Is There No God in Israel?

  • Pete Johnson
man walking on a field

By the looks of things, 2021 is faring no better than 2020. Actually the start of 2021 has been by many standards a failure, politically, socially, and morally. Who has the answer for the approaching implosion of our country? Our “motto” is “One Nation under God”, or it used to be. Now it has come to the point where we are a nation under _____________ (you fill in the blank).  So as the culture looks to scientific genius, historical revisionists, financial gurus, and political pundits for the answers, who will you look to?

The first two chapters of 2 Kings narrate the last two acts of the prophet Elijah. During this time, both the people of Israel and her rulers had turned their hearts away from God toward idols. They professed something that they did not possess, nor really wanted to be, God’s people.  This was not just an Old Testament issue but continued even in the time of Christ. Jesus in Matthew 15:7–9 said this.

“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

Second Kings describes the physical and spiritual condition of not only King Ahaziah, but that of the people of Israel. Ahaziah had fallen from his upper chamber and had sustained serious injuries. These injuries were so severe in fact that he desired to know, if he would live through this; so he sends his messengers to a foreign land to inquire from a false deity, desiring a word of comfort.

Who was this false god, that Ahaziah, the King of Israel, would send messengers so great a distance to inquire about his situation? Why would he spend the resources and the time to seek out Baal-zebub? Baal-zebub was one of many false gods of the Philistines. The word Baal means Lord or Master and zebub means flies, “The lord of the flies”. It was believed that each geographical region had a specific god that ruled at that particular location, possessing particular powers.  It’s unclear why Ahaziah searched for comfort from this particular idol, however there are several scholarly theories why, one being; Flies like to gather on dead, rotting stinking things and Baal- zebub, lord of the flies, knew when humans and animals would die thus Ahaziah’s statement: “Go inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.” (II Kings 1:2, ESV).

On the way to seek comfort from an idol, Ahaziah’s messengers were stopped by Elijah with a message from God.

“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).

What an indictment! Even for us. How often do we turn to other things to comfort us instead of God? How much time and resources do you spend on things that can never give you the answers or the comfort you are looking for?

Is there not a God in your life, that you would inquire of him, rather than seeking comfort from things that can’t answer?