Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1 Kings 22:51 - 2 Kings 1:18

What is this passage all about?
Ahaziah reigned as king of Israel for two years after Ahab died. When he was injured, he wanted to consult a pagan god but Elijah rebuked him for not inquiring of the LORD, the God of Israel.

What can I learn from it?
Two things are recorded of Ahaziah's short reign: his attempt to ally himself with Jehoshaphat for a trading mission to Ophir (1 Kings 22:48-49 and 2 Chronicles 20:35-37) and his attempt to determine the path of his future by consulting with the god of Ekron, Baal-Zebub (2 Kings 1). Not exactly an illustrious reign.
Much of the first chapter of 2 Kings is taken up with Elijah's interactions with Ahaziah's minions: the messengers that Ahaziah sent to speak to the pagan god and those he sent to command Elijah to come to him, after Elijah cursed him. When Ahaziah's first captain, sent to tell Elijah (v9), " 'the king says, "Come down!" ' " was burnt up at Elijah's word, the king sent another, with a stronger message (v11), " ' this is what the king says, "Come down at once!" ' " and at Elijah's word this captain also was burnt up. At last a sensible captain is sent who is willing to humble himself before the Man of God (13): " This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. 'Man of God,' he begged, 'please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants!' " Then the angel of the LORD told Elijah to go down with the third captain to the king, and he went. It took humility from Ahaziah's messenger before Elijah was willing to listen and obey.
Again, Elijah prophesied of Ahaziah's death as a result of his efforts to consult a god other than the God of Israel. The question (v16) " 'Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub?' " is repeated here for the third time in the chapter. The message from God is loud and clear: the kings of Israel have chosen over successive generations to wosrship other pagan gods and to turn away from the worship of the One True God of the fathers of Israel, but this does not mean that the LORD is not still God over His chosen people, the Israelites.

How does this help me worship God?
God's purposes are eternal and He is God, whether people choose to acknowledge that or not. Being an athiest doesn't make God stop existing, nor does being an agnostic make God unknowable. God has revealed himself through general revelation to all people (Romans 1:19-20): "... since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." God has further revealed His plan for the salvation of all who have faith in Him through the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is recorded in His word, the holy Scriptures, aka the Bible. God wants people to know Him and to worship Him, and He will not stop being God, no matter how we react to Him. God never changes, He is always the One True, Eternal, Almighty LORD.

No comments: