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(2 Kings 1) Playing with Fire

(2 Kings 1) Playing with Fire

by Stephen Davey Ref: 2 Kings 1

If you have an OUIJA board, get rid of it. If you read the tarot cards for fun, throw them away. If you consult the horoscope, stop. If you call 1-900 psychic, quit. You are dabbling in an underworld that really exists. These aren't just silly, innocent games . . . they are doorways into the demonic world. God warned Ahaziah thousands of years ago not to play around with fire and He's giving us the same warning today.



(II Kings 1)

Bernie May of Wycliffe Bible Translators spends a lot of time with languages.  May wrote recently about the way we play with words and constantly change them.

            Let me read it:  READ BERNIE MAY’S ARTICLE

Well, my friends, the problem of facing up to the truth has never been easy - for any of us.  The truth hurts!

But the fact remains, the truth doesn’t hurt, unless it ought to!  And if it does, and is ignored, you are inviting destruction - you are playing with fire.

As the 2 Book of Kings opens, the very first chapter is nothing less than an illustration of that truth; to ignore the word of God is to invite destruction.  

The illustration comes in the form of a young king has just ascended the throne of Israel - he’s Ahab’s son and his name is Ahaziah. 

Let’s read the opening words of the prophet Jeremiah’s inspired account - verse 1.  Now Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.  2.  And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria and became ill.

By the way, Ahaziah, the son of Ahab will rule only two years.  Yet, in those two years, it seems that that he had every possibility to need and serve the living God. 

While Jeremiah writes in brief, to the point phrases, there are volumnes in just the first two sentences. 

Two very traumatic events occur in Ahaziah’s life - events that should have pointed him to the Lord God of Israel.

First of all, Moab rebelled. 

You need to understand that the Moabites had been a powerful enemy of Israel until the time of the judges.  The Book of Judges tells us the story of Ehud, the left handed judge who delivered the people of God from the tyranny of the Moabites.  From that point - up to the death of Ahab, the Moabites paid tribute to Israel and, generally, kept out of harms way.

Chapter 3 of 2 Kings is merely the detailed story of Moab’s rebellion.  I want you to notice the interaction between Ahaziah and Elisha in II Kings 3:13.  Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What do I have to do with you?  Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” And the king of Israel said to him, “No, for the Lord has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab.”  14.  And Elisha said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nore see you.”

Strong words:

            Ahaziah, why don’t you just go ask the prophets of Baal what to do? 

            We called for you, Elisha. 

            Well, Ahaziah, son of Ahab, if it were not for Jehoshophat, who loves the          Lord God, I wouldn’t spend one minute looking at your sorry  face”

Why did Elisha talk to him like that?  Go back a few pages to the last few verses of I Kings - 22:51 - here is the brief boigraphical statement concerning Ahaziah.  “Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned two years over Israe.  52.  And he did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father and in the way of his mother and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin.  53.  So he served Baal and worshipped him and provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger. . .

Ahaziah is not very bright!  You would think, if anybody would follow God - it would be the son who grew up to see his father and mother self-destruct.  It was young Ahaziah who saw the three year famine - he was there to see the fire fall and the prophets of Baal put to death.

Surely Ahaziah would say, “If there is anthing I have learned it is not to do what my father did!”

And yet, he was as wicked as his father, if not more.

The second traumatic thing that happened to young Ahaziah was through a personal injury.  An injury that would ultimately claim his life.

You remember, v. 2 tells us that he fell through the lattice in his uppper chamber.

People in Israel didn’t sit on their front porch, they sat on their roofs - roofs were flat and steps were built up to what was usually a combination storage place/family room where the cool breezes could be enjoyed.

The outer edges of more expensive homes would offer added protection in the form of lattice work built around the edge of the roof.  Evidently, Ahaziah was leaning against the lattice work that adorned his summer palace - a roof much higher than an ordinary Jewish home. 

The lattice suddenly gave way and the King came crashing to the earth.  It must have thrown everyone into a state of panic - and it was so serious that Ahaziah was taken to his bed where he was confined - perhaps partially paralyzed from the fall.

Moab has rebelled, the security of his nation is at risk - even though chapter 3 informs us that the Moabites were defeated, the battle only temporarily ceases.  Now the King is perhaps paralyzed - or at least to ill to get out of bed.

Ahaziah, it’s time to seek the Lord. 

Middle part of verse 2.  So he sent messengersand  said to them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.”

