And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. — 2 Kings 1:16
The other day in a department store, I saw a woman I took to be a sales person and asked about a specific product. She looked at me rather blankly and said, “I’m not a store employee.” With an apology, I went on my way a little embarrassed. Perhaps you’ve done the same thing. Or maybe you have been the recipient of such a question. In either case, it can be a slightly awkward situation, and the person needing an answer must continue to seek for it.
In today’s text, King Ahaziah was on his deathbed, and he turned to a false god to inquire whether he would live or die. Confusion about a clerk in a department store is an innocent error, but this wicked king knew better when he made this deliberate choice to consult Baal-zebub. As a result, God sent Elijah to ask the question, “Is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word?” (2 Kings 1:16) He then prophesied Ahaziah’s death because of his sin.
Every day we need answers for situations that face us. Some are inconsequential. A few are weighty enough that an incorrect answer could change the very course of our lives. King Ahaziah’s question was a matter of life and death. Whether our questions are big or small, who do we ask about them? Do we take our concerns to the Lord? Or sometimes, like Ahaziah, do we seek out other sources for answers to our problems? Though there is nothing wrong in seeking godly advice from fellow Christians, we must not fail to bring our questions to God in prayer. God wants to show Himself strong on our behalf! When we take our concerns to Him, it helps us draw closer to Him, and it also gives Him the opportunity, through answering our prayers, to build our faith and bring glory to Himself. God is near today, just waiting for us to ask. Let’s go to the right source for our answers!
Eighty years before the close of the Book of 1 Kings, the country of Israel had been split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. The Book of 2 Kings opens as Ahaziah, who was as wicked as his father, Ahab, began his reign over Israel. Jehoshaphat was king of Judah. More information regarding Ahaziah is found in 2 Chronicles 20:35-37. This gives the account of Jehoshaphat and Ahaziah forming an alliance to construct ships to go to Tarshish. The prophet Eliezer told Jehoshaphat that because of Ahaziah’s wickedness, their venture would not be fruitful, but the ships would be broken. This prophecy was true and came to pass.
Ahaziah reigned only two years over Israel (1 Kings 22:51) and then suffered an accident which eventually killed him. The Book of 2 Kings provides the account of this accident and follows with Elijah’s final confrontation with a king of Israel before the prophet was taken up to Heaven.
After Ahaziah’s accident, he wished to know if he would live or die, so he chose to seek answers from Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron. Baal-zebub was a different god than Baal, the Caananite god that Ahab and Jezebel worshiped. The temple for Baal-zebub was in a city named Ekron, and this god was believed to have prophetic power. Some Bible scholars say that the word Baal-zebub (which meant “Lord of the Flies,” insects that bring disease and death) was a purposeful distortion by the Jews of the name Baal-zebul (meaning “lord prince”), who was considered a god of health and life.
Ahaziah showed his complete disregard for the true God of Israel when he chose to call upon this false god for answers. Consequently, God pronounced a judgment of death upon him. Elijah confronted Ahaziah as he had previously confronted Ahab, his father. At first, the message was delivered by Ahaziah’s servants. When Ahaziah found out that Elijah had sent the message, he directed a captain and fifty men to retrieve him.
The first two captains and their bands of fifty soldiers each seemed to have as much disdain for God and His prophet as Ahaziah did himself. Fire from God was sent as punishment for their attitudes. The third captain who came to Elijah was a wiser man than his predecessors and demonstrated an attitude of respect and humility. His life and those of his company were spared.
Ahaziah died as God had said he would, and his brother Jehoram (another of Ahab’s sons) became king of Israel.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah
A. Ahaziah of Israel
1. Ahaziah’s death (1:1-18)
a. Ahaziah’s accident and inquiry (1:1-2)
b. Elijah’s message to Ahaziah (1:3-8)
c. Elijah’s confrontation with Ahaziah (1:9-16)
d. Ahaziah’s death (1:17-18)
As we go through our daily lives, we can purpose to take all of our matters to the Lord in prayer. Big or small, God will work for us when we choose to seek Him first!