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King Ahaziah tries to arrest Elijah

How not to arrest a prophet.
2 Kings 1:1-18

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Slide 1

King Ahaziah was having trouble with the Moabites again. Just when he thought he'd got them under control, they started to become a nuisance again … and as if that was not enough, he had an accident as well! – Slide 1

Slide 2

He, er, fell out of an upstairs window of his palace. It was a rather embarrassing thing to do. He was just going about his palace, feeling very important, and doing king-type things when he leant against the window lattice and … Whiz! Crash! Bang! He fell right out of the window and hit the ground! – Slide 2

Slide 3

Poor Ahaziah. OUCH! That was a nasty bump! The king nearly killed himself. He needed some urgent medical aid … but did he call on the true and living God for help? Oh no, not him. He decided to see what Beelzebub, the local idol, had to say. Bad move Ahaziah. – Slide 3

Slide 4

So he sent messengers to run as fast as they could to Beelzebub's shrine. Now just in case you were wondering, the name Beelzebub means ‘Lord of Flies’ and as you probably know, flies are attracted to dead things. Doesn't sound like the best choice for medical aid does it? – Slide 4

Slide 5

Meanwhile, Elijah was busy being a prophet of God. He knew God and obeyed Him. – Slide 5

Slide 6

Suddenly an angel appeared and stopped outside his front door. ‘Elijah,’ said the angel, ‘go and meet the messengers from the king. Ask them why they're going to visit Beelzebub. Do they really think there is no true God in Israel.’ ‘Right away!’ said Elijah, setting off. – Slide 6

Slide 7

‘Oh, and also,’ said the angel, ‘tell the messengers that the king is going to die. He won't get out of his bed again.’ So away went Elijah to tell the messengers the news. – Slide 7

Slide 8

Right on time, the messengers arrived and Elijah walked up to them. ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to see Beelzebub?’ he asked. ‘Well …’ said the messengers, ‘we, er, ah …’ ‘Tell the king he is going to die,’ said Elijah, ‘He won't be getting out of his bed again!’ – Slide 8

Slide 9

The messengers went all the way back to the king. ‘Well?’ demanded the king. ‘What did Beelzebub say?’ ‘We didn't get to him,’ replied the messengers. ‘There was this man, and he, er, wanted to know if you were sending us to Beelzebub because you thought there was no God in Israel? And…,’ said the messengers, feeling very uncomfortable, ‘the man said you won't be getting out of your bed again.’ – Slide 9

Slide 10

‘Man?’ repeated the king. ‘What man?’ ‘We don't know who he was,’ the messengers confessed but described what he looked like.  ‘Ah!’ said the king. ‘That's Elijah … I thought as much! I wish he wouldn't interfere!’ – Slide 10

Slide 11

Now you might think that Ahaziah would have had enough sense to leave things as they were, but no, he was a particularly stupid little king, and he was definitely lacking in the respect-for-God department. The king decided to punish Elijah for what he had said. – Slide 11

Slide 12

The king sent 50 soldiers marching away to arrest Elijah. Can you imagine that? Fifty tough, strong, fully armed, well-trained, men of war, marching away to arrest … one little defenceless man! – Slide 12

Slide 13

When the king's army arrived at Elijah's home the commander shouted, ‘Hey you! Man of God! The king says come down!’ The fifty soldiers watched Elijah to see what he would do. They expected him to tremble, and surrender right away, but Elijah didn't move. In fact, he didn't seem to be even slightly bothered by the sight of an army at his door. – Slide 13

Slide 14

‘If I am a man of God,’ said Elijah, ‘Let fire come down and burn you all up.’ Instantly, with a mighty roar, fire came bursting down from the sky, and in a few seconds the whole army was burned to a crisp. – Slide 14

Slide 15

Someone ran back to tell the king. When Ahaziah heard the news, he wasn't very pleased. It was most embarrassing to have his army barbequed like that, but he was a very stupid king. So instead of leaving Elijah alone, he sent yet another army to arrest Elijah. – Slide 15

Slide 16

The second commander was even worse than the first. ‘Man of God!’ he shouted. ‘The king says come down - and hurry!’ ‘If I am a man of God,’ said Elijah, ‘let fire come down and burn you all up.’ – Slide 16

Slide 17

ROAR! Down came the fire again, and another fifty men were burned to a crisp. – Slide 17

Slide 18

When word got back to the king that yet another of his armies had been crisped, he was rather disappointed. You'd think by now that he would be starting to see a pattern? Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to try to arrest Elijah? But no, Ahaziah couldn't get the point. He sent yet another army to arrest the prophet. – Slide 18

Slide 19

But this time the commander of the army used his brains. ‘Oh, man of God,’ he begged, ‘please let me and my men live!’ – Slide 19

Slide 20

The commander fell on his knees and cried out: ‘We are your servants! Have mercy on us! Please don't let the fire burn us up, like it did to all the other soldiers!’ – Slide 20

Slide 21

Elijah was pleased with this approach - and so was God. ‘Go with these men,’ said God to Elijah. ‘They won't hurt you.’ So Elijah went to see the king, and the king was really pleased to see him. – Slide 21

Slide 22

But Elijah didn't have any good news for the king. ‘I want to get well again,’ said the king.  ‘Your heart is full of idolatry,’ replied Elijah. ‘You sent messengers to Beelzebub, a false god. As if there were no God in Israel! Because of your wickedness, and lack of faith in the true, living God, and because you have insulted Him by your idolatry, you shall die!’ – Slide 22

Slide 23

Then Elijah left the king and went back home. Now think about this …  when you are in trouble, or sick, or need help with something … who do you call on? – Slide 23

Slide 24

Slide 24
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