After the death of Ahab, his son Ahaziah ruled. He ruled two years and did evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 22:51-53). Verses 1-2 begin his story.
“After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.
2 Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.”
Accidents happen. Bad things happen. When they do, we have choices of how to respond. We can respond by leaning on ourselves, the world, our idols, or on God. We can answer by fear or faith, pity or compassion, love or anger. Our response is our choice. Proverbs 3:5-8 says,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.”
Ahaziah was hurt really badly. He responded by leaning on the world, on the idols he served. He served Baal like mother Jezebel and that is what he turned to for answers and hope. How many times have we turned to money to solve our problems instead of The Lord? How many times is prayer our last resort after we have exhausted every other resource? But we forget that God is the source of every resource. He is The LORD. He is able.
So Ahaziah’s messenger left to inquire of Baal-zebub. Baal-zebub means lord of flies and Ahaziah thought that this god could heal his injuries or at least tell him how long it would be before he recovered, since he credited it with sending his injuries as well. But even though Ahaziah completely disregarded God, God still knew what was happening with the King of Israel. Verses 3-8 read,
“But the angel of the Lordsaid 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 went.
5 The messengers returned to the king, and he said to them, “Why have you returned?” 6 And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back 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 He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” 8 They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
God confronted Ahaziah with his blatant disbelief when He asked the king, “Is it because there is not God in Israel…?” He asked him why he had not just asked Him instead of turning to an idol. But Ahaziah was so proud that he completely ignored the God who had given him his throne. Had he called on God things would have ended differently. God could have saved him. God does not help those who help themselves. He helps those who need Him. Ahaziah refused to need God. Psalm 72:12-13 says,
“For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.”
Even at this point Ahaziah could have listened to the words delivered by Elijah and humbled himself. He chose instead to react in anger and haughtiness. Verses 9-10 record his reaction.
“Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10 But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.”
The king was so angry at Elijah’s message he sent fifty men and their captain to apprehend him. When we overreact to such an extent, it is usually because we are trying to protect a lie. Ahaziah was trying to protect the lie that God was not The One True Living God, The LORD.
Fifty one men sent to apprehend one man is a bit much, but it could have been 501 men. They would have been no more successful. They depended on the king. Elijah depended on the King of kings who created the universe. How did Ahaziah respond? Did he humble himself and admit that The LORD is the Almighty? Nope. Verses 11-12 read,
“Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king's order, ‘Come down quickly!’” 12 But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.”
Ahaziah did exactly the same thing and it had exactly the same results. What did he do next? Well, if the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’, then Ahaziah was insane because he sent a third captain and his men to bring Elijah in. But the captain was not crazy. Verses 13-15 read,
“Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. 14 Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.” 15 Then 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. “
Even though the king refused to submit himself to The LORD, his representative was smart enough to recognize God’s power in Elijah and humble himself. And he got a different result, The Lord told Elijah to go with the captain and his troops. The captain’s humility saved his life and gave him what he asked for. Verses 16-18 continue the story.
“and 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 he died according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken. Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, because Ahaziah had no son. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?”
God’s message had not changed. Ahaziah had not changed and he refused to acknowledge the LORD or be contrite for his idolatry. So he died. He was king for a mere two years and his brother became king in his stead because he didn’t have a son. His line ended with him because he was too proud to ask the Lord for help. He died because he was too haughty to think soundly and recognize the greatness of the Lord and the love, healing, and salvation He offered.
What about you? Have you turned to your idols, money, power, business, intelligence, charm, recreation, or something else to help you instead of turning to the Lord? Have you sought answers from these things instead of asking the Lord? Do you believe He is who He says He is? The way to strengthen your faith is to exercise it. In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus said,
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”