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13. Characteristics Of Our Faithful God (2 Kings 1)

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After Ahab died, Moab rebelled against Israel. Ahaziah fell through a window lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria and was injured. He sent messengers with these orders, “Go, ask Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron, if I will survive this injury.” But the Lord’s angelic messenger told Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up, go to meet the messengers from the king of Samaria. Say this to them: ‘You must think there is no God in Israel! That explains why you are on your way to seek an oracle from Baal Zebub the god of Ekron. Therefore this is what the Lord says, “You will not leave the bed you lie on, for you will certainly die!’” So Elijah went on his way. When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you returned?” They replied, “A man came up to meet us. He told us, “Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “You must think there is no God in Israel! That explains why you are sending for an oracle from Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron. Therefore you will not leave the bed you lie on, for you will certainly die.’” The king asked them, “Describe the appearance of this man who came up to meet you and told you these things.” They replied, “He was a hairy man and had a leather belt tied around his waist.” The king said, “He is Elijah the Tishbite.” The king sent a captain and his fifty soldiers to retrieve Elijah. The captain went up to him, while he was sitting on the top of a hill. He told him, “Prophet, the king says, ‘Come down!’” Elijah replied to the captain, “If I am indeed a prophet, may fire come down from the sky and consume you and your fifty soldiers!” Fire then came down from the sky and consumed him and his fifty soldiers. The king sent another captain and his fifty soldiers to retrieve Elijah. He went up and told him, “Prophet, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’” Elijah replied to them, “If I am indeed a prophet, may fire come down from the sky and consume you and your fifty soldiers!” Fire from God came down from the sky and consumed him and his fifty soldiers. The king sent a third captain and his fifty soldiers. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. He begged for mercy, “Prophet, please have respect for my life and for the lives of these fifty servants of yours. Indeed, fire came down from the sky and consumed the two captains who came before me, along with their men. So now, please have respect for my life.” The Lord’s angelic messenger said to Elijah, “Go down with him. Don’t be afraid of him.” So he got up and went down with him to the king. Elijah said to the king, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You sent messengers to seek an oracle from Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron. You must think there is no God in Israel from whom you can seek an oracle! Therefore you will not leave the bed you lie on, for you will certainly die.’” He died just as the Lord had prophesied through Elijah. In the second year of the reign of King Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat over Judah, Ahaziah’s brother Jehoram replaced him as king of Israel, because he had no son. The rest of the events of Ahaziah’s reign, including his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

2 Kings 1 (NET)

When studying Scripture, we often focus on learning how to live—finding applications for our daily lives. However, even more important than teaching us how to live, Scripture teaches us about God and his character. Therefore, as we consider Ahaziah’s short reign in Israel and how he died, there are principles we can learn about God and his character which will enable us to worship and serve him better.

In 2 Kings 1, after Ahab’s death, Moab rebelled against Israel. They were a vassal state who came under Israel’s authority when David initially defeated them (2 Sam 8:2). They paid taxes each year to Israel’s king and gave him honor. However, after Ahab died, they rebelled. When Ahaziah, Ahab’s son and the new king of Israel, heard this, he was in an upper chamber of his palace in Samaria. In his shock, he must have leaned on one of the wooden frames, and it gave way, causing him to fall several stories to the ground. The crash was not fatal, but it severely injured him. Consequently, Ahaziah sent messengers to ask Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron, if he would survive. Baal Zebub means “Lord of the flies.” Most likely, there were many flies in that area that carried diseases, and it was believed that Baal Zebub warded off these flies and therefore protected the Philistines from sickness.1 It’s not clear why Ahaziah sought Baal’s guidance at Ekron, since there were, no doubt, prophets of Baal in Israel. In 1 Kings 18, all Baal’s prophets were destroyed in the contest with Elijah, but that was about ten years prior to this. The temple at Ekron was very famous, as Baal was the chief god of that city2, so maybe that is why Ahaziah sent his servants there for a diagnosis and possibly with hope that Baal would heal him.

When Ahaziah sought answers from Baal, God sent a prophetic word through Elijah that Ahaziah would die for not seeking help from the true God. As we consider this passage, we learn principles about God’s character which will help us worship and serve him better, including keeping us from rebellion.

