2 Kings 1
Lots of questions come to mind based on this chapter. Why would the servants turn back from their mission when a stranger answers their quest (especially when his answer is one that is provocative and negative)? Why did Azariah send a platoon of soldiers to bring Elijah back? Why did he send two more troops of men after the first troop was consumed by fire? (And how did he convince them to obey him, after the first outcome?) Why did Elijah call down fire on the first two platoons, but not the third one?
I don’t have the answers, but as I pray and ask God for understanding, several truths come to mind. First, Azariah certainly knew there was a God in Israel, yet he turned to a pagan false god in his most desperate moment. Where we look for help when we are in need reveals so much about our hearts, doesn’t it?
Second, the lack of belief in and worship of the true God had become so pervasive that a hundred men thought nothing of approaching a prophet of God and demanding that he come down because the king said so. They acknowledged his righteousness and relationship with God by calling him “Man of God,” yet they disdained to honor him or the God he served.
Finally, the sentence in verse 17b, which tells us Azariah had no son, might be easily overlooked. But we should note that this fulfilled what God had told Elijah in 1 Kings 21, that because Ahab humbled himself, the judgment on him would fall on his son, Azariah. Ahab’s descendants died with Azariah.
Fortunately, most of us don’t have to worry about turning to Beelzebub for help. But we put our trust in all sorts of false gods all the time. We trust in our money or our name to resolve a financial crisis. We put our faith in government to bring justice and peace. We count on pharmaceutical companies to provide a cure or in science to explain God’s creation. All of these things are not bad in and of themselves. God has provided them for us, and He often uses them to our benefit. But we must always keep them in perspective — these tools are not our salvation. God is our salvation.