Baalzebub the god of Ekron.
—2 Kings 1:16
Read 2 Kings 1:9-18
When the messengers sent by Ahaziah described the appearance of the man who had met them, the king exclaims, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.” He knew the prophet and, by his assessment, actually confirmed the judgment against himself even though he was not resigned to it. Remember that His father, Ahab, humbled himself under God’s judgment. But Ahaziah would not do so; he thought himself no weakling and dared to challenge the living God Who rules over all. He wanted to meet and execute Elijah.
The first and second captains sent to Elijah by Ahaziah act in the spirit of their king. In each case, Elijah calls for fire from heaven to consume them and their soldiers. The first time that Elijah had called for fire from heaven was on Mount Carmel, when the offering was completely consumed. Then the people were not destroyed. But this time fire fell upon the sinners themselves, be-cause these captains directed their aggression against a man of God and ultimately, against the Lord and His Word.
The third captain received much more than he asked for. Not only was his life spared, but Elijah also accompanies him to Samaria on the basis of the command given by the angel of the Lord.
We ought to approach the Lord Jesus in much the same way. When we go to the Lord with a heart full of reproach, ridicule and scorn, God’s judgment will come upon us. But when we go to the Lord just as the third captain did, we will experience that He is a God of mercy.
What are the fruits of God’s mercy?