Please do not follow in the footsteps of Ahaziah. Rather, confess your sin to God, throw yourself on His mercy and live everlastingly.
Ahaziah, son of Ahab and Jezebel, reigned for about two years as the king of Israel. Ahaziah was a worshipper of Baal and a doer of wickedness just like his parents. Apparently, he was very, very wicked, because Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, had his work destroyed by the Lord simply because he had made an alliance with Ahaziah.
One day Ahaziah was in his upper room in his palace in Samaria and he fell out the window. He was injured seriously enough that he questioned whether he would live or die, so he began to look for a divine answer. Rather than checking with the living God of Israel, Ahaziah did as his parents would have done and turned to Baal. He sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub (Lord of the Flies), the god of Ekron. Surely, there were other prophets of Baal close by, thus it is not clear why he sent messengers to inquire of the prophets of a god in a city forty miles away. Whatever the reasons, Ahaziah made a grave error. By New Testament times, the name Baal-Zebub had begun to be applied to Satan himself.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Ahaziah's arch-nemesis, Elijah. It is not clear if this Angel of the Lord is a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ or not. Elijah was instructed to intercept Ahaziah's messengers and send them back to Ahaziah with this question from the Lord, "Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?" (2 Kings 1:3 NIV) God was clearly not pleased that the king of His Chosen People was consulting with false prophets. Ahaziah might as well have been declaring that God was dead. He would pay dearly for this slap at God. Elijah told the messengers to return to Ahaziah and tell him that he would certainly not recover from this injury. He would die without getting up from his sickbed.
Upon receiving the message, Ahaziah sent a company of soldiers to bring Elijah to him. It is not clear what Ahaziah intended for Elijah. It seems to me that Ahaziah intended to take Elijah to the grave with him. Elijah called down fire from heaven which burned up the first two companies of soldiers. The third company of soldiers came with a different attitude. They begged Elijah to come with them and he did. Elijah asked Ahaziah basically the same question he had sent the messengers back with, "Is it because there is no God in Israel for you to consult, that you have sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?" (2 Kings 1:16 NIV) Ahaziah once again refused to repent and soon died.
It is amazing that Ahaziah responded the way that he did. One would think that he would have repented and asked for forgiveness. However, he did not repent and quickly suffered the consequences of his actions. How many times must the wicked be told that they will surely die in the mess they have made of their lives? The words "you shall surely die" would ring in King Ahaziah's ears until the minute he died and yet he never repented and turned to the Lord for forgiveness. Every sinner, i.e. every person, needs to know that this message to Ahaziah is also for them. The message is simple: You have done wrong, sinned against God, and you will surely die. Ahaziah was a fool. He refused to acknowledge his guilt and beg the Lord for forgiveness. He even responded with evil intent against God's messenger. Please do not follow in the footsteps of Ahaziah. Rather, confess your sin to God, throw yourself on His mercy and live everlastingly.
Pastor Steve Ellison is the director of the Ouachita Theological Training Institute in Mena, Ark.