I could be alone in this, but there are a few passages of Scripture that give me a true LOL moment. I came across one this week in the first chapter of 2 Kings this week. Ahaziah, the king of Israel, fell through the lattice of his upper room and had what he thought could be life-threatening injuries. He sent messengers to consult Baal-Zebub, their idol god, to ask if he would recover. Along the way the messengers ran into God’s faithful prophet, Elijah. After asking a clarifying and possibly sarcastic question, Elijah said, “Therefore this is what the LORD says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!”
Having an answer to the question, the messengers went back to Ahaziah. Since their trip didn’t seem to take as long as the king estimated it should take, he asked them, “Why have you come bacK?” They said, “A man came to meet us…he said, ‘this is what the LORD says…you will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’” The king asked them, “What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?” They replied, “He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist.” The king said, “That was Elijah the Tishbite.”
I had to laugh at this! I read it as, “That ain’t nobody but Elijah the Tishbite!” I laughed! That was a rather vague description, but the king quickly and correctly concluded the identity of the man! How? What were the clues - the clothing, the words, or the “coincidence” of meeting up with him?
In 1 Kings 17 Elijah is introduced as he announced the prophecy of drought, “neither rain nor dew,” over the land of Israel. God directed him away from the drought and protected him from those who wanted him dead for three years. God then sent him back for a fiery showdown against the 850 prophets of Baal in the presence of Ahaziah’s father, then king Ahab. Maybe Ahab had told his son about Elijah, or maybe Ahaziah had met Elijah before, but we read in 2 Kings 1, that he correctly identified him from a vague description. (And he did die in the bed.)
Earlier this week, my son’s friend was about to tell me about a situation, then he said, “Zach told me not to tell you because he knows what you will say.” Over the weekend, Nick asked me to pick up a few items in Walmart and due to “supply chain issues,” I had to make a substitution. I heard his friend say, “I knew your mom would do that!” In conversation this week, a friend used me as an example, “If somebody told me Kim did that, I would never believe them, not in a million years would Kim do that! That would be totally out of character for her!” On Monday morning, I borrowed a classroom for a presentation. Someone came over the PA system and asked for the teacher who loaned me her classroom. When I said, “I’m sorry, this is Kim Massey, she’s not here,” the person said, “Oh, Mrs. Massey, someone just called the school to ask us to tell you your dog is loose.” I still don’t know who made the phone call or how I was tracked down, but I’m glad someone who knew me, recognized Bubba, and cared enough to make a phone call, maybe several!
It’s good to be known, sometimes. How are you known? Over the course of a friendship, in marriage, at work, through raising our children, or interacting with their friends, we come to be known. People know us by the ways in which we conduct ourselves, the jokes we thell, the questions we ask, the advice we give, and how we react in different situations. All of these things make up our character. People will expect certain things of us, good or bad, based on our history of past conduct. In Scripture, many of the kings of Judah are described as having done, “evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him.” We don’t know if the people of Judah knew the sinfulness of their leadership, but we do know that they were led astray, and the kings “aroused the anger of the LORD.” People know us, but more than that, the Lord knows us. Proverbs 16:2 tells us, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” I don’t know who will write my obituary or give my eulogy, but my character will be summarized in their description. Regardless of what they say, I want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 Amen.