2 Kings 1
In the ancient world, writing of any length was done not in books, but on scrolls, so authors limited their writing to the space available. If an author had more to say, a second scroll was used. It is important to remember that 2 Kings is really a continuation of the Israelite history recorded in 1 Kings. This book begins by recounting that Ahaziah now reigns. We know from 1 Kings 22:51–53 that Ahaziah “did evil in the eyes of the Lord”; he served Baal and provoked God to anger. Now in 2 Kings 1, Ahaziah has injured himself severely enough to wonder about his life. Instead of seeking God, he consults a foreign god. His request is a telling one. Now at the end of his life Ahaziah implies that either the God of Israel does not exist, or He is irrelevant to his needs! Perhaps the most important in today’s message is revealed in God’s severe opposition to idolatrous disobedience. On three separate occasions God’s message to Ahaziah is repeated: “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub . . . You will certainly die!” (vv. 3–4, 6, 16). In the end, God proved true and Ahaziah died “according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken” (v. 17). On two other occasions, fire came down from heaven to consume the king’s troops who arrogantly tried to seize Elijah and silence God’s word. God reigns over Baal, and the fire underscores that message (vv. 9–12; see 1 Kings 18). Yet there is another message here as well: an offer of mercy for those who will take it. Consider the third captain: he humbled himself, begged for mercy (vv. 13–15), and he was spared. God’s message to Ahaziah may seem like a harsh rebuke of disobedience, but viewed another way, it was also an offer of hope. We can repent and turn back to God. He has not forgotten us and he calls us to obedience once again. If only Ahaziah would have listened to that word!
Today’s passage reminds us of the seriousness of idolatry, but also of the offer of mercy in God’s word. Have you, like Ahaziah, treated God as nonexistent or irrelevant in your own life? Find a moment today to reflect on the ways you may be turning from God to rely upon something else for comfort. Then take today’s word as a challenge for repentance and an offer of mercy from a faithful God who does not give up on His people (even in their unfaithfulness).
Verse for thought...
“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Jeremiah 23:29
from "Today In The Word" by Moody