Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Tale of Two Blunders

2nd Kings1:1-2:18

Summary of the texts
2nd Kings 1
King Ahaziah falls through some wood bars in his upper chamber and rather than Consulting the God of Israel for healing he goes to the Temple of Baal-Zebub to consult the God of Ekron whether he would be healed. Because of this, the Lord sends an Angel to Elijah to tell the king messengers that he would die. When the messengers tell the king, he asks them to describe the messenger and as they do he immediately knows that it is Elijah. He then sends a Captain with 50 soldiers to go and arrest Elijah. They get consumed by fire.  He then sends another Captain with 50 soldiers to go and arrest Elijah. They get consumed by fire as well. He finally sends a 3rd Captain with 50 soldiers to go arrest Elijah but the Captain pleads with Elijah to spare the life of him and his soldiers. An angel tells Elijah to with them and not be afraid. Elijah then delivers the message and it happens just as Elijah said it would.

2nd Kings 2:18
The prophets of Bethel ask Elisha if he knows that his master Elijah would be leaving him that day. He lets them know that he knows and follows Elijah intently.  Elijah tells him to stay behind as the Lord wants to take him to Jericho. Elisha refuses and tells him he will not leave him.  They go to Jericho and the prophets fo Jericho ask Elisha, do you know that your master will be taken away from you today and he says yes. Then Elijah tells him to stay behind as the Lord wants to take me to the Jordan River. Elisha refuses and lets Elijah know that he will not leave him. So the 2 of them went on. Elijah then uses his cloak the split the Jordan river and crosses with Elisha. Finally when they cross over Elijah ask what do you want from me before I am taken from you and Elish replies a double portion of your spirit. Elijah then tells him that he will receive that only if he sees Elijah get taken up., Then as they walk fiery chariot rushes between them and a whirlwind takes Elijah up to heaven. Luckily for Elisha, he sees Elijah go up and receives his cloak that falls to the ground. He uses it to split the Jordan River and the prophet of Jericho saw and acknowledged that Elisha had the spirit of Elijah. They then told Elisha that they have 50 strong men with them who they could send to search for Elijah. Elisha tells them no to do so they plead with him so much that he acquiesces. Finally, they come back after 3 days of searching to no avail for Elijah.

Blunder #1: The king consulted with the God of Ekron rather than the one true God.

Blunder #2: The prophets searched for Elijah rather than appreciating the presence of one greater than Elijah

The Link: They both were seeking for that which was less than what they already had.

Homiletical Approach: We often seek that which is less than what we already have.

Smaller Comparisons: 50 soldiers / 50 strong men
                           to retrieve Elijah / to retrieve Elijah
                                  Sent 3 times / Spent 3 days

The Author uses this parallel language to connect the 2 stories to show us that the prophets made the same mistake of King Ahaziah and that was that they both sought after those that were less than what they already had.