Big Question: What principles can we learn about God’s character from this narrative in 2 Kings 1?

God’s Punishment on People’s Sins Is Often Distributed by Allowing Their Sins to Negatively Affect Their Children for Generations

After Ahab died, Moab rebelled against Israel. Ahaziah fell through a window lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria and was injured. He sent messengers with these orders, “Go, ask Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron, if I will survive this injury.”

2 Kings 1:1-2

Ahaziah’s parents, Ahab and Jezebel, introduced Baal worship in Israel. Ahab was dead, but Jezebel was still alive and, no doubt, had significant power in Israel. In considering this narrative, it is clear that Ahaziah simply practiced his parents’ sins. When he was injured, he sought the deity that his family worshiped—Baal. In addition, when Elijah rebuked Ahaziah’s messengers, he responded just like his parents would. Ahaziah responded by force—trying to take Elijah with a regimen of fifty soldiers. Previously, Jezebel had hunted down all the prophets of Yahweh and put many of them to death (1 Kgs 18:4). She even threatened Elijah’s life (1 Kgs 19:2). Ahaziah had seen both his parents’ zeal for Baal in his home, and no doubt, witnessed their great fury. When they were angry, they probably even got physical. Therefore, Ahaziah responded just like them.

Ahaziah’s unfaithfulness must be considered in the context of the Mosaic law—God’s covenant with Israel. In Exodus 20:5, God said this about idol worship and how it would affect the families who practiced it:

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children to the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.

God was not saying that he would punish children for their parents’ sins, because in other places, God directly said that he would never do that. Ezekiel 18:20 says,

The person who sins is the one who will die. A son will not suffer for his father’s iniquity, and a father will not suffer for his son’s iniquity; the righteous person will be judged according to his righteousness, and the wicked person according to his wickedness.

Therefore, God’s covenant in Exodus 20:5 seems to demonstrate how parents’ sins would negatively impact their children for generations—consequently leading to their punishment. The power of rebellion will be hard to root out of family lines, which is why we commonly see sins passed down generationally.

If fathers put work before their family, their sons will commonly do the same in their marriage—hurting both their wives and children. If parents struggle with addictions to alcohol or other types of drugs, the children commonly will as well. Typically, alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, divorce, infidelity, debt, etc., can be clearly seen across generational lines. This should be sobering for parents or potential parents because our virtues and vices will most likely show up in our children. If we put things before God—neglecting family devotions and church—our children will typically do the same. Similarly, if we demonstrate the importance of not just attending church but also finding ways to serve and get involved, our children will often do so as well.

Therefore, as we consider Ahaziah’s practicing his parent’s rebellion, we must soberly ask ourselves, “What are our vices as parents (or potential parents) and what were our parents’ vices?” As we discern these, we can work on rooting them out, so they don’t continue down our generational lines. This is a common reflective activity done with pre-marital couples. They are instructed to look back at their parents’ marriage, training of the children, handling of finances, resolving of conflicts, etc., so they can identify what they want to model and don’t. If couples don’t reflect, they will often by default practice the negative aspects of their parents and pass those on to their children. For mature couples whose children are older or out of the house, it’s not too late to reflect, set a godly example for them, and help bring transformation in their lives. It just will be harder and possibly a longer process than if certain vices were removed before the children were born or while they were young.

Ahab and Jezebel set a terrible example for Ahaziah in their pagan worship and their harsh policies, and Ahaziah clearly modeled them to his own destruction and that of his children.

Application Question: What are your virtues and your vices? What are some things you would like to develop in your life or get rid of to be more of a blessing to your children (or future children) and others who come in contact with you? How did your parents’ examples positively and negatively affect you?

God Desires People to Rely on Him for Guidance and Therefore Will Bring Judgment for Relying on the World and the Occult

But the Lord’s angelic messenger told Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up, go to meet the messengers from the king of Samaria. Say this to them: ‘You must think there is no God in Israel! That explains why you are on your way to seek an oracle from Baal Zebub the god of Ekron.

