Wednesday, August 31, 2022

2022.08.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Kings 1

Read 2 Kings 1

Questions from the Scripture text: Who rebelled against whom in 2 Kings 1:1? After what? Now what happens to Ahab’s son in 2 Kings 1:2? Whom does he send to whom to ask what in verse 2? But Who speaks to whom in 2 Kings 1:3? Whom is Elijah to go meet? What is he to ask them? What answer does Who give to Ahaziah’s question (2 Kings 1:4)? Who asks what, when the messengers are back too soon to have been to Ekron (2 Kings 1:5)? What do the messengers report (2 Kings 1:6)? What does Ahaziah ask in 2 Kings 1:7? How do they answer (2 Kings 1:8)? What does the king conclude? What sort of group does the king then send in 2 Kings 1:9? What does the captain call Elijah? What does he command Elijah to do? How does Elijah answer (2 Kings 1:10)? What happens to the captain and his fifty men? How does the king respond to this (2 Kings 1:11)? What does the second captain call Elijah? What does he command Elijah? How does Elijah answer (2 Kings 1:12)? What happens to the captain and his fifty? How does the king now respond (2 Kings 1:13)? What does this captain call Elijah? What doesn’t he do that the other captains did? What request does he make instead? How does he explain this request in 2 Kings 1:14? Who speaks to whom in 2 Kings 1:15? What does He tell Elijah to do? What does He tell Elijah not to do? With whom does Elijah go where? In Whose behalf does Elijah speak in verse 2 Kings 1:16? For what offense is Ahaziah being punished? What is the punishment? What happens in 2 Kings 1:17? Who becomes king (cf. 2 Kings 3:1) and why? What was recorded elsewhere instead of in holy Scripture (2 Kings 1:18)?

Who is God’s man with God’s power, the king or the prophet? 2 Kings 1 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that in the battle between Israel’s traitorous throne and God’s faithful Word, the prophet was the man of God in whom was invested the power of God. 

2 Kings 1:1 seems like a toss-away, an historical anecdote to let us know perhaps where we are in the chronology. But it is more than that. The chapter begins with the death of Ahab, as prophesied by Elijah (and two others), and it ends (2 Kings 1:17-18) with the death of Ahaziah, as prophesied by Elijah. Good riddance to bad rubbish; and, bless the Name of God Who would eventually come as the Word made flesh in order to be King for Himself for His people!

The repetition helps us see the main teaching of the chapter: “If I am a man of God, then let fire come down…” and it did (2 Kings 1:102 Kings 1:12)! Elijah is the man of God. And Yahweh is the one true God. His Word is faithful and always true.

But Ahaziah is treacherous and traitorous, not true. He sends to Baal-Zebub to know if he will survive falling out of his window (2 Kings 1:2). A Baal-god from one of the cities of the now almost-defunct Philistines? What does he know, or what can he do? Any God but Yahweh is a figment of the imagination. If an Ekronite had a problem, it should be he who realizes that Baal-Zebub is a farce, and sends to inquire of Yahweh instead. But here it has been the other way around. So Yahweh asks, “is it because there is no God in Israel…?” (2 Kings 1:32 Kings 1:62 Kings 1:16). Let us consider well how the Lord considers it treachery to look for hope apart from Him!

Of course, Ahaziah knew the answer. He could tell from the outfit (2 Kings 1:8) that the answer that he would die (2 Kings 1:6) had come from the prophet of Yahweh. Like father (cf. 1 Kings 22:81 Kings 22:161 Kings 22:18), like son, he just doesn’t like the prophet or his God. 

So, Ahaziah sends not a messenger but a military force to summon Elijah. But God’s Word in the mouth of God’s prophet is its own military force (cf. 2 Kings 2:12). Elijah declares that Word as his own defense, and God answers with fire from heaven (2 Kings 2:102 Kings 2:12). When our authority commands us to oppose the Lord, our responsibility is to refuse the command. Ahaziah commanded those captains to their death, and they should have disobeyed. Those captains commanded those fifty to their death, and they should have disobeyed.

But Yahweh is the sort of commander Who defends and avenges the lives of His people. He defends Elijah throughout the chapter, and we see a small picture of this in the third captain. He both disobeys Ahaziah’s orders and intervenes in behalf of his own men, asking that their lives be precious (2 Kings 2:13). Let all lesser magistrates/authorities conduct themselves like this.

Eventually, the Word Himself would become a Man in order to be the forever-King. He is His own defense and His people’s defense. Their lives are precious in His sight, and He defends and avenges them. How blessed to be the servants of King Jesus!

In what situation do you need knowledge/hope? From where alone can it ultimately come? What means does He use to give it, and how are you tempted to look for it apart from Him? Where has He given you His words? Who is your King? What has He done for you? What can you be sure He will do for you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You alone are God. Don’t let us be like Ahaziah and look for answers apart from You. Make us to be confident in the power of Your Word and to hate and fear ever to oppose You. Forgive us for how easily our hearts do the very things for which You executed Ahaziah. Thank You for giving us Christ to be both our Prophet and King, as well as our Sacrifice Who has borne the fire of wrath that we deserve. In His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP72A “God, Give Your Judgments to the King” or TPH72B “O God, Your Judgments Give the King”

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