Switching books of the Bible seems like there should be something more significant than the turn of a page. But the stories of our prophet and of the sin of Israel continue right in line with 1 Kings. We dive into the book with the story of why Ahab’s son, Ahaziah only lived as king for 2 years. His kingdom was in Samaria. If you remember from New Testament stories, Samaria is often shunned by the people of God. The people living there are considered half Jews because of how the people there mixed with other nations. Most likely it all started around this time, with the false Gods of Ahab and Jezebel and the rebellion of their descendants.
Moab has decided to come against King Ahaziah and in Ahaziah’s surprise and fear, he fell through the ceiling, in his own home. You might imagine it like a balcony with a screened in porch of sorts. It was devastating to his body to sustain a fall like that, and was ill in bed. Keeping in line with his father’s idolatry, he asks to consult a Baal to see if he’ll live or die.
Enter Elijah, our beloved and courageous prophet of God. Elijah worked a ton with Jezebel and Ahab and now here he is working with their son as he's been made king. God tells Elijah to intercept the king’s messengers on the way to consult with Baal. This is what Elijah asks them, per God’s command: “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” Elijah and God are calling out the precise place of Ahaziah’s distrust. He does not believe God. Meanwhile God has been pursuing Ahaziah’s family for years. If he will only look for it, he would see evidence of God’s hand all throughout his parents’ story.
The messengers return to Ahaziah without consulting the Baal, and Ahaziah wonders why they’re back so soon. As the messenger relays Elijah’s words Ahaziah is building in his mind exactly who it was, who delivered these words. He guessed that it was Elijah, especially after the messengers described Elijah as being hairy and wearing a girdle. It sounds like the weird descriptions they used for John the Baptist, and it also sounds isolating for Elijah.
The king decided to send a captain and 50 of his men to apprehend Elijah. “If you are a man of God, come down,” they command Elijah. Elijah has little patience for their shenanigans. He tells them that if he is a man of God, his God would send fire to consume them. Sure enough, fire comes down from heaven and consumes the captain and his 50 men. Just like that, over Ahaziah’s own death sentence, he’s sentenced 50 for men to death, along with a powerful captain.
Ahaziah does not understand what has just happened, so he sends another captain and 50 more men. Again, they ask that if Elijah is a man of God, to “come down quickly.” Elijah responds the exact same way he did the first time, and fire from heaven comes down exactly like it did the first time, and another captain and 50 more men are killed.
We have to go through this a 3rd time. King Ahaziah sends another captain and another 50 men. This captain probably had some anger towards his king for putting him in such a position, but he was wise and humble in approaching Elijah. He fell before Elijah in humility and begged him for his life, and the life of his 50 men. He begged Elijah that his life and the lives of his 50 men would be PRECIOUS in his sight. And God takes pity on these 51 men and commands Elijah to not be afraid and to go with them.
Those men had a tough job. It was a death wish either way. Either they do not complete the mission and their king kills them, or they are killed by God. Their king had no regard for the lives of his men. All he was concerned with was finding out if he would live or die.
Guess what the outcome is? It’s exactly the same as it was before. Elijah tells the king to his face that he will die. And then the king died shortly after.
Yet another miracle for Elijah, and yet another opportunity for a king to turn to God, but again, he rejected the word of God and suffered the consequences. There is no telling if he would have been healed had he been walking with God, but I do know at least the 102 men he sacrificed would have been saved. As my dad often reminds me, our sin never affects just ourselves. It always also affects those around us. In this king’s case, 102 of his well trained men.
Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat became king because Ahaziah didn’t have any sons.
Have you been the witness of any miracles?
In your opinion, why do you think we don’t see miracles like Elijah did?
What big prayers are you praying right now where you would love to see God intervene? Talk to Him about it!