2 Kings 1:3

After Ahaziah sent messengers to Ekron to seek guidance from Baal Zebub, God immediately let Elijah know about it and sent him with a prophetic message. Second Kings 1:3-4 says,

But the Lord’s angelic messenger told Elijah the Tishbite, “Get up, go to meet the messengers from the king of Samaria. Say this to them: ‘You must think there is no God in Israel! That explains why you are on your way to seek an oracle from Baal Zebub the god of Ekron. Therefore this is what the Lord says, “You will not leave the bed you lie on, for you will certainly die!” ‘ “So Elijah went on his way.

In the Old Testament, God expressly warned Israel about dabbling in the occult. This was one of the reasons God judged the Canaanites and planned to remove them from the land. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Moses said this to Israel:

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer. Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord and because of these detestable things the Lord your God is about to drive them out from before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.

In addition, Leviticus 20:6 says, “‘The person who turns to the spirits of the dead and familiar spirits to commit prostitution by going after them, I will set my face against that person and cut him off from the midst of his people.” God promised to cut off Israelites who sought the guidance of demons through occultic practices, and with Ahaziah, God was faithful to his Word. Because Ahaziah sought guidance through the occult, he was going to die. Likewise, one reason Scripture gives for God’s judgment of Saul is because he sought guidance from a medium. First Chronicles 10:13-14 says,

So Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord and did not obey the Lord’s instructions; he even tried to conjure up underworld spirits. He did not seek the Lord’s guidance, so the Lord killed him and transferred the kingdom to David son of Jesse.

This reminds us of how dangerous occultic practices are. Believers should not use horoscopes. They should not play with Ouija boards or seek guidance from psychics. When they do this, they open the door to demons and stir up God’s wrath. Because of this, Paul warned the Corinthians against participating in idol feasts. In 1 Corinthians 10:20-22, he said:

No, I mean that what the pagans sacrifice is to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or are we trying to provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we really stronger than he is?

By participating in occultic practices, we will provoke God to jealously and bring his discipline on our lives. Charles Swindoll said it this way:

I realize that most people who begin dabbling in astrology or fortune telling or Ouija boards don’t take it all that seriously. Astrology, for example, has a captivating appeal. Most do it for fun. Or out of curiosity. But these simple, harmless-looking games begin a process that many cannot handle; and they open doors that should not be opened. Then, it’s only a matter of time before the dark powers of demonic forces suck them in, and they find themselves ensnared. As the forces of darkness capture more of their minds, they become driven by these powers, consumed by them, ruled by them, rather than governed by God.3

Obviously, one of the main reasons people seek the occult is to gain guidance about the future; however, when we do that, we are rejecting God’s guidance, and like Ahaziah and Saul, we will provoke God to jealousy and wrath.

In considering God’s desire to guide us, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” Through Scripture, God promises to equip us for “every good work.” Do we need guidance for relationships, parenting, business, the future, etc.? In Scripture, God either tells us what to do, especially in moral situations, or gives us principles. If that were not enough, James 1:5 says, “But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him.”

When worrying about the future or feeling like we need further guidance, we must seek God through his Word and prayer instead of the world, including the occult. If we seek the world’s guidance, including on major decisions like who to marry, how to parent, and what to do with our lives in general, we discredit God’s guidance and will bring God’s discipline on our lives.

Application Question: In what ways are Christians tempted to rely on the world’s wisdom instead of God’s? Why is the occult so dangerous? What is your experience with the occult?

God’s Grace Is Sometimes Revealed in Delivering People from Suffering and at Other Times by Empowering Them Through It

When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you returned?” They replied, “A man came up to meet us. He told us, “Go back to the king who sent you and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: “You must think there is no God in Israel! That explains why you are sending for an oracle from Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron. Therefore you will not leave the bed you lie on, for you will certainly die.” ‘ “The king asked them, “Describe the appearance of this man who came up to meet you and told you these things.” They replied, “He was a hairy man and had a leather belt tied around his waist.” The king said, “He is Elijah the Tishbite.” The king sent a captain and his fifty soldiers to retrieve Elijah. The captain went up to him, while he was sitting on the top of a hill. He told him, “Prophet, the king says, ‘Come down!’ “Elijah replied to the captain, “If I am indeed a prophet, may fire come down from the sky and consume you and your fifty soldiers!” Fire then came down from the sky and consumed him and his fifty soldiers. The king sent another captain and his fifty soldiers to retrieve Elijah. He went up and told him, “Prophet, this is what the king says, ‘Come down at once!’ “Elijah replied to them, “If I am indeed a prophet, may fire come down from the sky and consume you and your fifty soldiers!” Fire from God came down from the sky and consumed him and his fifty soldiers.

