Marching to the beat of their own drummer
2Kings1: That has to be Elijah the Tishbite!
Elijah has come a long way in the years since he fled from Jezebel. He now has a faithful assistant, Elisha, and a band of disciples. Generally, he stays out of sight. However, he remains a household name in Israel. You might say he’s bigger than life. Now that Ahab is dead, his son, Ahaziah rules Israel. However, things aren’t going well for him. Moab has rebelled against the rule of Israel and, to top it off, Ahaziah has taken a nasty fall and been injured. The ailing king sends messengers to seek a remedy for his injuries, not to Jehovah God, but to the idol Baal. It’s as they travel to Ekron to visit the Baal shrine that they encounter the old man Elijah, shaggy hair, leather belt and all. The Lord, he says, is angry with Ahaziah for turning to Baal as though he doesn’t exist and because of that Ahaziah is on what will become his deathbed. When they return with the message and describe the man who gave it, Ahaziah knows that Elijah has stepped out onto the public stage once again. Repeated attempts to arrest him result in fire falling from heaven. Clearly, it’s unwise to trifle with this man of God! Aside from his unusual appearance (and, come to think of it, the lightning strikes on his enemies), Elijah reminds me of some spiritual giants I’ve known. These are people who don’t make a big deal of themselves, who seem out of step with what most of us think of as “normal,” but spend a lot of time in the presence of God. When they have something to say, we’re wise to listen.
Take Away: Sometimes people who seem out of step with the world are very much in step with the Lord.
2 Chronicles 22: And Jehu killed him.
The stories of the kings of Israel and Judah don’t always leave us feeling encouraged and uplifted. There’s a whole lot of ugly stuff and even when we read devotionally we don’t come away with anything like a cup of sugar! Jehu’s role in the story is an interesting one. He’s called to be God’s avenger. Because of Ahab of Israel’s wickedness Jehu’s given the job of hunting down and killing all his family. Now, Ahaziah becomes king of Judah and he stupidly follows in the footsteps of his father. Rather than looking to his grandfather, Jehoshaphat, for an example he connects himself to Ahab’s clan and, in the words of this passage, “attended the sin school of Ahab, and graduated with a degree in doom.” That puts him on the radar screen of the man who’s mainly been concerned with cleaning up the wickedness associated with the throne of Israel. Now, as the king of Judah enters into the orbit of Ahab, Jehu takes note. When he has the opportunity God’s executioner corners Ahaziah and kills him. As I said, some of these stories don’t make us feel all warm and fuzzy! Ahaziah foolishly associated himself with the wrong people, was then counted as one of them, and then paid the same price that they paid. A take away from this less-than-encouraging passage is that we’d better be careful in choosing our best friends and who we allow to influence our lives.
Take Away: Choices have consequences.