Reading through the Bible together
Welcome to the second Book of Kings! A continuation of 1 Kings, this book covers approximately 300 years tracing the gradual decline of Israel and then Judah. Sprinkled through this age of apostasy we still see a few good kings and many miracles of God’s mercy.
In the first chapter of 2 Kings we see Ahab’s proud son, Ahaziah, sending messengers to inquire of the Philistine god Baal-Zebub of Ekron. Ahaziah had been seriously injured in a fall and the ailing king wondered if he would recover. But instead of asking the God of heaven, Ahaziah sends messengers to inquire of a detestable pagan god. He certainly knew better. He had witnessed the power of Jehovah through the prophet Elijah but his heart had probably been hardened against the Lord through the evil influence of his infamous mother Jezebel.
Strangely, to get to Ekron from Samaria the messengers had to bypass both Elijah’s place and Jerusalem. Do we sometimes forget about God as we run to the popular oracles of the world looking for answers? When Ahaziah’s messengers are confronted by Elijah instead of humbling himself as his father Ahab had done he tries to have the mighty prophet arrested. Bad idea. The first two captains and their men are burned up when Elijah calls fire down from heaven upon them. Unmoved by this, the stubborn king sends a third contingent of 50 soldiers to arrest Elijah. But the third captain and his soldiers, surrounded by the smoldering remains of their predecessors, have more sense. They humble themselves before Elijah and receive mercy. They forget using the handcuffs and Elijah follows them to the young king and tells him that he will perish because he has despised the word of God. Our stubborn and proud detours around God will always end in a road that goes nowhere.
Dear Lord, please forgive us for the many times we forget you are near and search for answers in the wrong places. Please help us remember to bring our prayers and questions to you and if we discover we are on the wrong road help us to be willing to humble ourselves and turn around. Amen.
Sacramento Central Church