Inquire of whom?  Baal-zebub.

The softening of a rebellious heart does not automatically occur when trauma ...

Baal-zebub literally means “Lord of flies.”  The only time the name appears in the Bible is here in chapter 1 of 2 Kings.  Don’t mistake it for the new testament name Beelzebul - that name means “Lord of the earth.”

While both baals have their roots in Satan, Baal-zebub’s name suggesed that he was a god who warded off plagues that were brought on by flies.  Some believe the idols of this particular branch of Baalism would have been in the form of a common fly.

Ahaziah sends a delegation to the shrine at Ekron to ask for some sign from Baal-zebub, Lord of the flies, “What does my future hold?”

v. 3.  But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, “Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and say to them, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?”

By the way, that question will be repeated three times in chapter one - middle part of verse 6, “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub?”  middle part of verse 16.  “Is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word?”

The King of Israel is doing nothing less than rejecting the God of Israel.  And he is violating the word of God by going after other spirit world resources.

There isn’t any one of us here who wouldn’t like to know some clue of the future - some tangible insight into the unseen world.

It’s a desire as old as Eve in the garden who was lured with the promise of knowing as God knows.

Satan was at work then and he is at work today - only he is thousands of years smarter and more experienced.   If all forms of spiritism were shams, God would not have so clearly warned us and forbidden our natural curiosity to follow it’s desires.

Let me show you how clear God warns us. . .Turn to Deuteronomy 18 - that classic list of forbidden practices - practices that, for the most part, have captured the American mind: 

Deut. 18:9.  When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.  10.  There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire. 

This was the practice of child sacrifice - in order to appease the gods and gain from them some answer or blessing - the child was killed in the gods honor.  In fact, in 2 Kings chapter 3 as the king of Moab begins to lose the battle against Israel, he sacrificed his oldest son to his god as a plea for help.  

Now granted, America isn’t sacrificing children in order to understand the future, but 31 million unborn babies have been killed so they wouldn’t disrupt the future.

By the way, just this past week, the Dutch courts dropped a murder charge against a doctor accused of killing a severely deformed new born.  The legal precedent has now opened the door to what they defined as a mercy killing - that is, ending the life of someone who is unable to ask for death like an infants...a child who would surely not want to live?!

v. 10 continues “there shall not be found among you anyone who uses divination.”  The Hebrew word refers to someone who could divine or discern the will of the spirit world.  The same word appears in Ezekiel 21 referring to the practice of whirling arrows in a quiver and deciding the answer to the question by the first arrow thrown out of the quiver.

“or one who practices witchcraft” - this was someone who practiced magic by incantations

“or one who interpreted omens” - this was someone who supposedly was able to tell the future by watching birds, fire, rain and other natural phenomena.

“or a sorcerer” - this word comes from the Hebrew verb “kasap” - to cut up;  it referred to one who cut up herbs and brewd them for magical purposes.  In the septuagint, the word is pharmaka which gives us the word pharmacy.  Now I’m not suggesting that pharmacists are sorcerers as they mix up their brew.  This forbidden practice actually involved drugs to create religious trances and moods.  Aristotle and other ancient Greek writers used the word pharmakia as a synonym for witchcraft and black magic, because drugs were so commony used in the practice.

This is popular even today - the use of drugs to reach altered states.

It’s interesting that this particular practice of utilizing drugs for religious highs will be a prominent practice during the tribulation when the Antichrist exercises his power.  Revelation 9 talks about the majority of people who, “Refused to repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons . . they did not repent of their murders nor of their pharmakeia” - that is, their use of drugs to reach some kind of union with their demonic gods.

The beginning of verse 11 says that God also forbids the “casting of spells”

This could be translated a “charmer” or “one who ties the knot”.  This referred to a person who supposedly cast magic spells on others.

By the time of Jesus Christ, Ephesus was rampant with this practice.  In Acts 19 we read that many who believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices (lite their “praxis” - a technical term for magical spells)  19.  And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them. . .and they counted up the price of them and found it 50 thousand pieces of silver.

Imagine that period of time - WOW!  What a bonfire.

Now, the next three things mentioned in this list of forbidden practices have to do with those who consult the spirit world or inquire of spirits.

This was Ahaziah’s specific form of rebellion - and the reason I’m taking the time to explain all of this is becuase the practices exist today - and even  the Christian can naievely, foolishly flirt or experiment with certain forms.

