Choose wisely.
There’s a lot more that could be said about all of this but I’ll leave it at that for now.
PS. If you want to look more at God’s judgment, you can check out my trilogy, “A Beautiful Hell.” Message me and I can send you the PDF’s or you can purchase on Amazon.