2 Kings 1:5-12

When the messengers returned, the king was surprised at the brevity of their trip; therefore, he asked them, “Why have you returned?” (v. 5). In response, they told him about the prophet and what he said. He then asked what the prophet looked like (v. 7). In verse 8, they responded, “He was a hairy man and had a leather belt tied around his waist.” Literally, “hairy man” can be translated “possessor of hair.”4 Elijah was probably wearing some type of animal garment with a leather belt around his waist. When the king heard this, he knew it was Elijah.

He then sent a captain with fifty soldiers to take Elijah by force. Elijah was on the top of a hill (probably praying and communing with God; cf. 1 Kgs 18:42, 19:11). The captain said, “Prophet, the king says, ‘Come down!” (v. 9). It might seem like a gentle request; however, the context demonstrates that it was threatening. The king and his family were already antagonistic to Elijah—having tried to kill him multiple times—and they had killed many other prophets (1 Kgs 18, 19). Also, with the third captain, God told Elijah to not be afraid of him (v. 15), which demonstrates that Elijah probably felt like he was in danger. The king clearly had bad intentions for Elijah. In response to the first and second captain, Elijah said, “If I am indeed a prophet, may fire come down from the sky and consume you and your fifty soldiers!” (v. 10 and 12). Both times, God brought fire from heaven to judge them for threatening Elijah.

This was very reminiscent of 1 Kings 18 when Elijah had a contest with the prophets of Baal to prove who was the true God. The true God was the one who brought fire from heaven on the sacrifice. What should God do if some Israelites still didn’t believe he was God? Bring fire again, and that’s exactly what God did. God brought fire from heaven both to prove that he was the true God and also to protect his prophet.

God Our Protecter and Preserver

Here, we must remember something about God. He is our protector. In Matthew 18:10, Christ said, “See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Also, Psalm 91:11-12 says, “For he will order his angels to protect you in all you do. They will lift you up in their hands, so you will not slip and fall on a stone.” Scripture says God has angels around us ready to respond to his call to protect us; no doubt, God was doing that here with Elijah. Certainly, there are many untold ways God has protected us throughout our lives, which we won’t know about until we get to heaven—the many times that Satan asked to sift us like wheat, but God said no, or accidents God kept from happening.

With that said, in God’s sovereign will, it is not always his will to protect his saints from suffering. Sometimes, as with Christ, it is God’s will for his saints to experience great sorrow and pain, including death. Through the suffering, he matures their character, and if it is God’s will for his saints to die, he perfects them in heaven. In Hebrews 12:23, the saints are called “the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect.”

Hebrews 11:32-40 describes these two aspects of God’s will for believers by giving examples of those who, because of their faith, were delivered from suffering and others, likewise through faith, who God gave grace to persevere through suffering.

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, gained what was promised, shut the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, and women received back their dead raised to life. But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawed apart, murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. And these all were commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.

Whatever God’s choice, whether to supernaturally deliver us from pain, as with Elijah, or to allow us to endure pain, as with Christ, we must trust God. Like the three Hebrew men being threatened to be thrown into the fire if they did not worship the Babylonian king’s idol, we must say:

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17-18

As we consider this, we must ask ourselves, are we willing to trust God with the outcome of being righteous in an antagonistic world—an antagonistic family, workplace, or country? Christ prayed for his cup of suffering to be removed, but also said, “… not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). We must do the same—trusting the outcome to God. Many times, it’s God’s will to deliver us from suffering and pain, and at other times, he preserves us through it. We must trust God’s will with both.

Application Question: Why is it important to recognize that God’s grace sometimes delivers us from suffering and at other times enables us to persevere through it? What are major beliefs within the prosperity gospel, and in what ways is it undermining the ability of believers to suffer and even die for Christ?

