“The officer of the third group went up the hill and knelt in front of Elijah.” -2 Kings 1:13
I’m very impressed by this officer. This man, who we don’t have a name for, is my kind of guy. He is someone I admire. It’s all about his actions. What made him great was his humbleness, sincerity, braveness, kindnesses, intelligence, leaderships, and his love for the men under him. In particular, he thought for himself. Don’t miss this in this story.
Briefly, King Ahaziah fell through a window. He sent messengers, "Go ask Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron, if I will recover from this injury.” Meanwhile, The Angel of the Lord went to Elijah with a message to the messengers of the King, and it wasn’t a good word. "Meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and ask them, 'Do you seek advice from Baal Zebub, the god of Ekron, because ⌊you think⌋ there is no God in Israel? This is what the Lord says: You will not get up from the bed you are lying on. Instead, you will die there.'" Imagine having to deliver that word.
King Ahaziah sent an army officer with 50 men to bring Elijah to him. When they found him on top of a hill the officer commended him to come down. Fire came down and killed them all. The King sent a second army officer and 50 men, they met with the same fate. The King sends a third army officer and another 50 men. This time there’s a different outcome.
Imagine being that army officer, and the 50 men, what were they thinking? I don’t know about you, but I would have been frightened. One Hundred men plus the two commanding officers just died, and they weren’t even in battle. Obviously, their chances of escaping death were next to impossible. However, there was a commander who cared about his life and the lives under his care. He thought for himself.
You see there’s always someone that stands out amongst the crowd. This commander was one of them. He does several things very different then the two previous commanders. He goes up the hill. The others demanded he come down. Secondly, he goes up the hill alone. I was taken back when I read this story. He didn’t have to go up. He was the commander; he was the boss. He could have sent the men, or even one to talk to Elijah. However, he shows bravery; he does it himself. He climbs the hill. Thirdly, he kneels before him. This shows great humbleness, honor, and respect. Mind you he was the officer in command in which people bowed before him. Talk about the greatness of a person. Watch their actions. The greater they are the humbler they are, true for only the greatest of people.
He pleads for Elijah to spare their lives. Look at what he says. “The officer begged him, "Man of God, please treat my life and the lives of these 50 servants of yours as something precious. Fire has come from heaven and burned up the first two officers and their 100 men. But treat my life as something precious."
"Treat my life and the lives of these servant of yours as something precious." In doing this he acknowledged Elijah was a man of God, and that he and his men were Elijah’s servants, the servants of the Living God, not a fake, wooden statue, with no power and no might made from a carving of man's imagination that his unwise and ungodly King followed. This humble, sincere, and acknowledgment of WHO Elijah was in God spared his life and the lives of his men and countless others that the King would have sent.
I am always writing about people thinking for themselves. People are always doing things according to what others command them to do. I’m very sorry if people get offended, but God gave you a mind, a working brain to think for yourself. The King did not tell him to do that. The King didn’t care 102 men already died. Let me point something crucial here. The King already knew his fate. He knew he would die. God only knows how many men he would have sent to their death if this particular guy didn’t intervene. That commander already knew the heart of the King. We know it, not even having met him.
This commander was a great man. The truth is we can be great men and women, too. It means you don’t do things like everyone else. You think for yourself, especially when it will mean life or death to you, and maybe others. I listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I fix my mind on Christ and take on His mind and will for my life. This man did just that. In the process, he saved his life, the lives of the 50 men, and God alone knows how many more men would have died if he didn’t humble himself and follow his own mind even if it went against the King, his mentor, and his authority.
Sometimes you have to go against those who don’t agree with you. It’s ok when it’s done with humility, honor, respect, integrity, and sincerity. The moral to the story is to be all these things and be brave to go against the crowd. Great men and women are not followers. They are leaders. They lead themselves; this what I mean. This man was a great example. Let’s imitate his great qualities.
Dr. Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President
Thread of Hope, Inc.