The Book of 2 Kings will continue to show wicked rulers, widespread idolatry, and God’s people seemingly looking the other way. We’ll also see how those people were sliding down a slippery slope. I’ve heard it described as a society’s river current, flowing fast and furious, pulling downward everything in its path. God calls us to swim against the flow. It might not always be popular, but we can be sure God’s way is the way to trust.
Our reading today begins with a very unpopular message being sent to the king of Israel from the prophet, Elijah. You’ll notice Elijah sent the message because God said to, not because he was asked for a word from God. God was angered by the fact Israel’s king wasn’t seeking God’s answer but that of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron. Despite the unpopular nature of Elijah’s message, he shared it anyway.
What does this make you think of? Do you see yourself being bold like Elijah and speaking God’s truth no matter whose feathers you may ruffle? Maybe the opposite is true and while you know God’s truth, you keep it to yourself because it’s “safer” than receiving ridicule for your faith. It’s a struggle. A real struggle!
I found myself struggling a bit as I read about the death of over 100 men at God’s hand. Elijah spoke it, and God responded. Twice. Elijah did not have to go as a prisoner before the king. What was different about the third time? Mercy was sought. This third captain fell to his knees and pleaded for mercy. God could see the leader’s heart. It must have been more than just the fear of death. The man acknowledged God’s power. What does that say to you about this captain? I’m sure Elijah was a bit surprised at the reaction. But it wasn’t up to Elijah to pardon the man.
When Elijah was sure of God’s protection, he went forward to share the unpopular message of certain death with the king who had requested his presence. Elijah was always checking in with God or waiting on God before moving. Elijah didn’t change or sugar coat the message King Ahaziah heard that day. God’s promise came to pass, and a new king took the throne.
What does this passage say to you today?
We have a message to proclaim. Are we bold enough to open our mouths? Do we feel like we are being threatened in any way? We can be confident that God will protect us like he protected Elijah. Elijah heard God’s voice and acted. We should be listening for God’s voice, too.
Let’s pray …
Lord, thank you for how you have called me to share my faith. Forgive me when I’m not as bold as I should be because of my desire to be safe and popular. Quiet my own mind to be able to hear you and sense your direction for my life. Put the right words in my mouth when the time is right and help me not to miss the opportunity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.