II Kings 1 — A God who demands more than lip service

Ahaziah’s reign as king of Israel didn’t last long.  Two years to be exact.  And just as his father Ahab did, he worshiped Baal as well as worshiping Yahweh through the calves that Jeroboam had set up years before.

But Ahaziah had no real desire for dealings with Yahweh on God’s own terms.  And when Ahaziah had an accident, he sought another god to see if he would live or not.  But God sent Elijah who told him,

This is what the Lord says:  Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending men to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?  Therefore, you will not leave the bed you are lying on.  You will certainly die! (6)

When Ahaziah heard these words, he sent a captain and 50 men to Elijah.  What his purpose was, I’m not sure, whether to arrest Elijah, or to simply question him more.

But twice, Ahaziah’s captains came up mockingly saying, “Man of God, the king says, “Come down!”

And twice, Elijah said, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.”  (10,12)

The third captain, however, came humbly saying, “Man of God, please have respect for my life and the life of these fifty men, your servants!  (13)

God then sent Elijah down.  Eljiah confronted Ahaziah, and shortly thereafter, Ahaziah died.

What can we learn from this?  God demands more than lip service from us.  Ahaziah, like most of the Israelite kings, paid lip service to God, but refused to worship him as God had prescribed.  Not only that, when the chips were down, they went to other gods rather than the one true God.

The two captains called Elijah, “Man of God,” but they didn’t mean it.  The third did, and his life was spared as a result.

How do we treat God?  Do we give him only lip service?  Or are we truly humble before him, doing what he has asked?

The day is coming when at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that he is Lord.  (Philippians 2:10-11)

Some will confess it with joy and thanksgiving.  Others will confess it, grinding their teeth.  But all will confess that he is Lord, and there will no longer be any lip service from that time on.

So let us stop any lip service now.  Rather, let us serve God from our hearts, and acknowledge that he is truly Lord.

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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