In verse 11, three different forms are referred to - a medium, a spiritist and one who calls up the dead (a necromancer).

Medium comes from the Hebrew word “ob” - which literally means “speaking from within a person; “ob” can also be rendered, “twittering, whispering.”  In other words, God forbids anyone opening themselves up to any spirit being or presence.”

Listen to what a British author penned 100 years ago 

            READ ARTICLE!

Before I left for Japan, I went to purchase some games for missionaries  to enjoy long after we returned.  I was surprised to see stacks of OUIJA boards for sale - as a game no less.  It might interest you to know that the makers of OUIJA went to court in 1920, claiming tax exempt status from the sale of their boards.  They argued in court that the Ouija board was not a game but a “form of amateur mediumship” and was therefore not taxable.  They lost . . . it’s still being sold as a game.

My friend, if you have an OUIJA board, get rid of it - if you read the tarrot cards for fun - don’t - if you consult the horoscope, just to see what they say, stop it.  If you call 1-900 psychic, stop.  You are dabbling with an underworld that exists.  God does not warn you because they are innocent, silly practices, innocent and fun - but because they open a sinister door and grant a foothold to Satan.

The second word is “spiritist”.  This comes from the verb “yada” which means “to know.”  In other words, this person basically consults with the personal spirit and serves as a channel. 

Is it possible for someone who is dealing in spiritism to be in contact with an evil spirit who can transmit knowledge to the channeler?  Absolutely!  Take for instance the demonized persons ability to recognize the Apostle Paul or Jesus Christ without ever having had an introduction.

Wouldn’t you think that the demon world knows the weather in Australia or something that just happened on some street in New York.  Don’t you think they know your grandmother’s pet name or your uncle’s occupation?  The communication and speed of travel in the spirit world is undoubtedly something you and I can’t comprehend.

Now don’t misunderstand, the underworld does not know the future any more than you or I can know it - but they are brilliant geniuses in reading the signs that may develop into the future.

Let’s go back to II Kings . . . and pick up our story of a man who disregarded the warnings!!

The Lord doesn’t allow the messengers to ever reach Ekron - instead they are intercepted by the prophet Elijah who has a special message for Ahaziah.  Look at verse 5 (II Kings 1) When the messengers returned to him he said to them, “Why have you returned?”  6.  And they said to him, “A man came up to meet us and said to us, “Go, return to the king who sent you and say to him, “Thus says the Lord, “Is it becuase there is not God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?  Therefore, you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.”

Now there are only a few people in the kingdom with the courage to talk to the king like that - Ahaziah gets a little suspicous.  7.  And he said to htme, “What kind of man was he who came up to meet you and spoke these words to you?”  8.  And they answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.  And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

Now what should have happened is for Ahaziah to repent - even his father Ahab did, temporarily after Elijah prophesied calamity upon him.

But not Ahaziah - he will have Elijah arrested and imprisoned - he’ll teach that prophet a thing or two - maybe even torture him into changing his song of doom to a song of deliverance.

9.  Then the king setn to him a captain of 50 with his 50.  And he went up to him, and behold, he was sitting on the top of the hill.  And he said to him, “O man of God, the king says, “Come down.”  Did you notice the subtle insinuation of the real battle that’s occurring - it is a battle between what the King says, and what God says.

10.  And Elijah answered and said to the captain of 50, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50.”  Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his 50.

You need to understand that not just the king, but the ones who carried out his evil verdict are responsible before God.

11.  So he again sent to him another captain of 50 with his fifty.  And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, thus says the king, “Come down quickly.”  In other words, “Listen here, prophet of God, you’re under arrest by the word of the King, get down here right now.”

The only thing that came down was a fireball from heaven.  And all that remained was a black spot of earth.

Perhaps you say, what a terrible thing to be one of those soldiers who died in a consuming fire.  And so it would have been.  But my friend, that won’t be the last time the fire of God falls upon an unbeliever - the word of God declares that there is coming a day when all those who’ve rejected the light of Christ will be cast into a eternal lake of fire - a terrible place of no escape called Hell.

To reject the message of Jesus Christ is to play with fire - to play with your future - listen to word my friend - and if the truth of this message troubles you, that is only because it should.  Would you yield your life to the Son of God today.  The wonderful truth is, He has already faced the fire of God’s wrath by dying on a cross.  The fires of judgment have burned against Him for the sins of the whole world.  And those who place their faith in Him will never need fear the wrath of God - we are saved from the fire to come.

