While studying the prophecy of Hosea, I came across a difficult passage. In Hosea 1:4, God announces, “I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu.” That seemed strange to me because he did what he was commanded to do. Why would God punish Jehu for being obedient? I appreciated the answers given in the commentataries I read, but was still a little uneasy about the answers. They seemed to be the best guesses available, but not conclusive. (See “Jezreel” in Hosea’s Family for Feinberg’s explanation.)

Then, the other day, the answer came quite clearly in my morning devotional reading. As I began reading the first chapter of Zechariah, I almost dropped my Bible when I read verse 15: “I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; for I was a little angry, and they helped—but with evil intent.” This text explains God’s reason for punishing Jehu, Assyria, Babylon, and any other entity ordained to punish sin. God did not punish them for their obedience, but the attitude with which they carried out his plan.

That is a good reminder of what God expects of us. It is not enough just to do God’s will. He also expects us to do it with a godly attitude.

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