King Ahaziah chose to serve an idol instead of God because it suited him. We do this all the time. God sent Elijah, and Ahaziah died as God determined. The awesome reverence and fear of the consuming fire of God should have raised Israel’s attention. It didn’t…
1 After Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself. So he sent messengers, saying to them, “Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”
3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ 4 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” So Elijah went.
5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you come back?”
6 “A man came to meet us,” they replied. “And he said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, “This is what the Lord says: Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”’”
7 The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?”
8 They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.”
The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”
17 So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.
2Kings 1:1-8, 17
24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Ahaziah was king of the northern tribes – he was not serving God, as we will see in this vignette today. In fact, this is his last vignette as king. Ahaziah died after falling through lattice in his chambers. Whatever impairment which resulted from the fall was his final woe. Okay – next to final woe. The final trouble Ahaziah faced was looking for divine guidance from the wrong source.
The northern tribes did not follow the Lord and so when Ahaziah became ill, the king sent his people to inquire of Baal-zebub (translated ‘lord of flies’), the god of Ekron. When you don’t know where to go for help, you’ll often choose the wrong source of wisdom and strength. This is what Ahaziah does. He sends messengers to inquire of an idol regarding his health.
Elijah the prophet, sent by God, intercepts the group and tells them through a question that the king will die because he is seeking assistance through idols and not the true God. When the messengers told Ahaziah what happened, he asked them to describe the prophet.
The king knew right away it was Elijah.
If you read the whole chapter, you will find that two delegations of fifty soldiers and their captain were sent to find Elijah and ask him to come to the king. Both delegations were consumed by fire on the spot. Ahhh… now we are seeing the practical example of yesterday’s truth that God is a consuming fire.
The messengers called Elijah ‘man of God.” Not only did the king know that Elijah was a man of God, he told the captains and their soldiers the same. Elijah’s answer: “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you,” (2Kings 1:10).
Elijah, under the leading of God, showed them the power of God which had been denied and ignored by Ahaziah. It’s not that he didn’t know Elijah or his God. Ahaziah had seen and experienced God and his power while his father was king. Ahaziah chose to serve an idol because it suited him. He could decide when to inquire of the idol-god and it didn’t bother him when he was living his life his own way. 1Kings 22:52-53 tells us that Ahaziah did evil in God’s sight, served Baal and worshiped him, and provoked God to anger. No kidding. This is a wake up call for Ahaziah and Israel.
Elijah went down from his mountain with the third delegation, under the direction of God, and provided Ahaziah with the words of the Lord directly to his face. And thus, Ahaziah died as God determined.
This should have made Israel turn back to God. The awesome reverence and fear of the consuming fire of God should have raised their attention. It didn’t. The next king followed Ahaziah’s footsteps.
What about you? Will you continue in your allegiance to your way and idols which serve your purposes instead of bowing to the God who is jealous for you?