Ahaziah’s Messengers Meet Elijah
1 Now Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. 2 And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers and said to them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness.” 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, ‘[a]You shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” Then Elijah departed.
5 When the messengers returned to him he said to them, “[b]Why have you returned?” 6 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 [c]you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.’”’” 7 He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came up to meet you and spoke these words to you?” 8 They [d]answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle [e]bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
9 Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him, and behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill. And he said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10 Elijah replied to 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.
11 So he again sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he said to him, “O man of God, thus says the king, ‘Come down quickly.’” 12 Elijah replied to 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.
13 So he again sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. When the third captain of fifty went up, he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, “O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight. 14 Behold fire came down from heaven and consumed the first two captains of fifty with their fifties; but now let my [f]life be precious in your sight.” 15 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 [g]you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.’”
Jehoram Reigns over Israel
17 So Ahaziah died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And because he had no son, Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. 18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
There are two intertwined tales here, and they both give us the same lesson. Honor God, and put Him first. Ahaziah should have known that Baal was no god at all. Surely, if he had not seen the fire from heaven as his father Ahab did, Ahaziah had heard the tale plenty of times.
But Ahab himself refused to listen to God, and his son had not learned that lesson either, so his life was forfeit because he refused to serve the one true God. Then we see the captains sent as messengers, and the same failure. The first captain we can say was just doing his job, though God must have known his heart to deliver such swift judgment.
The second captain knew the men were consumed by fire, and apparently thought he was too powerful to fall victim to the same fate, as he approaches Elijah with the same attitude as the first. Finally, we have a man with some sense, and some reverence for a God who is obviously real, and powerful. The third captain bows, and God says, “this is the man, go with him…”
God knows the heart, and there is no fooling Him. You can choose to reject Him, and no matter what front you might put on towards others, He knows the truth. Or you can choose to honor God, indeed to embrace Him and seek Him out. He will not deny any who search, “seek and you will find…” That is His promise, today, tomorrow, and forever. And that is our call, to come and see, that the Lord is good.