In those days the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. Hazael overpowered the Israelites throughout their territory . . . (2 Kings 10:32 NIV).
Look carefully at the text. Was it Hazael who overpowered the Israelites? Yes. But he was only an instrument. It was really the Lord who began to reduce the size of Israel. But why would the Lord want to reduce the size of His own people? That is a question that you and I should ask ourselves.
Why would the Lord act against His own people? Before that question can be answered, you need to consider that such a situation is a possibility in every Christian’s life. God can reduce the area or sphere of your influence. He can use chosen instruments to do so; even those who do not know God. So this verse in the Bible should act as a clear warning to keep track of one’s ways.
Now to the real question. God had promised the territory of Israelites to them forever. But the people of Israel kept on worshiping the golden calves Jeroboam had made. Even Jehu who destroyed Baal worship continued in the worship of the golden calves. That was a great sin. Jehu had a chance to turn away from it. But he did not utilize the chance. So “in those days” the Lord began to reduce the size of Israel. That means that when God gives you a chance to act right and you do not utilize it; “in those days” the Lord will begin to reduce your influence!
As you closely follow the words that the Lord spoke to Jehu commending him for the good work he had accomplished; he was also promised kingship till the fourth generation. In spite of this promise, Jehu was not careful to keep the law of the Lord “with all his heart.” That is the key. His heart was not fully involved in keeping God’s law. It reminds us again that outward observances cannot fool God. He always looks at the heart. And when He finds that all your heart is not there in your obedience, He will begin to reduce the sphere of your influence. Just check whether you are living “in those days!”