The photo is a screen capture from CNN today. The caption reads:
A student protester runs after he caught on fire while throwing a Molotov cocktail toward police Wednesday, November 19, in Makassar, Indonesia. He was among those protesting the decision of President Joko Widodo to raise fuel prices this week.
A terrible price to pay for one’s action when not taking into consideration unforeseen consequences. Yet, part of the problem across our world today is a feeling that we humans are entitled to do as we please -- that things that stand in our way of doing or getting what we want can be violently opposed without consequences.
The Bible has example after example of that not being the case. In fact, last Wednesday’s study in II Kings 1 is a good example. Our study series is on the life of Elijah, who stood against Ahab and Jezebel. This chapter takes place after Ahab’s death and his son takes the throne:
Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he 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 the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done. (1 Kings 22:51-53 KJV)
In !! Kings 1, he starts out injured, in need of help, and looking for it in the wrong direction:
And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease. (2 Kings 1:2 KJV)
Absolutely the wrong thing to do – there were consequences, and the Lord sent Elijah to explain them:
But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub 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. And Elijah departed. (2 Kings 1:3-4 KJV)
The next few verses are worth reading for yourself, but know this – Ahaziah recognized the source of the prophecy without being told Elijah’s name. So he sent a “captain of 50 with his 50” to bring Elijah to him. The captain reached Elijah and commanded, “Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.” They died. The next captain of fifty said, “O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.” They died.
The next captain of 50 had a bit more common sense and good judgment:
And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and 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. (2 Kings 1:13 KJV)
Is it really a good thing to pour gasoline on a fire? Isn’t it better to see the preciousness of life and work toward a solution? Read the rest of the story – see how it worked for this captain of 50 – and for Ahaziah, and why. What lessons can we gain to keep from catching on fire ourselves?