King Ahaziah’s Choice

I read the first two chapters in 2 Kings.  Ahaziah was the son of king Ahab.  He reigned over Israel for two years.  He walked in the way of his father and mother.  He did evil in the sight of the Lord.  He worshipped and served Baal.  In 2 Kings 1 we read that Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and was injured.  He sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the Philistine deity worshipped at Ekron whether he would recover from his injury.

Like his father Ahab, Ahaziah did not seek or inquire of the Lord God of Israel.  So the angel of the Lord sent Elijah with this message for the king, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?  Now therefore, thus says the Lord. ‘You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'”

Apparently Baal-Zebub was thought to have the power of prophecy which explains why Ahaziah sent messengers to Ekron to learn of his fate.  Ahaziah should have turned to the same God who had prophesied the deaths of his parents.  God knows the future.

Ahaziah sent a captain with fifty men to Elijah in an attempt to take Elijah prisoner in order to counteract the pronouncement of his (Ahaziah’s) death. Ahaziah attempted to place the prophet under the authority of the king.  This constituted a violation of the covenant nature of Israelite kingship, in which the king’s actions were always to be placed under the scrutiny and authority of the word of the Lord spoken by His prophets (NIV Study Bible).

The first captain called to Elijah, saying, “Man of God, the king has said ‘come down'”  Elijah replied, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.”  Fire came down from heaven and consumed them.

Undaunted or perhaps being stubborn, Ahaziah sent another captain with fifty men to Elijah.  This captain said, “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly'”.  He added the word “quickly” as if to say “Get down here now!”  Again the prophet said that if he were a man of God fire would come down from heaven and consume the captain and his men.  It did.

A third captain was sent with fifty men but unlike the previous captains, he did not order Elijah to come down.  Instead, he got on his knees and when he called Elijah, “man of God” he meant it.  He knew that Elijah was a man of God because of what happened to the first two captains and their men.  Elijah had proven that he was a man of God.  The third captain pleaded for his life and the lives of his men.  The angel of the Lord encouraged Elijah to go with the captain.  Elijah went to the king and delivered the same message in person.

Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken.  In the end Ahaziah was punished for turning away from the God of Israel to a pagan deity and the word of the Lord was shown to be both reliable and beyond the power of the king to annul (NIV Study Bible).

The lesson here is:  seek the one true and omniscient God. Perhaps if Ahaziah had sought God in the first place, he might have recovered from his injury and lived.  This is another sad consequence of a wrong and foolish choice.

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