“Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” 2 Kings 1 vs. 3b.
The king’s message was urgent, and so were the haste of the messengers. They must get to Ekron before night fall so that they will be able to get word back to the king concerning his illness. It was a house accident which the king had that threatened to take his life. He had become weaker and weaker after that accident, so he wanted to know what was wrong, whether he will live or die. This was what set his servants on their path to Ekron to seek the ancient deity of Ekron; until someone crossed them on the road….
He was dressed in a hairy cloth, with a fierce countenance and a leather belt around his waist. He approached the men and said, “Was it not because there is no God in Israel that you people are going to Ekron to seek the deity there? Alright, tell your king thus, ‘This is what the Lord God of Israel said, he shall die and not live!’”
The servants turned back home and related the matter to the king. When they described the man that gave them this message, the king knew instantly that he was Elijah. Being the son of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, he was accustomed to the person of Prophet Elijah and his unquenching zeal for the glory of the Lord God of Israel. So, he sent an army of 50 persons with their captain to go and arrest Elijah and bring him down to the palace.
Now, this was the controversy the Lord had with the king, and is also our fundamental lesson in the battle earth’s space… the king had a problem, but he turned not to God, but to other deities around him to seek help.
This is one of the greatest challenges that we face in our world today… As sons of men, we are faced with a lot of challenges, but instead of turning to God, we turn to one thing or the other in our time of greatest needs. We have a God we do not seek. We have a God that we do not run to.
We would rather worry than seek him. We would rather call our friends and seek their advices than seek him. We would rather go for a laboratory test or consult a doctor than seek him. We would rather read a book or attend a seminar than seek him. Seeking God has become a very tall order for us, and so we turn to every other thing and every other person than God Himself.
This was the error of the king, and what began his downfall from the throne… in his time of greatest need, he turned to some other deity, but not the Lord God. Why will someone have the privilege of accessing the heart of God and he will turn to some other things? Why?
Before you condemn the king, we do so too, don’t we? We see ourselves not meeting up with financial expectations, or failing in our career pursuits, or struggling in our marriage, or battling with health issues, and many such things. What do we do at such points? I will tell you – we worry, we complain (even under the pretext of prayer), we research online, we seek the opinion of others, or we may even try to distract ourselves from our problems by watching films, chatting on social media, etc. All these we would rather do than bend down, go on our knees, sit down with our Bibles and seek wisdom from the God of Heaven.
Now, don’t tell me “But I have prayed about it, and nothing changed”. It was said concerning King Saul in 1 Samuel 28 vs. 5-6, “And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets”. So, this place we are being made to see that Saul sought the Lord but got to answers. However, the account in 1 Chronicles tells a different story: “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; and enquired not of the LORD: therefore, he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse”. 1 Chronicles 10:13-14. Was this a contradiction in reportage? No. the first one was Saul’s verdict on his life and even the verdict of men who saw him – he enquired of the Lord. However, when the Lord told his own version of the story, the Lord said, “he enquired not of Me” We may be complaining that we are seeking the Lord concerning our finances, concerning our health, concerning our purpose in life, our marriages and many other things that bother us, and the Lord is not responding to us. Yet the Lord’s verdict may simply be this, “he/she has not sought Me”.
God is not a liar! He said in his word, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart” Jeremiah 29 vs. 13. So, to say that you sought the Lord with all your heart and did not find him is to brand him a liar. The challenge, brethren, is not that we sought the Lord and did not find Him; rather the challenge is that we have found seeking the Lord to be a difficult task. Hence, instead of paying the price of seeking him, we have chosen to leave Him unsought.
Why would the king leave the God of Israel and seek after an ordinary deity in Ekron? The answer to that question lies at the heart of why we too find it difficult to seek God. Maybe he was not ready to be confronted with his evil ways. Sometimes, when we seek the Lord for answers to questions in our hearts, before he answers us, he first confronts us with our evil ways. For many, they are not ready for such a confrontation… they are not ready to be told where they are wrong, so they rather stay away from God.
For some others, God is not real. He is merely an idea or a principle or something to refer to when we want to feel good, but we do not see him as a reality. Hence, when we are in trouble, we tend to ‘face reality’. For us, God is not in that reality, so we turn to whatever is our concept of reality. We seek human opinions, we complain and murmur, we do many other things, but we not pray.
This is the fundamental problem in the fight for earth’s space. Anyone who desires to win this fight must become, as a matter of first importance, a seeker of God; and all those who have won battles and sat on thrones, were able to do so because they sought God. One said that he read his Bible every day for about 4 hours for 18 months without fail. Another said he went into a room to pray and promised himself never to come out until he receives help from God. That desperation, that longing, that insistence that God must answer is what unlocks the help of God.
In these days, we need his help; we need his mercy and his intervention. The deities of Ekron cannot help us. We must turn to the Living God and seek him with all our hearts. This is fundamental to our victory in life.