My morning devotions lately have been in 2 Kings. This book tells the history of the kings of the Israel after it was divided into two nations. To be honest, it is not a flattering story. One passage jumped out at me because it speaks so powerfully to our own culture.
In the first chapter of 2 Kings, King Ahaziah had gotten injured in an accident in his home and was afraid he would die. Instead of seeking help from God, he sent a messenger to a foreign land to inquire of their god if he would recover from his injury. Elijah, the prophet of God, met the messenger on the journey and asked “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?” (2 Kings 1:3). Time and again throughout the history of God’s people God has proven Himself to them. God had worked miracles on their behalf over and over again. It is inconceivable in light of all that God had done for His people that they would seek advice from a false god. And yet, that is what King Ahaziah did.
As we think about our own lives, we have also witnessed God’s power time and again. How many times have we had some close call in our lives and said, “Someone must have been watching out for me.” How many times have we prayed in a time of crisis and God came through for us. God has been there for us in both big and small ways our entire lives. It is inconceivable that we would seek help from any other source but God. And yet, like King Ahaziah of old, we often do that very thing. We ask friends who do not know the Lord for advice. We call physic hotlines. We read fortune cookies. We watch shows on television in which pop-psychologists give us the latest fad in human thinking, even if it goes completely against God’s Word. We even dabble in new age philosophies and Eastern religions seeking truth.
In the biblical story, King Ahaziah ends up dying because he sought help from the wrong source. It may sound cruel for God to not help him in his situation, but remember, King Ahaziah did not ask God for help. He asked a false god who had nothing to offer him for help and got exactly the kind of help that false god had, which was NOTHING. Essentially, God decided to give King Ahaziah exactly what he asked for, which was empty words and nothing, which led to his death.
As we consider our own relationship with God, why do we think God will help us when we have called upon everyone but Him in our distress? What if God just sat back and let all the false hope and bad advice we seek come to fruition in our lives? It would be a disaster. Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and often helps us even when we do not deserve it. But I do think from time to time He withholds His help while we seek all those other dead ends. He wants us to see that those dead ends lead nowhere, so that when we finally come back to Him, we will be more faithful than we were before. But if we tarry too long in turning back to Him, all we have left is the false hope, false comfort, and false help that this world has to offer and that will lead only to disaster. Let us commit ourselves to turning back to the true God of the Universe today and serve Him with all of our hearts.
For more devotionals like this one, consider Touching the Footprints of Jesus.