The Third Captain

Michael Wilcock

READ : 2 Kings 1:1-18

You . . . inquire of Baal-zebub. (vv. 3, 16)

“Don’t put your fingers in the fire, child.” That’s a lesson that King Ahaziah had apparently never been taught by his daddy, Ahab.

Isn’t it extraordinary that he should send not one but three successive platoons of soldiers to try to capture Elijah? Perhaps he had assumed that accidental lightning must have fried the first; but when it happened twice, surely he must have seen what was going on. He knew that Elijah (vv. 7-8) was not a man to be messed with. He knew about the fire that had fallen on Mount Carmel to vindicate Elijah’s God. He knew that the Baals had been shown up there as non-gods. Yet he chose to consult one of them rather than the only God worth consulting. And about a matter of life and death, too (vv. 1-2)!

Ahab had at least made some show of repentance. There would be no such change of mind in his son. The sending of the third captain shows how obstinately Ahaziah was refusing to face the facts. Some people just won’t learn from the judgments of God.

But unlike the pig-headed king, the humble soldier understood how things were. His example is the one our unbelieving world should follow. Elijah’s God must be taken seriously.

PRAYER

Open our eyes to the kind of God you have already shown yourself to be.