When Ahab (the wicked king of Israel) died, his son Ahaziah became king. He was not a good king. He copied the evil deeds of his father and his mother (Queen Jezebel). One day, Ahaziah fell through a balcony railing on the rooftop of the palace. He was injured badly, but instead of asking God to help him, he sent messengers to consult with Baal-zebub, the false god of the Philistines. He wanted to find out if he would recover. The angel of the Lord came to Elijah and told him to confront the messengers of Ahaziah. He was told to send them back to the king with this message: “You are going to die in the bed you are now in, since you are consulting with Baal-zebub instead of Me!” Elijah found the messengers and delivered God’s message. Ahaziah’s servants immediately returned to the palace. “Why are you back so soon?” King Ahaziah wanted to know. “We met a man with a message from God,” they explained. “He told us that since you consulted with Baal-zebub instead of the God of Israel, you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will surely die!” “What kind of man said this?” the king inquired. “He was wearing a garment made from animal fur with a leather belt around his waist,” they responded. “Oh, I know who that is—it’s Elijah,” the king muttered. He knew that Elijah was the same man who had killed the 450 prophets of Baal and condemned his parents (see #138 - May 18). The king immediately sent a captain and 50 soldiers to capture Elijah, so he could get rid of him. When they found him, Elijah was sitting at the top of a hill. The captain yelled up to him, “Man of God, come down! The king has sent us to get you.” Elijah replied, “If I really am a man of God as you say I am, fire will come down from heaven and kill you and your 50 men!” (If fire appeared, it would prove that Elijah really was doing God’s work and that the mission the soldiers had accepted was not pleasing to God.) Fire did come down, and it consumed the captain and all 50 of his men! King Ahaziah sent another captain with another 50 soldiers to capture the prophet. The results were the same. A third captain with another 50 soldiers was sent, but he approached Elijah differently. He recognized the power of God and the importance of this prophet. He fell on his knees and humbly pleaded with Elijah to return with him. “Man of God, please show compassion on us. Spare my life and the lives of these 50 servants of yours,” he begged. The angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go with him. You don’t need to be afraid.” So, Elijah came down and went with him to the king. When he saw King Ahaziah, Elijah repeated the message from God: “This is what the Lord says, ‘I would have answered you. But because you consulted the god Baal-zebub instead of Me, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” It wasn’t long before King Ahaziah was buried. He only reigned in Israel for two years.
You and I would never admit that we consult or worship idols. Yet, when we trust anything (or anyone) more than we trust God, we have created an idol! We always need to turn to God first—before we try to solve our problems any other way.