Posted by: arieliondotcom | May 10, 2013

Backyard Believers (2 Kings 1)

As I’m writing this they are remaking the movie “The Wizard of Oz.” I’ve found remakes are never as good as the original so I can’t tell you what the remake is about. But the 1939 version with Judy Garland was about searching the world for satisfaction when all that really matters is in your own back yard. That is the lesson in today’s Scripture but on the Spiritual and eternal scale.

As we open 2 Kings we find it continues 1 Kings. (Surprise!) Remember that the people of GOD have been split up as punishment from GOD since entering the Promised Land. The tribe of Judah that King David had belonged to is in Jerusalem with one king. The people and kings of Judah are mostly godfearing. But most of the rest of the 12 tribes have broken off. They’re called Israel and have their own king ruling from Samaria. The Kings of Israel were mostly evil idol worshippers and incited their people to be

The latest evil king in Israel is Ahaziah. He’s evil as his father was and when he is dying from a fall he orders his servants to go to foreign prophets of the idol he worships instead of the true GOD to ask whether he will live or die. (Actually, of course, he’s asking if they can keep him from dying.)

But GOD sends the true prophet Elijah to give the servants a message. Because the king has ignored the One True GOD of Israel (in this case meaning all 12 tribes, including Judah), the king will die. GOD through Elijah is saying “Don’t bother asking foreigners. You’ve got the real GOD right here in your backyard. But because you ignored Me, the answer to your question is: You’re a dead man.”

The terrified messengers run back to the king who chides them for coming back too soon. And when he learns why and the message from Elijah he sends 50 soldiers to drag Elijah back.

Ahaziah knows Elijah. He doesn’t wear fancy robes like the false prophets. He lives a life of poverty, depending on GOD for everything and making his own clothing from animal hides. So when the servants describe the man who gave them the message, the king knows who it is: Elijah, the same prophet who condemned his parents for their idol worship. Ahaziah worships the same false gods his father and mother did. And just as his father and mother, King Ahab & Queen Jezebel had done, foolish Ahaziah wants to kill Elijah for telling the truth.

When we hear about Elijah wearing animal skins it should remind us of two things. First is Adam and Eve. When they realized they were naked GOD provided them with animal skins to cover themselves. They had tried plants but GOD showed sin always requires the shedding of blood to cover it. By wearing animal skins, Elijah acknowledged dependance on GOD. And that death was required to cover his shame. And this would be his message to others about the mercy and judgment of GOD, Who covers our shame but at the cost of life.

John the Baptist would dress like Elijah many years later. He will give the same message of death covering shame. And he would point to JESUS Christ, calling Him the Lamb of GOD Whose death would cover the shame of the world.

When 50 soldiers sent to bring Elijah back find him on a mountain, he refuses to come down. When they called up “Man of GOD”, were they mocking him as Roman soldiers would one day mock Christ as King of the Jews? Perhaps. But the fact that there were 50 of them but none chose to go after him but called him to them suggests they were afraid of him. He answers ironically and perhaps sarcastically that if what they say is true, then may fire come down from Heaven and destroy them. And it does. This same thing happens to another 50 soldiers. And when the third set begs for their life, the same angel who had sent Elijah to the messengers of the king now tells him to go along with these soldiers. Elijah does, tells Ahaziah he’s going to die because he went to foreigner idols instead of the True GOD there in Israel, and Ahaziah dies.

Why does it matter that this idiot asks advice of a foreign idol instead of the true GOD so available to him? Because millions of us do the same. We go looking for fulfillment and satisfaction by putting foreign substances into our bodies. Or we look for some mystical foreign religion to give us answers that are in a Bible as close as our bookshelf, trunk upstairs, online. Or in a Bible-believing church on the corner. Until recently as people commited sin in hotel rooms with all the answers they longed for in a Bible beside their pillows in the drawer.

JESUS is the True GOD as close as our breath. We can call out to Him at any time. He is the manifestation of the One, True GOD that Elijah served and his animal skins and the clothes and message of John the Baptist told about.
Will we call out to the True GOD Who gives Life and promises to be with us always? Or are we choosing to ignore Him and thereby serve Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies and decay?

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