2 Kings 1:2 Now Ahaziah had fallen through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and injured himself.
Ahaziah, the son of Ahab and Jezebel, ruled the northern kingdom of Israel from 853 to 852 BC, and did evil in the eyes of the Lord (1 Kings 22:52). He fell from an upper room, and was injured so severely, that it was not clear if he would live or die. Instead of turning to God, he sent messengers to consult the god of Ekron, to see if he would recover.
Some people respond to hardship by turning to God, others by turning away from him, and others by ignoring him. On one floor of a hospital there may be someone who is praising God, another who is cursing God, and another who is ignoring God. Suffering does not change our view of God so much as it reveals it. Ahaziah thought the God of Israel was irrelevant, so he did not bother to consult him.
2 Kings 1:3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?
The king’s messengers did not make the few days journey to Ekron, because God sent the prophet Elijah with the answer to Ahaziah’s question. It seemed that God was reaching out to Ahaziah, even though Ahaziah was not reaching out to God.
2 Kings 1:5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, Why have you come back?
The messengers were not expected for several days, so the king was surprised to see them. They explained their meeting with Elijah, and gave the king his answer: You will certainly die! (2 Kings 1:6). It was not the answer Ahaziah wanted, since he was still in his early twenties. But long life isn’t promised to anyone—only certain death. [P]eople are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrews 9:27), says Hebrews.
At least Ahaziah could use his remaining time to prepare to meet the Almighty. [I]f someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation (Ezekiel 33:12), wrote Ezekiel. This was an opportunity that could lead to eternal life. But wicked people will often refuse to repent, even when they are dying. Instead of turning to God, Ahaziah sent fifty men to arrest Elijah.
2 Kings 1:9-10 The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, Man of God, the king says, Come down! Elijah answered the captain, If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men! Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.
Word of this got back to Ahaziah, but he was unfazed. He sent another fifty men and got the same results. Then he sent another fifty men, but the captain approached the prophet differently. He fell on his knees and begged Elijah for his life, and for the lives of his soldiers. So Elijah spared their lives, and went to see the king. Then the king died just as Elijah predicted.
It is unfortunate that a hundred soldiers had to die because the king was stubborn. But people often suffer because of their leaders. This is true for nations, organizations and families. [God] punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents (Exodus 34:7), recorded Moses.
Ahaziah was the wicked son of the wicked King Ahab. If Ahab had followed God, and taught his children well, his son’s future might have been different. But since Ahab rejected God, and worshipped a false god, that is what his son did too. Everything we do, good or evil, ripples out to those around us.
2 Kings 2:1 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
Some time earlier God told Elijah to anoint Elisha to succeed him as a prophet (1 Kings 19:16). When Elijah found him, Elisha was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen (twenty-four in all) which shows he was a person of wealth.
Elijah threw his cloak around Elisha to show his prophetic ministry was being passed to him. Elisha kissed his parents goodbye, and prepared a feast by slaughtering his oxen, and cooking them on his plowing equipment. Then he became Elijah’s servant.
This reminds us that the call of God is more important than anything else in life. When Jesus called Matthew from his tax collecting business, Matthew got up, left everything and followed him (Luke 5:28).
We may also have to leave everything to follow Jesus Christ, but probably not. We can serve him by preaching his word, raising children, waiting tables, or any legitimate occupation. Thinking of our job as a way to serve Christ elevates it to the highest possible level.
Reflection and Review
How does suffering affect your view of God?
How does God punish children for the sins of their parents?
Why is it helpful to see our jobs as a way of serving Christ?