2 Kings 1:1 – After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.
What is happening in the northern and southern kingdoms in the days of Elijah is similar to a fast-spreading wildfire. The flames of Hell were spreading with the worship of Baal, consuming God’s people, destroying places in which God was worshipped, and even overtaking every aspect of the government and culture. Although the evil King Ahab was dead, King Ahaziah continued in the same demonic direction as his father. This family has learned nothing for generations, and the children do evil and invite demons just like their parents without pause or repentance.
Even though the demon god Baal (along with his spiritual consort Asherah), were completely defeated on Mount Carmel, King Ahaziah was determined to lead his people in the continued worship of Baal. This threatened the future of that region, much like a forest fire that has ravaged a forest is contained except for a few hot spots that need to be put out or risk starting yet another raging wildfire.
In this scene of Elijah’s life, Moab rebelled. The Moabites were a people previously subdued by King David (2 Samuel 8:2,12), who obtained their freedom after the death of Solomon. They would be a problem for Judah, the southern kingdom. The backdrop is that king Ahaziah is seriously injured and seeks out help from “of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron”, also known as “lord of the flies”, curiously also the same title of a well-known book. The name this demon refers to, “was a localized form of Baal worship” and some sort of “a health god”. (1)
Ekron appears nearly two dozen times in the Bible, all negative. As home to the demon god Ekron and Philistines roughly 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem, these people and place were a constant source of friction and conflict. These people knew about the God of the Bible, but they intentionally did all they could to spiritually and political oppose Him. Later, it was a derivative of the name of this demon god that religious leaders opposing Jesus accused Him of operating by the power of as the name Beelzebul is the Greek form of “Baal-zebub”. Matthew 12:22–24 says, “Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, ‘Can this be the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.’”
Tomorrow, we’ll see God’s response to this continual, generational worship of different pagan gods that all come from the same demonic spirits.
If you could have been present for any one event in Elijah’s life up to this point, which would you choose?
- Walter A. III Maier, “Baal-Zebub (Deity),” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 554.
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