“And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.
And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the Lord. So they made him ride in his chariot.” 2 Kings 10:15-16 (KJV)
Jehonadab or Jonadab had a brief encounter with Jehu, which became a major turning point of his life. The project of God that Jehu was commissioned to execute was very demanding and consuming, such that there should not be any reason to notice such a small figure like Jonadab, a man who had nothing to contribute to the project on ground.
However, like a comic relief, I see the attention of the recorder as though shifting from the main thing, for a little while, to consider the entrance of a man into discipleship, who will become a reference point in the heavens, in the years to come. I am sure that Jonadab himself did not look like a man who came to meet Jehu on purpose. He looked like a man who was going on a stroll but whose heart desired a life that would please God. Jonadab was a man who, at the slightest sign, would abandon all in the pursuit of the quiet longing of his heart. He was a man, simply waiting for the right moment to enter into this exclusive relationship that produced a generation that God could not ignore.
“…he lighted on Jehonadab…”
The Bible says Jehu lighted on Jehonadab. The word ‘lighted’, as also found in Genesis 28:11 implies, ‘came’ or ‘reached’.
“And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.” (KJV);
“He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set…” (The Message);
“When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set…” (NIV) Genesis 28:11
Looking at the word ‘lighted’ the way it was used shows that it was used in relation with a place or location. Therefore, if I paraphrase “…he lighted on Jehonadab…”, it would read “…he reached Jehonadab…” This, without doubt, brings a sense of destination in the journeys of Jehu. It is as though Jehu, who was on assignment with a definite destination for JEHOVAH, reached a place called ‘Jonadab’.
It means that Jonadab was a landmark and a great signpost in the journey of Jehu. The Bible considers Jonadab as a location where so great resources and treasures are buried and it will worth selling all to buy! The Bible presents Jonadab as a man, who, though did not appear in the working papers of Jehu, will not be seen as any of distraction to Jehu, though he waited a bit to salute him. God did not see Jonadab as a waste of time and efforts, as Jesus saw some ab-initio and declined them ever following Him!
Lord, help my life! Am I not a distraction to Thee? Will you stop by to look at me, even when I am not out looking for Thee? Can I be a treasure field that you can sell all to buy? Will I not be a time and a divine investment waster, at the end of the day? Make me, oh LORD, like Jonadab, the son of Rechab, so that you may reach me and reach out to me!
The word ‘reached’ also brings the sense of seeking, as in an outreach, a launching forth. When Jonadab was reached, a land was reached and saved. Jonadab was a whole land. Reaching him is reaching a whole generation, and generation unborn, in which I find my lot now. Once Jonadab was reached, great resources of the kingdom were reached to be unleashed!
The word ‘lighted’ could also mean ‘to light up’. It was as though Jehu carried a light with which he lighted Jonadab. It was as though Jonadab had been in darkness all this while, but meeting Jehu was a great encounter with the light that lighteth every man that came into the world. He did not have to light him many times, just once and it was sufficient for his own journey and his children’s. The kind of light the children of Jonadab had and displayed in their days was rare, but here I think their father caught it when he met with Jehu.
Another challenge I have with Jonadab is that he did not spend several years in discipleship with Jehu before he came to the point of seeing the end of worldliness and the greed that the house of Ahab was known for and took a firm decision; this, he passed on to his children. Jonadab did not travel with Jehu for many years before he understood the temporariness of life on earth and the permanence of life with God. Jonadab did not spend decades with Jehu before he realised that power is transient, as he saw powers of king coming to nought in matter of hours!
Could it, therefore, be that this my unshaped and unformed life, despite years of my discipleship, is because I was not lighted, that is, I did not encounter the true light at the beginning of my discipleship journey? It appears that the light that came on Jonadab at the beginning made his journey in discipleship short, sharp and effective!
Little wonder that Peter, in 36 or 42 months could gain so much; because, right at the Sea of Genesaret, where he began his journey into discipleship, the Bible has this to say about him:
“WHEN SIMON PETER SAW IT, he fell down at Jesus 'knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” Luke 5:8-11 (KJV) [Emphasis mine]
What did Simon Peter see? Did I see anything before I followed? How can a man who is still blind follow? How can a man, who is still living in darkness follow? How much I need my eyes to be opened now, oh LORD that I may see! I need to see now, so that my following could be short, sharp and effective.
Those who ate bread and fish saw nothing and so when the time came for them to decide, they chose to leave Jesus and stopped following Him, just because they were not lighted to follow Him. But when Jesus turned to the twelve to give them chance to leave if they could, the Bible says:
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:67-69 (KJV)
Peter said what he said because he had seen something! He knew that it was not the bread and the fish that the people ate that is the matter, but “the words of eternal life”. Peter knew that with the words, even if there were no bread and fish, it could be created. What he was looking for was not bread and fish, not even the net-breaking-and-boat-sinking-with-fishes’ experience. He knew that if he too could catch the same words of eternal life, those things that Jesus did could happen through him! How right he was!
In few hours, Jonadab was able to see the futility of having all the good things of life without having God. He saw the end of economic, royal and political power; he saw that power belongs to God!
How long shall I be in discipleship and yet not knowing these things? How come that my years of discipleship has not brought me to the point of seeing the futility of wealth without Christ? How can I be in discipleship and I will not see the end of such power that can be given to men, when such a man is not like the worthy LAMB that was slain, who only is worthy to receive it and other things that men run after?
THE RISK OF JONADAB’S DISCIPLESHIP
God found Jonadab as a seed to bud because Jonadab possessed the right heart (seed), which, if budded, will produce his kind of heart in the generation to come. The strategy of Jehu in cropping/harvesting Jonadab was simply discipleship (mobile discipleship).
Jehu checked if the heart of Jonadab was right as his heart. It is not right to jump into discipleship with any man when the heart is not right and has not been checked to confirm that it is right. Once the heart of Jonadab was right with the heart of Jehu, the work began.
There is nothing that will come out of my life, though I spend decades in discipleship if my heart is not right with the heart of the One (Jesus/His servant- yoke), which is to disciple me. It could be that the reason many people have not been helped in discipleship is because their hearts are not right with the heart of the one God sent to them. Once the heart of Jonadab was right, Jehu asked for his hand and Jonadab gave him and he pulled him up into his chariot to see his zeal for the LORD!
There were men in the days of Jesus that saw nothing more than His zeal for His Father’s house. Oh may I see Thy zeal for Thy Father’s House and make me, like you made Jonadab, a progenitor of obedient children for the generations to come…
(Segun Ariyo, Ibadan. 26th August, 2015.)