A quick recap of all the kings we’ve covered thus far: David ruled an undivided kingdom of Israel and passed this rule on to his son Solomon. Solomon’s son Rehoboam followed the foolish advice of his peers and ended up losing the biggest portion of the kingdom, ruling only over Judah, which consisted of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Jeroboam became king over Israel.
Meanwhile, back in Judah, Rehoboam’s throne was then inherited by his son Abijah, who was followed by his son Asa. Asa had a long stretch as king and was then succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat.
Now to Israel. Jeroboam was followed by Nadab. Next came Baasha, then Elah, then Zimri (who only lasted seven days). Then along came Omri who was followed by Ahab. While rulers came and went in Israel, Asa ruled Judah during the reigns of Israel’s kings from Baasha to Ahab.
Now Ahab has been killed in battle after listening to the bad advice of his phony prophets: “So the king died, and his body was taken to Samaria and buried there. Then his chariot was washed beside the pool of Samaria, and dogs came and licked his blood at the place where the prostitutes bathed, just as the Lord had promised” (I Kings 22:37, NLT). Ahab’s evil wife Jezebel met no peaceful end, either, but we’ll get to that much later.
Jehoshaphat, like his father Asa before him, was a good ruler in Judah. “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight. When Jehoshaphat died, he was buried with his ancestors in the City of David. Then his son Jehoram became the next king" (I Kings 22:43b, 50).
After Ahab’s death, “Ahaziah son of Ahab began to rule over Israel in the seventeenth year of King Jehoshaphat’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria two years. But he did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, following the example of his father and mother and the example of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had led Israel to sin. He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his father had done” (I Kings 22:51-53).
Ahaziah, however, had a short-lived run as king. “One day Israel’s new king, Ahaziah, fell through the latticework of an upper room at his palace in Samaria and was seriously injured. So he sent messengers to the temple of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether he would recover” (II Kings 1:2).
Ever wondered where we get the word “Beelzebub” when referring to the devil? There you have it. This is a corruption of the name of the false god Ahaziah chose to consult rather than seeking the One True God. God was going to deal with Ahaziah’s idolatry.
“The angel of the Lord told Elijah, who was from Tishbe, ‘Go and confront the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is there no God in Israel? Why are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether the king will recover? Now, therefore, this is what the Lord says: You will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’ ' So Elijah went to deliver the message” (II Kings 1:3-4).
Don’t these people ever learn? Look what happened to Ahab after he failed to listen to Micaiah, the true prophet of God. Time and time again, they’d seen the blessings of God poured out when the people of God were living in accordance to His commands. Time and time again, they’d seen the terrible consequences of their disobedience. And yet they continued to disobey.
God should never be our last resort. He should always be the One we turn to first.
“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” (Oswald Chambers)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates