Then Jehu gathered all the people together, and said to them, “Ahab served Baal a little, Jehu will serve him much. Now therefore, call to me all the prophets of Baal, all his servants, and all his priests. Let no one be missing, for I have a great sacrifice for Baal. Whoever is missing shall not live.” But Jehu acted deceptively, with the intent of destroying the worshipers of Baal.
And Jehu said, “Proclaim a solemn assembly for Baal.” So they proclaimed it. Then Jehu sent throughout all Israel; and all the worshipers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left who did not come. So they came into the temple of Baal, and the temple of Baal was full from one end to the other. And he said to the one in charge of the wardrobe, “Bring out vestments for all the worshipers of Baal.” So he brought out vestments for them. Then Jehu and Jehonadab the son of Rechab went into the temple of Baal, and said to the worshipers of Baal, “Search and see that no servants of the LORD are here with you, but only the worshipers of Baal.” So they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings.
Now Jehu had appointed for himself eighty men on the outside, and had said, “If any of the men whom I have brought into your hands escapes, whoever lets him escape, it shall be his life for the life of the other.” Now it happened, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, “Go in and kill them; let no one come out!” And they killed them with the edge of the sword; then the guards and the officers threw them out, and went into the inner room of the temple of Baal. And they brought the sacred pillars out of the temple of Baal and burned them. Then they broke down the sacred pillar of Baal, and tore down the temple of Baal and made it a refuse dump to this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal from Israel. (2 Kings 10:18-28)
Wrong Place At The Wrong Time
Jehu had a lot of blood on his hands. He reigned over Israel for twenty-eight years and did much to avenge the evil done through the house of Ahab. In one of his final acts to destroy idolatry he devised a ruse that would single-handedly wipe out the worshipers of Baal. Calling a great sacrifice requiring all the followers of Baal to attend the temple was standing room only. What a great day this would be for Baal. Everyone there was excited about the visible power of Baal worshipers and the activities of that day were filled with all the debauchery of the heathen god. Clothed in the vestments of wickedness the worship was a grand experience. Unknown to the worshipers were the eighty men selected by Jehu to carry out a murderous deed.
When the final burnt offering was completed the eighty assassins came into the temple and killed everyone. No one escaped alive. Blood filled the temple. Screams could be heard inside. Worshipers scrambled anywhere they could to find refuge but no avail. Their god did not save them. No one could save them. The temple of Baal was a place of slaughter. However this time it was the worshipers who suffered the blade. Burning the pillars of Baal the temple was torn down becoming a refuse dump for many years to come.
Before Jehu locked the doors of the temple sealing the fate of worshipers he and Jehonadab made an announcement to the Baal worshipers to make certain there were no worshipers of Jehovah God in their midst. Quickly searching among the crowd anyone found to be a follower of the Lord was removed. The text does not say if any such individuals were found but the decree was made nonetheless. Remember what the invitation said? The feast was only for the prophets of Baal, all his servants and all his priests. What would a child of God be doing in a place like that? Why would a follower of the one true God find himself in a place such as the temple of Baal? Is it possible that some servants of God deceived the crowd to believe they were worshipers of Baal? If so, they were at the wrong place at the right time because they would be killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is such a powerful lesson.
There are Christians today who believe they can mingle with the things of the world and remained unstained. Like the worshipers of Baal they embed themselves in unholy practices believing they are safe from harm. On the one hand there will be saints putting themselves in places they should not be when the Lord comes and then what? I remember a lesson from youth that was told in a Bible class: what if you are in such and such a place when the Lord comes – what will the Lord find? It is a sobering thought. It is easy to live with the idea there is no fear of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time but it will happen. If the Lord does not come in our lifetime what reason do children of God have in going to things that not wholesome for God’s people? Can we escape the pollution of the world when we are standing in the midst of the pig pen? We smell like what we live in. When we live in the world with all its trappings we smell like the world. Shame on us.
It is a puzzle that Jehu would have to make such announcement. Why would any child of God find themselves in the temple of Baal? I am afraid we have to say the same thing today in many places. “Would all Christians please leave …..” Sad. That is a great story.