07 April 2009

Like Passions – 4.7.09

The book of 2 Kings opens with the story of a man named Ahaziah. He was the son of Ahab, the most wicked king in all of Israel's history. One day Ahaziah took a fall from his upper chamber and was laid up in his bed. So he sent messengers to enquire of Beelzebub the god of Ekron and find out if he had any chance of recovery.

While the messengers are on the way, God sends His prophet Elijah to meet them and send them back to tell the king he was a dead man. So Elijah carries out the task God gives him.

When the king received the message and found out who it came from, he sent a captain and 50 of his soldiers to bring Elijah before him. Elijah is sitting on the top of a hill and instead of complying with the captain's request, he replies, "If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty." And that's exactly what happened – 51 crispy critters at the foot of the hill.

So what does the king do? He sends another captain with another 50 soldiers to go and fetch the prophet. And the scene repeats itself – now 102 crispy critters at the foot of that hill.

So the third captain sent with 50 soldiers by the king to Elijah takes a more humble approach. Instead of simply relaying the king's demand, this guy falls on his knees and pleas for his life at the bottom of the hill.

Then the Bible says in 2 Kings 1:15 And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: BE NOT AFRAID OF HIM. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.

Now that's encouraging to me, and here's why. I get the implication that the whole calling down fire from heaven thing was motivated more by Elijah's fear than it was by his great courage. Think about it. The message that God had Elijah deliver didn't make him a popular guy with the king of Israel, who was by no means a God-fearing man, and it's pretty obvious that the soldiers weren't sent to pick up Elijah so he could have dinner with the king and chat.

So when this third company comes, God tells Elijah not to be afraid but to go with him. Elijah goes before the king and delivers the same message in his presence (v. 16) that he had given to his messengers earlier (vv. 3-4). And it came to pass.

James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are…

You would think that the great prophet of God who could call down fire from heaven (1 Kings 18; 2 Kings 1) and who took a fiery chariot ride into heaven (2 Kings 2) wouldn't have had to deal with things like fear and discouragement. But he did.

So don't be surprised and DON'T QUIT when those type things come your way. Just gird up your loins like a man (Job 40:7)…encourage yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6)…play the man for your God (2 Samuel 10:12)…quit you like men (1 Corinthians 16:13) and go on in faithful obedience to the God who has called us to declare His message to the world. Amen!

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