2 Kings 1:13-14 So the king sent a third captain with his fifty men. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. “Man of God,” he begged, “please have respect for my life and the lives of these fifty men, your servants! See, fire has fallen from heaven and consumed the first two captains and all their men. But now have respect for my life!”
Sadly, there is much wisdom in the adage, “The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn anything from history”.
Ahazaiah was King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, and the son of Ahab and Jezebel which meant that there wasn’t going to be a lot of godly wisdom, or even common sense, in his DNA anyway! He had fallen ill and wanted a bit of reassurance that he wasn’t going to die! Like his parents before him, he thought he wouldn’t get this needed assurance from the LORD’s prophet Elijah, so he decided to enquire of the ‘always more accommodating’ prophets of Baal. Why seek the truth if lies will enable you to feel better!
To the dismay of Ahaziah, the Sovereign LORD arranged for Elijah to intercept the king’s messengers on their way to the prophets of Baal, and to report the true, but unpalatable, reality to the ailing king: that he was indeed about to die. It was obvious to Ahaziah that the source of this ‘unsatisfactory’ prediction was Elijah, so he sent a contingent of 50 soldiers with their captain to ‘bring Elijah in’ in the hope of intimidating him into giving a better ‘forecast’.
This might sound stupid to us, but I have to ask myself, “How often do I only listen to ‘feel-good’ platitudes rather than face the ‘hard’ truths in God’s Word?”.
Well, the ‘1+50 contingent’ were consumed by fire at the LORD’s command, so Ahaziah obviously immediately came to the conclusion that Elijah had spoken the truth …!? You might think … but NO! Such is fallen human nature! Surely when the second ‘1+50’ contingent suffered the same fate the truth would penetrate the king’s thick skull? But NO! Not surprisingly, the third ‘50+1’ could see quite clearly what would happen to them, so they begged for mercy.
Happily, the LORD, through Elijah, showed them this mercy. Elijah presented himself before Ahaziah, and Ahaziah died, having already subjected two faithful captains and a hundred good soldiers to the same fate along the way!
Lord, please help my sin-affected ears and heart, by your grace, to listen and respond to the truths of your Word always with joy and trust, regardless of how unpalatable they might be to me, and without having to learn the hard, and often costly, way.
– Bruce Christian