II. King 1:1,16
Ahaziah, king of Israel, was the son of a wicked father, Ahab, in whose idolatrous ways he followed, but his reign was a short one, lasting only two years “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.” (Ikings 21:25).
Falling through the lattice in his palace, Ahaziah was seriously injured, and, in consequence, desired to enquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, as to the outcome of his accident.
The unfortunate occurrence might have proved a great blessing to the king, as it made him feel the need of Divine assistance; but, instead of calling upon the God of Heaven, he chose to inquire of the god of fifties, and thus ignore the Lord God of Israel “Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.” (Ps. 30:10).
But God is not mocked; He thrusts His servant Elijah right in front of the king’s messengers with the sentence of death. The prophet appears before us here as a “man of God,” and as such let us consider him.
Elijah was Commissioned by the Lord to do his work. “The angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Arise, go. . . and say unto them, is it because there is no God in Israel that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub ? ” (v.3,). “Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die,” (v.4).
As a man of God, he was called upon to speak on God’s behalf.
Is there not a great need for definite testimony a Iong this line to-day, when multitudes are forsaking God, the Fountain of Living Water, and hewing out for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water (Jer. 2. 11-13).
Is it because Christ has failed that men seek after the pleasures of sin ? Is it because the Gospel of God has lost its power that men go after another gospel ? “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb13:8). He will never leave us.
Elijah words was Believed. The turning back of the messengers proved that they were convinced that this man spoke with more than human authority, then, after describing his appearance to the king, he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite” (v.8).
The manner of the “man of God” cannot be the same as ordinary mortals, (Jonah 2:8) tells us “They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”
All though they knew not the name of the man of God, they felt that there was a supernatural power about his message. “ It is Elijah ! ”
Elijah was Mocked by the captains The king did not blame his servants from turning back, but that man for predicting his death.
So a captain with his fifty men were ordered to apprehend him. They found Elijah on the top of a hill and, in a tone of contempt and rudeness, they said: “Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down” (v.9), as if the saying of the king was of greater weight than the message of God “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb.4:8).
The captain demanded him to come down. The captain of the second fifty was even more bold in saying, “Come down quickly.” They seemed utterly helpless of themselves to bring him down.
There is a hill-top from which no power on earth can bring down a “man of God ” that is the hill-top of peaceful communion in the divine presence.
It is the delight of the enemy to get a man of God down “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Ac.19:15).
Elijah was Vindicated by the Lord. “Elijah said, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from Heaven,” (v.10,12).
It was the Holy Name of God these captains were mocking at when they spoke so disdainfully of the man of God.
The devouring fire was God’s vindication of His own Name as represented by His servant Elijah.
Our God is a consuming fire, and He will not hold them guiltless who taketh His Name in vain “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex..20:7).
Elijah did not need to vindicate himself, but His God, who is ever jealous of His Holy Name, did it in a most convincing and overwhelming fashion, (Rom.8:33) tells us “it is God that justifieth.“
Elijah was Feared by the captain. The third captain, who came with his fifty, came in a different spirit.
He had learned, through the terrible doom of his predecessors, that this seemingly meek and helpless “man of God” was not to be spoken against with out punishment, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.” (Nu.12:10).
Elijah was a man for whom the Almighty fought, and who had all the forces of Heaven on his side. “He came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him for his life and the life of the fifty.”
The third captain had discovered that it was not only with the man he had to do, but with the God who was for the man “ O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.” (v.13)
Elijah was Obedient to the heavenly voice. ” The angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him, and he arose and went” (v.15).
The third captain prevailed, not by commanding the man of God to “come down,” but by casting himself down at the prophet’s feet (v.13).
God had respect unto this man’s prayer. We must be ready to render immediate obedience to the serve of our Lord and do his will whenever he makes it known to us.
Elijah was Faithful to the voice of God. He went down to Samaria, not as a prisoner, but as a prince surrounded with his bodyguard, and fearlessly delivered his unwelcome message to the guilty king (v.16).
He would surely die, because he had sought help from the dead god of Ekron, and had despised the living God of Israel.
Every soul that so sins shall surely die. Oh, man, fallen by thy sin, and sick unto death, let us hear the voice of mercy saying, “ Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isa.45:22), And (Ac.6:12) tells us “There is none other Name under Heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Ac.6:12).