Monday, October 28, 2002

2 Kings 1:12-13

"And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down out of heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty.  And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty.  And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight."
2 Kings 1:12-13

This is interesting... not just as an illustration of the power of God through his prophets, but as an illustration of humility.  The king in this story somewhat reminds me of Pharaoh.  He saw what God could do, and went on anyway, trying to get his way.  When the first captain of fifty and the fifty men under him were sent to get the prophet, and summarily consumed by fire from heaven... he didn't get it.  What?  Fluke firestorm?  Some weird group spontaneous combustion?  And so he sent another fifty.  You'd think all of the "accidental death" answers would be nullified when the same thing happened to them... but no, the king decided to send yet another fifty.  This could have gone on for a long time, but at least the captain of this fifty got it.  Instead of coming to the prophet and telling him to do what the king said... he realized that he had been sent on a suicide mission, and begged the prophet for his life and the lives of his fifty men.  ... and they were spared.  It still didn't change the prophecy of the king's death or alter God's will concerning that kingdom... but it saved that captain and the men he was responsible for.  In our lives, probably the dangers aren't quite as dramatic as the firestorms from heaven... but they might be, I suppose.  In any case, the signs are clear.  If we have gotten badly burned a couple of times by walking in one direction... if we get flattened every time we jump off the cliff... we might want to stop jumping off.  We could try a new approach to the problem.  Find a new direction... a new attitude.   Recognizing that God is running the show, and that we aren't going to get our way by bull-headed force is always a good first step. :)
... and, you know, if we find ourselves in the middle of the fire zone... we might want to beg God for our lives, and the lives of those we are responsible for.   Seems to work pretty well. :)

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