Sin operates like a weed. It invades your soul beneath the surface and attempts to take root before you’re even aware it is there. Once it establishes roots, it pops up and wreaks havoc on everything good inside of you, refusing to stop growing, metastasizing, until it has completely swallowed you up.
And, just like a weed, sin loves to keep popping up in the same place. Do you have a sin like that? Is there some root of unrighteousness that you’re constantly trying to rip out of your life? Is there some sin that you feel just keeps popping up no matter how many times you try to remove it?
Israel had a sin like that: specifically, the worship of the false god, Baal. They would have moments when they ripped it out, but a short while later it popped back up and once again God’s people burned incense on Baal’s altars. That is until King Jehu shows up and accomplishes something no other king before him accomplished. He eradicated Baal worship from Israel (II Kings 10:28). Perhaps his story will helps us eradicate whatever sin loves to pop up in our lives.
Jehu shows us that to eradicate sin we must first recognize the problem. After King Jehu cleanses Israel of all of Ahab’s lineage, he sets his sights on cleansing Israel of all those who worship Baal. In II Kings 10:18 he calls all of Israel together and promises that he is going to serve Baal even more than Ahab. He announces there will be a great sacrifice to Baal and all those who worship him should be in attendance. All of this is planned in deception. His true intent is to kill them all (verse 19). Jehu understood the need to cleanse Israel of its bad influences, and the need to do it immediately. He did not relax and become content after getting rid of Ahab’s family and their bad influence. He knew Baal had to go as well.
We must realize the same. If some sin continues to pop up in your life you’ve got to recognize that you have a serious spiritual problem on your hands. This cannot be taken lightly. We can’t afford to procrastinate. If you want to eradicate your sin you’ve got to recognize that you have a problem that needs your full attention, your full focus, right now!
Then, you’ve got to do what Jehu does next; rip every root out of your life. You’ll notice that Jehu does not stand up and declare he hates Baal and wants to kill all who have any affection for him. Instead, he feigns a reverence for the false god in order to lull the Baal worshipers into a false sense of security. You see, Jehu doesn’t just want the die-hard Baal fans to show up. He wants the fair weather fans, too. He wants to know who has any ounce of affection for Baal. Then, when the house is full from one end to the other, and all who would pledge allegiance to Baal are marked by their garments, Jehu sends in 80 men and slaughters them all (II Kings 10:20-25). Jehu makes sure he does not only eliminate the sin, but he also eliminates anyone who might produce the sin once again.
Sin has roots. That’s how it keeps popping up in the same place. Sin is produced by something founded deep within my heart: a lust, a fear, a worry, a grudge. (Jesus concurs, Mark 7:20-23). Therefore, be like Jehu, think about the roots. Do not only eliminate the sin, eliminate everything that might lead you there again. Grudges and bitterness produce outbursts of anger. Poor entertainment choices produce lust. Greed and a lack of faith produce stinginess and a lack of love. Sin has roots, pathways that lead to a destination. (Be not deceived, James 1:16). Jehu cut off Baal at the source; dig down into your heart and do the same.
And be extra careful that you don’t remember that sin fondly. After killing anyone with affection for Baal, Jehu continued to let his hatred of that false god overflow and pour out. They took Baal’s sacred pillars outside and burned them down, they broke down the very house of Baal and made it into a latrine. They took Baal’s most sacred items and gave them the most dishonorable use. They desecrated the memory of Baal in Israel.
We must desecrate the memory of sin in our lives. Dishonor it. Disdain, hate and obliterate it. Do not look back on your days of rebellion and smile. If you do, they’ll undoubtedly pop up again, I guarantee it. Go out of your way to remind yourself of its awfulness. Remember how it debased you. Hate your sin, hate everything that led you to it, and keep that memory front and center in your mind.
Sin is a weed. Don’t forget that.