Friday, August 4, 2017
Ahaziah’s Rejection of God
“Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And 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 made Israel to sin: For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.” (I Kings 22:51-53)
Ahab and Jezebel had actively sought to turn the Jews away from worshipping God during most of Ahab’s reign. Late in life he repented and God forgave him. As we have already seen, however, that did not eliminate the effects of Ahab’s sin, or the consequences. He had taught his children not to serve God, and they continued to practice what he had taught them, even after he repented. Ahaziah knew what Elijah had told his father, but paid no attention.
After about two years, Ahaziah accidentally fell through a lattice or screen designed to allow airflow in his upstaiers rooms and was seriously injured, according to II Kings 2:2. “And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.” Ahaziah had so thoroughly indoctrinated against the Jewish religion, he did not even consider praying to God. Instead he sent messengers to the Philistine God, Baalzebub’s temple to pray and see if he would recover. II Kings 1:3-8 describes the result.
“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 unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.
And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?
And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?
And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.”
By sending to the Philistine god for direction, Ahaziah had implied that God was powerless and was not really a god at all. The prophet Elijah met the messengers and told them that because that was Ahaziah’s attitude, he would not recover, but would die of his injuries. When the messengers describe the prophet, Ahaziah realized who it was, and ordered his arrest. Apparently, he thought that he could force Elijah to change his prophecy. After two of the groups sent to arrest him were destroyed, the third officer forgot about arresting him and asked him to go voluntarily.
And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.
And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken…” (II Kings 1:15-17)
Ahaziah’s attempt to intimidate Elijah did not change what God said at all. He died in his hospital bed just as Elijah had prophesied, after only two years as king, and his brother became king. He died because he refused to turn to God. It was his decision to follow what Ahab had originally taught rather than what he learned later.
Today, many Americans, like Ahaziah, have abandoned the God of their fathers, turning to other religions instead, because their parents have failed to teach them to serve God, and they attempt to intimidate Christians into changing their message. Just as God destroyed the first two forces sent against Elijah, he is able to protect us from those who attempt to intimidate or destroy us. God is not going to change his message because government officials tell us it is no longer acceptable or threaten to arrest us or take away our tax exemption if we do not comply with their orders.