In the midst of the world being affected by the threat of coronavirus, fear can rise up in any of us.
Whether or not our fear turns into worry, paralysis, sleeplessness, selfishness, or other ungodly responses depends upon how we think God responds.
I found the perfect example of God’s perspective in the question He asked in II Kings 1:16. Larry and I wrote about this question in our newest book, God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature. See if God’s quality of sufficiency doesn’t shout loud and clear—and give us peace in the midst of chaos.
Is it because there is no God in Israel?
2 Kings 1:16
The wickedest leaders of Israel ever, Ahab and Jezebel, are now dead and their son, Ahaziah, is king but is injured by falling through a window. He’s wondering if he’ll live. Instead of seeking Jehovah, he sends messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, a god worshipped in Ekron, who is known for healing powers and predicting the future.
God sends an angel to instruct Elijah to intercept the messengers and ask the question, “Is it not because there is no God, none in Israel?” In other words, “Have you forgotten there is a God in Israel and of Israel?”
The question is intensified by the double negative, which is confusing for us English speakers but very important for the Israelites. In English a double negative becomes a positive, but in many languages around the world, as in Hebrew, the double negative is a way to intensify the point.
God is doubly saying, “Hello, Ahaziah! Here I am! Why are you seeking information from a non-entity? I’m real; Baal-zebub is not. Am I not everything you need? Who do you think I am? Am I not the loving healer? Your future is in my hands, not a man-made idol worshipped by heathen. Do you see your absolute rejection and contempt of who I am?” TWEET THAT!!!!
The name, Baal-zebub, means “lord of flies.” Flies were known as the source of the worst kind of plague. Of course, God wouldn’t respond like a man, but if he did, he would inquire with words like, “Really? You’re seeking something representing the worst possible destruction in order to prevent the destruction of your life? Talk about ironic. Not really smart, don’t you think? You choose to reject me, your loving creator, who actually has the power to heal you.”
Just as Ahaziah’s choices reveal his false beliefs about God, so do ours.
God asks us if we are seeking what we need from other sources and to evaluate whether we are representing him rightly. If possessions, physical passions, self-promotion, false piety, and pride are the idols we seek, God reaches out to turn our hearts to him who knows exactly how to heal and provide for us.
Just as Elijah stops the messengers in their tracks with God’s message, sometimes God blocks our sinful heart journey through irritating, aggravating, and senseless interruptions. He commands, “Stop. Am I not right here to help you?”
[Larry shares] Several years ago, when Kathy and I were ministering in Greece, she experienced a grand mal seizure right by me. I calmly and fully trusted God’s plan even if it meant her death. Two days later as we traveled home, I felt intensely angry and out of control going through the inept TSA procedures in New York’s international terminal, fearful we would miss our connecting flight.
What a contrast. Because I trusted God’s sufficient peace in Athens, I never would have expected a lack of trust in him so soon. God allowed the aggravations of TSA to reveal I was depending upon my own power more often than I realized. I needed to deepen my trust in God’s sufficient guidance to get us to our plane on time—and in the end he did.
- How would you define and describe God’s sufficiency?
- Have you ever sensed God asking, “Why are you seeking what cannot provide or satisfy?” Explain.