Shades of Grey is the New Black
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Shades of Grey is the New Black

On my way through the Bible to find something for another Bible Funnies installment, I stumbled across this passage with Elijah in 2 Kings 1. Since I didn't find what I was looking for yet, our study will camp out here. By the way, I won't attempt to "unpack" the passage. God's Word doesn't need to be unpacked.  It's been here all along. Instead, let's go on a treasure hunt!

In the time that Elijah lived, Israel had a king. If you look in    1 Samuel 8:6-9, you'll find that the people whined, begging God to give them a king like everybody else. He warned them that they would be taxed heavily and they wouldn't like it. Since they kept begging, God punished them by giving them what they demanded (1 Samuel 9-11). Reality-parenting in action! So, as with kings, some are good and others aren't. The one in 2 Kings 1 is bad, really bad. His name is Ahaziah.

Ahaziah was in his upper room (i.e. rooftop patio with a latticework privacy screen). Somehow, he managed to fall through the lattice and seriously injure himself. This king had been working out a business deal with a  nearby king that may have caused his fall (Zondervan Old Testament Commentary p. 357). Ahaziah's sin issues are related to Joshua's failure to ask God about the group that came to him asking for their lives to be protected in the study Unholy Alliance. This treaty not only affected Israel in Ahaziah's time, but still hangs over Israel like one really black cloud today.

Rather than ask about his recovery from God through a prophet, he calls the Baal oracle to ask that question. If you notice, Baal is called Baal-Zebub. Beelzebub, which is derived from the same name, is a demon, or Satan. therefore the god Baal-zebub is referenced as Satan. But Ahaziah was blind to this.

However, God answers his question through Elijah.  The angel of the Lord who came to Elijah with this message is considered a theophany, an appearance of Christ before His life, death, and resurrection.  Ahaziah would die, not recover! When the messengers take that message back to the king, he asks who told them he would die. The king had a sneaking suspicion he knew who it was. And he was right-- Elijah, the Tishbite. Yup! He recognized that prophet of God by the messengers' description. So why didn't he ask  Elijah to ask God in the first place? Kings like this never wanted to hear the truth, only what they wanted to hear. Elijah told him the truth in all his bluntness anyway.

It seems redundant to have the king send an army three times to Elijah to ask him to come see the king. Each of the first two times, Elijah calls fire down from Heaven that wipes out the armies. This is a costly thing to do, especially since these men weren't little plastic soldiers, but real people!  The third officer was smart. He asked Elijah to spare him and his men. Why didn't the king wise up like him? Because the king was evil. God has an interesting way of repeating Himself three times to get His message across as super important. That's why the "triplet" is here.

God told Elijah to go see the king, so he did. He delivered God's message in person. Keep in mind that evil kings had a tendency to kill the prophets, God's messengers, when they didn't like what they heard. This time, Elijah didn't die as a result of the message. Instead, King Ahaziah died as God said he would. If he had turned away from evil deeds and turned to God instead, his life would have been spared.

King Ahaziah lived in shades of grey. He fell for the lies of his father's idolatry, leading Israel astray. Why? As many of the kings before Him, they wanted what they wanted. From the time of Joshua's unholy alliance with foreigners who lived in idolatry, Israel's faith became murky. It became muddier when they rejected God as king, wanting what everyone in other countries had. Life with God as King was pure white whether they thought so or not. As they brought more and more sin into the mix, life became greyer.

Grey is black mixed with white. Things got really black as Israel was taken into captivity as God warned them would happen because they resorted to idolatry. First, the kingdom split with Israel going first then the tribe of Judah, the more faithful tribe in Israel finally succumbing to idolatry. It wasn't until Jeremiah's time of prophecy that  God's Word was rediscovered when the temple was rebuilt and dedicated that Israel repented (2 Chronicles 34:14-33). I mentioned in "A Little Bit of Sin is Never In" about the yin yang. There is no darkness or sin with God. God is light, in Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). Grey is the new black.

We need to be careful the company we keep. It’s easy to get trapped in the practices of other religions because everyone else around us is doing it. Being careful what we involve ourselves in and our alliances, big or small, keeps us from idolatry. If we find ourselves practicing things like Zen or New Age religion in a yoga class or transcendental meditation in a gathering, it is important to repent. Get up, walk out. These seemingly harmless things are what Satan uses to pull us away from God. Telling God we are sorry for what we have done, then discontinuing the practice brings blessings. Staying true to our one True God is the best way to stay clean. Hearing the truth of God’s Word takes our desires under the microscope, revealing them for what they really are. It’s important to set aside our wants if they are wrong. It’s not possible to be pure and do evil. We can't have it both ways. Actually, we want to be gods, to be totally honest with you. That is the basis of the sin Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden. When we ask for forgiveness, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9) How dark does it need to get before we will respond to the light of God's Word to us? Only through confession and faithful obedience to God and His Word will we live in the light once more.

May God bless you!

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