The Review and Herald

1831/1902

January 15, 1914

The Fall of the House of Ahab

(Continued.)

EGW

Ahaziah, Ahab's successor, “did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam.” “He served Baal, and worshiped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel,” as his father Ahab had done. But judgments followed close upon the sins of the rebellious king. A war with Moab, and then an accident by which his own life was threatened, attested to God's wrath against him. RH January 15, 1914, par. 1

Falling “through a lattice in his upper chamber,” Ahaziah, seriously injured and fearful of the possible outcome, sent some of his servants to make inquiry of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether or not he would recover. These messengers were met by Elijah, with the words of stern rebuke, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.” Saying this, Elijah departed. RH January 15, 1914, par. 2

The astonished messengers hastened back to the king, and repeated to him the words of the prophet. The king inquired, “What manner of man was he?” They answered, “He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” “It is Elijah the Tishbite,” Ahaziah exclaimed. He knew that if the stranger whom his messengers had met was indeed Elijah, the words of doom pronounced would surely come to pass. Anxious to avert, if possible, the threatened judgment, he determined to send for Elijah. RH January 15, 1914, par. 3

Twice Ahaziah sent a company of soldiers to intimidate the prophet, and twice the wrath of an offended God fell upon them in judgments. The third company of soldiers humbled themselves before God; and their captain, as he approached the Lord's messenger, “fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.” RH January 15, 1914, par. 4

“The angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king. And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shall surely die.” RH January 15, 1914, par. 5

During his father's reign, Ahaziah had witnessed the wondrous works of the Most High. He had seen the terrible evidences that God had given apostate Israel of the way in which he regards those who set aside the binding claims of his law. All this Ahaziah knew, yet he acted as if these awful realities, even the fearful end of his own father, were but idle tales. Instead of humbling his heart before the Lord, he followed after Baal, until he ventured upon this his most daring act of impiety. RH January 15, 1914, par. 6

The god of Ekron was supposed to give information, through the medium of its priests, concerning future events. Large numbers of people went to inquire of it; but the predictions there uttered and the information given, proceeded directly from the prince of darkness. RH January 15, 1914, par. 7

The history of King Ahaziah's sin and its punishment has in it a warning which none can disregard with impunity. Men today may not pay homage to heathen gods, yet thousands are worshiping at Satan's shrine as verily as did the king of Israel. The spirit of idolatry is rife in the world today, though under the influence of science and education it has assumed forms more refined and attractive than in the days when Ahaziah sought to the god of Ekron. Every day adds its sorrowful evidence that faith in the sure word of prophecy is decreasing, and that in its stead superstition and satanic witchery are captivating the minds of many. All who do not earnestly search the Scriptures, submitting every desire and purpose of the life to that unerring test; all who do not seek God in prayer for a knowledge of truth, will surely wander from the right path, and fall under the deception of Satan. RH January 15, 1914, par. 8

Today the mysteries of heathen worship are replaced by the secret associations and seances, the obscurities and wonders, of Spiritualistic mediums. The disclosures of these mediums are eagerly received by thousands who refuse to accept light from God's Word or through his Spirit. Believers in Spiritualism may speak with scorn of the magicians of old but the great deceiver laughs in triumph as they yield to his arts under a different form. RH January 15, 1914, par. 9

There are many who shrink with horror from the thought of consulting spirit mediums, but who are attracted by more pleasing forms of spiritism, such as the Emmanuel movement. Still others are led astray by the teachings of Christian Science, and by the mysticism of theosophy and other Oriental religions. RH January 15, 1914, par. 10

The apostles of nearly all forms of spiritism claim to have power to cure the diseased. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, the so-called “sympathetic remedies,” or to latent forces within the mind of man. And there are not a few, even in this Christian age, who go to these healers, instead of trusting in the power of the living God and the skill of well-qualified Christian physicians. The mother, watching by the sick bed of her child, exclaims, “I can do no more! Is there no physician who has power to restore my child?” She is told of the wonderful cures performed by some clairvoyant or magnetic healer, and she trusts her dear one to his charge, placing it as verily in the hand of Satan as if he were standing by her side. In many instances the future life of the child is controlled by a satanic power, which it seems impossible to break. RH January 15, 1914, par. 11

God had cause for displeasure at Ahaziah's impiety. What had the Lord not done to win the hearts of the people of Israel, and to inspire them with confidence in himself? For ages he had been giving his people manifestations of unexampled kindness and love. From the beginning, he had shown that his “delights were with the sons of men.” He had been a very present help to all who sought him in sincerity. Yet now the king of Israel, turning from God to ask help of the worst enemy of his people, proclaimed to the heathen that he had more confidence in their idols than in the God of heaven. In the same manner do men and women dishonor him when they turn from the Source of strength and wisdom to ask help or counsel from the powers of darkness. If God's wrath was kindled by Ahaziah's act, how does he regard those who, having still greater light, choose to follow a similar course? RH January 15, 1914, par. 12

Those who give themselves up to the sorcery of Satan, may boast of great benefit received, but does this prove their course to be wise or safe? What if life should be prolonged? What if temporal gain should be secured? Will it pay in the end to have disregarded the will of God? All such apparent gain will prove at last an irrecoverable loss. We cannot with impunity break down a single barrier which God has erected to guard his people from Satan's power. RH January 15, 1914, par. 13

(To be concluded.)