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FIRE OF GOD By Rich Jennings

Read: 2 Kings 1:1-18

Reflect: Does our God ever get angry? If He does, what would cause Him to get angry? If we could choose one action committed by man that would kindle the anger of God more than any other, I think that it would probably be idolatry. To define it simply, idolatry is replacing God with something else. This is something that the Lord cannot accept. There is no one above Him and no one can take His place. He is God. He is the creator and sustainer of all life. All of creation answers to Him. It is never the other way around.

In 2 Kings chapter one, King Ahaziah discovered this. The king had suffered a household accident with serious personal bodily injury being a serious consequence. So, what did he do? Instead of calling to Yahweh, Israel’s one true God for help, he sent a servant to Philistia saying, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness.” He tried to seek advice from a false god thereby replacing the true God of Israel. God would have none of this. The angel of the Lord directed the prophet Elijah to challenge King Ahaziah “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?”. The prophet then pronounced judgment: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” The king received the message but didn’t accept the “message” God was trying to convey, that Jehovah God would not be replaced by Baal.

As a result, the king became angry and sent fifty soldiers to arrest Elijah. The prophet responded by saying that if he was the prophet of the one true God, then let the fire of God come down from heaven and consume the soldiers. Immediately, fire from heaven came down and destroyed the soldiers. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough proof for King Ahaziah regarding God’s sovereignty so he sent fifty more soldiers who were also consumed by fire. Yet again, the king sent a third group of fifty. This time the captain of the soldiers humbly acknowledged that Elijah was the servant of the one true God and begged for the lives of himself and his soldiers. Elijah then went down with the captain and told Ahaziah that his idolatry would cost him his life and it did. The king died soon after.

         Fast forward to New Testament times. In Luke 9:51-55 we read that the Samaritans of one village had rejected Jesus as He was on His way to Jerusalem and that when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them. The disciples no doubt had Elijah in mind and God’s response to the soldiers of King Ahaziah.  

However, Jesus, in contrast, showed mercy to His enemies.  The fire of God from heaven in Old Testament times would be replaced by the fire of God in mankind’s hearts through the Holy Spirit. It would be offered to all, who like the third captain of fifty, humbly bowed to the one true God and His Son Jesus the Christ.

Apply: Idolatry comes in many forms. We must be careful not to let anything replace God on the throne of our hearts. He alone is worthy of our worship. Be like the captain of fifty who humbly bowed to the one true God and His Son Jesus the Christ. Let the fire of the Holy Spirit burn in your heart through the Holy Spirit. God alone is the one thing that cannot be taken away from us and if all we have in life is Him, it is enough.