God Blesses the Humble Who Revere Him, But Judges the Prideful Who Reject Him

The king sent a third captain and his fifty soldiers. This third captain went up and fell on his knees before Elijah. He begged for mercy, “Prophet, please have respect for my life and for the lives of these fifty servants of yours. Indeed, fire came down from the sky and consumed the two captains who came before me, along with their men. So now, please have respect for my life.” The Lord’s angelic messenger said to Elijah, “Go down with him. Don’t be afraid of him.” So he got up and went down with him to the king.

2 Kings 1:13-15

After the first two captains and their soldiers were destroyed by fire, a third captain approached Elijah humbly. In verses 13-14, he said:

Prophet, please have respect for my life and for the lives of these fifty servants of yours. Indeed, fire came down from the sky and consumed the two captains who came before me, along with their men. So now, please have respect for my life.

The word “prophet” in verse 13 can literally be translated “man of God” (ESV). Elijah represented God, and because the third captain approached Elijah with humility, God spared his life and that of the soldiers. Therefore, God told Elijah to go with the captain to the king and not be afraid. This account demonstrates God’s graciousness to the humble and yet his stern anger against the proud. James 4:6 says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.”

When the first two soldiers commanded Elijah to come down in the name of the king, they were exalting the king over Israel’s God; therefore, God killed them. But, when the third captain approached Elijah in humility, God gave grace. Similarly, in Acts 12:21-23, when the Jews essentially called Herod a deity because of his speech and Herod didn’t give glory to God, God struck him through an angel and he died. God fights against the proud.

This reminds us of our need to be humble before God. In prayer, we should not boast of our righteousness or declare that God must do this or that. We should not command God, as some have at times taught and practiced in various Christian circles. We should approach him humbly, realizing that any blessings we receive are a work of God’s mercy and grace, since we all ultimately deserve a fiery death.

In addition, it reminds us to be humble about our accomplishments—remembering that all we have achieved is from God’s grace. We should be humble by putting others before ourselves. We should be humble in our worship—remembering how great God is. God gives grace to the humble but fights against the proud.

Psalm 34:7-10 (ESV) says this about the grace God gives to those who fear him:

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

God richly blesses those who humbly worship him. He protects them, delivers them, and meets their needs.

God Eternally Saves the Humble

In contrast, God’s judgment on the proud captains and their soldiers reminds us that God will eventually consume all who do not humbly submit to him as Lord. They will be consumed eternally in an unquenchable fire. Second Thessalonians 1:8-9 says,

With flaming fire he will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength,

Therefore, God’s fiery judgment on the two detachments reminds us of how 2,000 years ago, God sent his Son to take the wrath that we all deserve. Christ died on the cross and took the fire from God we earned because of our prideful rebellion. If we, like the third captain, do not come to God in humility, accepting his perfect sacrifice for our sins, we will spend eternity in a fiery punishment. God fights against the proud but gives grace to the humble. Christ said if we don’t become like a child (Matt 18:1-4)—totally dependent on God for salvation—we will not enter his kingdom. We cannot earn salvation through our works. It is a free gift which only the humble who accept Christ receive. The third captain experienced God’s grace because he humbly realized his life was in God’s hand, while the other two pridefully stood against God, as they threatened his representative and therefore experienced judgment. How will we respond to this all-powerful, just, and merciful God?

Application Question: What are some ways that pride manifests itself in people’s lives, especially in their relationship with God and others? How does humility manifest itself in people’s lives? How can we grow in humility so we can receive God’s blessing and not his judgment?

God’s Warnings and Delays of Judgment Are Given So People Can Repent of Their Sins

Elijah said to the king, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You sent messengers to seek an oracle from Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron. You must think there is no God in Israel from whom you can seek an oracle! Therefore you will not leave the bed you lie on, for you will certainly die.’ “He died just as the Lord had prophesied through Elijah. In the second year of the reign of King Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat over Judah, Ahaziah’s brother Jehoram replaced him as king of Israel, because he had no son. The rest of the events of Ahaziah’s reign, including his accomplishments, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of the Kings of Israel.