Are you safe today?!

13.  So he again sent the captain of a third 50 with his 50. How would you like to be a captain?!   When the thrid captain of 50 went up he came and bowed down on his knees before Elijah, and begged him and said to him, “O man of God, please let my life and the lives of these 50 servants of yours be precious in your sight. (did you notice - they aren’t arresting soldiers of the king - they are servants of the prophet of God).   15.  And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him,”  So he arose and went down with him to the king.  16.  Then he said to him, “Thus says the Lord, “Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron - is it becuase there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? - therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.”  THE NEXT THREE WORDS - v. 17.  So Ahaziah died - according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken.

Let me make three points of application from this story and the other scripture we’ve looked at - here are three timeless truths - it doen’st matter if you’re a king in ancient Israel or a 20th century Christian.

Three principles:

1) God had forbidden the practice of contacting the spirit world for information.

It is an affront to his sovereignty - it is a slap in His divine face - to seek an answer from His arch-enemy, the King of demons who masquerades as an angel of light

2) God has retained the sole priviledge of knowing and revealing the future.

By the way, God uses our lack of knowledge of the future as a way to   develop faith in him and patience.

Deuteronomy 29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”

In other words, He knows everything there is - and He’s revealed to us everything we need . . . in the words of the law. 

That leads me to the third principle:  3) God has provided all that we need to live in harmony with the spiritual world, through His word.

Listen to the prophet Isaiah as he warns, “And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter, should not a people consult their God?  Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living.  To the law and to the testimony.  If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no light.  And they will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their god as they face upward.  Then they will look to the earth, and behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be driven away into darkness.”

Ahaziah’s is distressed and hard pressed - his nation is a risk, his health is failing.

He is afraid of dying!  And will his gods help him now?  Maybe - “Go quickly to the Lord of the flies and ask him if I will live or die!”

My friend, are you afraid of dying?

-Are you afraid that after death you might come back in the form of some other living being, depending on your goodness in this life - as teaches the eastern Hindus.

-Are you afraid that after death you will enter some limbo form of sould sleep - as the 7th day adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses teach.

-Are you afraid that after death you will have to suffer for your worst sins in purgatory, as Roman Catholicism teaches.

My friend, if you have asked the Lord of Heaven to forgive your sin and live within your heart, then according to the Word of God, “To absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord.”  Lit. “to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8)

Did you know there’s a verse in the Word that says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”  We don’t like it - but God loves it.  He calls our dying precious.  How?  Because He understands perfectly that, for His children, death is merely the hand that opens heavens door and face to face fellowship with the Son begins.

This is truth that you can confidently live by - that you can safely die by.

That’s the word of the Lord - and it’s the truth.



This has not been a good year for the American language.  In Maryland, welfare applicants no longer meet with clerks; now they check in with eligibility technicians.  Bill collectors are now called credit analysts; tour guides are destination advisers, and cemeteries now advertise pre-need arrangements.   Just about the time I’d figured out that a revenue enhancement actually meant a tax hike, they’ve changed the term to tax base erosion control.  And things are getting worse!  Imagine, bathroom plungers are no longer called bathroom plungers.  The new phrase, devised by a company which makes them, is hydroforce blast cup.  When I read that, I immediately spotted a potential crises.  Instead of hollering, “Quick, get the plunger”;  I’d get all confused and by the time I hollered, “Quick get the hydro blast, forcing cup, plunger thing - it’d be too late.  Mays continues, “Rolls Royce in England, unwilling to admit their cars ever break down like all the the cars driven by the rest of us, do admit that occasionally their cars do fail to proceed.”

Why all the coverup?  Is it becuase we live in an age where people don’t want to face truth?  Is it easier to create a whole new language than to admit death is death, failure is failure and sin is sin.  Truth my be too painful to look square in the face.



“We live in an age of divination.  It is useless to deny it.  This revival of pagan superstition would neither deserve mention were it not for the hold it is taking of the popular mind, especially in the United States, where we are amazed that a nation, so acute and quick-sighted in mot other matters, should be juggled out of the truth of their English Bibles by tappings upon tables.  Away with your mediums, their bandaged eyes and pencilled messages, hands waving in the air, and all the dark arts. . .God is His own interpreter; do not go to shrines at Ekron nor at Boston.”

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