This story of Elijah and men sent to bring him to judgement for prophesying bad things for King Ahaziah is an epic story if how heroes of faith can affect the world. When people of faith interact with the world, they begin to change things and shake the world around them. The Israelite leader in this story sent people for his own selfish intent. As you read the story further, you see that everyone is affected, most particularly the man who begged for His life.
After seeing two military buddies go down, the captain who begged for his life did not see much chance of Him surviving. If he went to Elijah, the experiences of the other captains assured him he was on a suicide mission. However, if he went back to the King, he would have been killed for not confronting Elijah. Being an Israelite, he remembers the stories of God being merciful to people who called out to him, so he decided to show Elijah that he was desperate. “Who knows” the captain probably thought, ” maybe this God things really is true and He will be merciful.”
Imagine the surprised look on his face when no fire comes down and Elijah says okay. It was crazy enough that Elijah kept calling down fire, but to be spared of it was saying something about coming to God for mercy. His begging for his life was not noble, he was just scared of dying. What reason did God have to not take him out in flames. Whatever the captain’s thoughts, one thing was certainly happening in his head. He started to wonder if maybe this God was real. Maybe He was merciful. Maybe He values an individual enough to not kill a person. We never hear about the man after this story, but we can safely assume that his life was never the same after that event.
There is a difference between living for the world and living for God. The first is about conformity, mediocrity, safety, and being in control. That’s why the captains were confronting Elijah. They wanted a way of life that was brutal and unloving. God’s way is about realizing your unique abilities, greatness, risk, and releasing control to the one who has always been in control. The worldly way does not change the world. God’s way shakes the world to its core. The question is not about God and His people’s affect in the world. The question is whether you are ready to be a part of it or not. Elijah understood this concept and the captain who was spared learned it.
When we look to those we hold up as heroes, are we holding up people who represent greed, violence, and anything making the world a bad place, or do we hold up people who love and bring great things to the world. God wants a mission of peace and love on the earth, but it takes bravery and will to be seen by the world as a threat.
But we will be making the world a better place.