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.
2 Kings 10:31
As the UK votes tomorrow whether to leave the EU, it would be helpful to consider the kind of rulers that God expects. The referendum debate has centred around the economy, but as far as God is concerned, material prosperity isn’t necessarily a sign of his blessing. At one point he describes God’s people as materially rich, but with a leaness in their souls- a bit like the church in Laodicea who thought they were rich but were pitifully blind and naked.
Immigration is an other issue. Apparently there are two words for immigrant in Hebrew, one denoting the oppressed and marginalised who should be welcomed unequivocally, and the other financially independant economic migrants, who were in danger of drawing the Israelites after false gods.
Sovereignty is another issue. Israel was constantly fighting for her sovereignty against different superpowers: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Greece for Judah, and ultimately Rome for what became known as the province of Palestine. Biblically, a loss of sovereignty was a mark of God’s judgement on the nation.
Ultimately however, none of the above issues are God’s concern for his people. What really matters is whether their leaders walk in the law of the Lord, not the laws of Brussels or Westminster. If that is our consideration then we’re probably chosing between the devil and the deep blue sea!
Jehu had overthrown the evil Ahab and his Sidonian wife Jezabel. He got rid of the worship of Baal the moon god. But he failed to reject the syncretic religion of Israel ‘s first king, who rejected the worship of the Lord in his temple in Jerusalem for a couple of idolatrous golden calves.
If we’re going to rule, in fact if we’re going to live a fulfilled life, we need to wholeheartedly follow the law of the Lord. So we need to love him with all of our being, and love our neighbour as ourselves. Why should we love the Lord? Because he loved us, and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Who is our neighbour? Whoever we might meet: the British nationalist, the Polish plumber, the Syrian refugee.
Ultimately the referendum result is in the hands of the Lord. We can have opinions about what would be best for our country and continent, but ultimately what matters is that God’s will is done and he isn’t politically partisan. Whoever our leaders are we should submit to them, pray for them, and trust that righteousness will be exalted and wickedness punished.
The early church lived through the persecutions of the Roman Empire, getting thrown to the lions for their faith in Jesus. In later centuries many of us got burnt at the stake. Nowadays in the Middle East our brethren face beheadings by their persecutors. Whatever the result tomorrow, we thank God for religious liberty in Europe, and trust that he will enable us to live godly and quiet lives as we serve him, and trust him for the outcome.
“Lord, God of Israel, thank you that you are sovereign over all that goes on in our nation, continent and world. We trust you with the outcome of the referendum tomorrow, however we may personally vote. Thank you for the freedom we enjoy, long may it continue, and may we make the most of it to tell a lost and dying world the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his name we pray, amen”