Today's devotion from 2 Kings 1 & 2.
As 2 Kings begins, transition is the constant. On the one hand, we have Ahaziah who has fallen and is concerned about his future. Instead of seeking one of the prophets of God, he sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub. This shocking oversight offended God. In answer, Elijah was sent to pronounce a true prophecy that would have never come from an imagined god.
The news was not good. Ahaziah would die. In response, the king begins to assert his authority. He sent fifty soldiers to apprehend the prophet. They died. He sent another fifty. They died. Yet another comes, but the captain who was successful came not in authority, but humility and fear. Now there was no fire from heaven, but a call for Elijah to go.
In the next chapter, we see Elijah preparing to depart this world, but Elisha won't let him out of his sight. Elijah tried to shoo him off this way and that, but Elisha would not leave him alone because he knew what was happening. In fact, many believe that this was a test for Elisha to see if he would persevere as Elijah's successor as Joshua had done for Moses.
Finally, God decided it was time. How would His servant come home? There was no donkey for this prophet. God sent a flaming war chariot with a team of horses. Fire separated the two, and Elijah rose to heaven in a whirlwind.
In this event we see the stark difference between a king and the King. Ahaziah could send messengers, but he could not command Baal-zebub or Yahweh to answer. He could send soldiers, but only God could order Elijah to go. He feared the uncertainty of death, whereas God could command death to come to him or to bypass His servant Elijah.