2 Kings 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1

2 Kings 1

    After the death of Ahab, Moab rebelled against Israel.

    Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber in Samaria, and lay sick; so he sent messengers, telling them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.” 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 to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” So Elijah went.

    The messengers returned to the king, and he said to them, “Why have you returned?” And they said to him, “There came a man to meet us, and said to us, ‘Go back to the king who sent you, and say to him, Thus says the LORD, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’” He said to them, “What kind of man was he who came to meet you and told you these things?” They answered him, “He wore a garment of hair, with a belt of leather about his waist.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

    Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

    Again the king sent to him another captain of fifty men with his fifty. And he answered and said to him, “O man of God, this is the king's order, ‘Come down quickly!’” But Elijah answered them, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

    Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. Behold, fire came down from heaven and consumed the two former captains of fifty men with their fifties, but now let my life be precious in your sight.” Then the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.’”

    So he died according to the word of the LORD that Elijah had spoken. Jehoram became king in his place in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, because Ahaziah had no son. Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?

(2 Kings 1 ESV)

2 Thessalonians 1

    Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

    To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

    This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thessalonians 1 ESV)

Something to Consider

2 Thessalonians 1: Suffering and persecution have a way of sifting out those who are truly worthy of the Kingdom of God and those who are tragically not. Those transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit will prove themselves steadfast and faithful under the pressures of persecution and hostility. However, those who merely associate themselves with Christianity but still lack the transformative power of the Holy Spirit will fail in fear under great oppression at the hands of those who oppose their faith. Persistent pressure over the course of time will expose the true heart of a man. 

Those who remain steadfast and faithful have been promised ultimate relief for themselves and utter retribution for their persecutors. Our Lord has come in grace offering salvation and eternal life to the wicked of this world, but soon He will come again in judgement inflicting vengeance and the punishment of eternal destruction “on those who do not know Him and on those who do not obey His gospel”. Our Lord will bring eternal affliction upon those who have afflicted His people. He will come with an army of angels in flaming fire which will strike horror in the hearts of those who have rejected Him but will stir up hope for those who have proven themselves worthy of His Kingdom. 

May we find rest in the midst of our current sufferings knowing that God’s righteousness secures us ultimate rest and retribution in the end. May we remain steadfast and faithful no matter what it may cost us here on this earth knowing that our current afflictions are not even worth comparing to the glory that we have in store for us with our Lord on the New Earth (Romans 8). And while we await that Day of our ultimate salvation, may we make every effort to save those (even our enemies) who stand in the way of the wrath that is coming.