2 Kings 1:16-18

Finally, we must recognize God’s grace on King Ahaziah. When Elijah rebuked the king and gave him a prophecy about his death, this was meant to make the king humble himself before God and repent. God did this previously with Ahaziah’s father, Ahab. God predicted his death and that all his male children would die early and be eaten by dogs because Ahab murdered Naboth and stole his field (1 Kgs 21). However, Ahab humbled himself and fasted before God, and because of this, God told Elijah he would not fulfill the prophecy during Ahab’s lifetime. Likewise, God’s warning was a chance for Ahaziah to repent instead of rebelling against God.

In the same way, we must remember that, though God doesn’t always give immediate punishment for sins that happen, he keeps perfect records. At some point, he will judge. Sometimes, the judgment happens as a natural consequence of sin. Sometimes, God judges in a public way, as with Ahaziah and his soldiers. Ahaziah was going to die, not because he fell from a high floor in his castle, but because he sought the occult for answers (v. 6). Ultimately, God will judge all sin at Christ’s coming. Until then, his slowness in bringing judgment is meant to allow time for repentance. Second Peter 3:9 said it this way, “The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Application Question: How should we respond to God’s justice and yet great patience?

(1) This reminds us to not doubt God or become angry with him when he delays his justice in an abusive family, corrupt company or government. There is a day of accounting coming. (2) Also, it reminds us to be patient with others in their rebellion, struggles with sin, or when they fail us. God was gracious and patient with us; therefore, we should be patient with others as well. (3) With that said, God’s patience reminds us to continually urge others to repent and come to God, so they can be saved. He will not be patient forever.

Because Ahaziah did not repent of his sins, God judged him, and God will judge us and others as well if we do not repent. John the Baptist, who came in the spirit of Elijah, said this to the teachers of Israel in Matthew 3:8-10:

Therefore produce fruit that proves your repentance, and don’t think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that God can raise up children for Abraham from these stones! Even now the ax is laid at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

We must boldly call others to repentance as well, because God’s judgment is coming. God is loving and patient, but he is also just.

Application Question: Why is God patient with people’s sins and failures? How is God calling you to be patient and merciful with others who are failing you?

Conclusion

As we consider God’s judgment of King Ahaziah, we not only learn principles about how to live but specifically about God’s character.

  1. God’s Punishment on People’s Sins Is Often Distributed by Allowing Their Sins to Negatively Affect Their Children for Generations
  2. God Desires People to Rely on Him for Guidance and Therefore Will Bring Judgment for Relying on the World and the Occult
  3. God’s Grace Is Sometimes Revealed in Delivering People from Suffering and at Other Times by Empowering Them Through It
  4. God Blesses the Humble Who Revere Him, But Judges the Prideful Who Reject Him
  5. God’s Warnings and Delays of Judgment Are Given So People Can Repent of Their Sins

Application Question: What stood out most in the reading and why? What questions or applications did you take from the reading?

Prayer Prompts

  • Pray that God would deliver us from sins, including pride, anger, lust, and spiritual apathy, and that he will protect our future children from the consequences of our sin. Pray that God would purify us through his Word, his saints, and his discipline.
  • Pray that God would raise up our children and their children’s children to fear God and be used greatly by him. Pray that God would sever all generational sins.
  • Pray that God would deliver us from trials and suffering, but if not, that we will faithfully endure trials and suffering for the glory of God.
  • Pray that those who don’t know Christ would, in humility, repent of their sins and accept him as Lord and Savior, so they can be delivered from God’s wrath.

Copyright © 2022 Gregory Brown

Unless otherwise noted, the primary Scriptures used are taken from the NET Bible ® copyright © 1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

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1 Guzik, David. 2 Kings (Enduring Word Commentary). 2005

2 Wiersbe, Warren, Be Distinct (2 Kings)

3 Charles R. Swindoll. Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility (Great Lives From God’s Word 5: Profiles in Character from Charles R. Swindoll) (Kindle Locations 1702-1706). Kindle Edition.

4 Guzik. David. 2 Kings, The Enduring Word Commentary

Related Topics: Character Study, Christian Life

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