Friday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Kings 22:51—2 Kings 1:17 (NKJV)
1 Kings 22:51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. 52 He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin; 53 for he served Baal and worshiped him, and provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger, according to all that his father had done.
2 Kings 1:1 Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.
2 Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria, and was injured; so he sent messengers and said to them, “Go, inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.” 3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ 4 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.'” So Elijah departed.
5 And when the messengers returned to him, he said to them, “Why have you come back?”
6 So they said to him, “A man came up to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go, return to the king who sent you, and say to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'”‘”
7 Then he said to them, “What kind of man was it who came up to meet you and told you these words?”
8 So they answered him, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt around his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty men. So he went up to him; and there he was, sitting on the top of a hill. And he spoke to him: “Man of God, the king has said, ‘Come down!'”
10 So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. 11 Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men.
And he answered and said to him: “Man of God, thus has the king said, ‘Come down quickly!'”
12 So Elijah answered and said to them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
13 Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: “Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Look, fire has come down from heaven and burned up the first two captains of fifties with their fifties. But let my life now be precious in your sight.”
15 And the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king. 16 Then he said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.'”
17 So Ahaziah died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. Because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place, in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?'”
Ahaziah continued to act faithlessly as his father and mother had. He led the people into sin and worship of false gods. He also continued to persecute Elijah because he spoke the Word of God. The Lord could have given up on the people and this king too, but He continued to show mercy. He continued to send His messenger and His Word which gave them a chance to acknowledge that there truly is a God in Israel!
Obstinate sinners despise being questioned by the Lord’s truth, but what they fail to realize is that this is more merciful than being left to their self-destruction. The two captains that first came against Elijah were made aware that he was a man of God, yet they still sought to bring him death. They disregarded the power of the true God that Elijah served and brought about their own death instead.
May God continue to send His righteous Word to this world and give people a chance to repent and fear the Lord. And may He continue to keep His faithful people safe from those who hate Him and His Word, while also using us to speak His righteous wisdom and mercy to the rebellious.
We pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, let Your kingdom come, and Your will be done; in Jesus Christ’s Name. Amen.