One day Israel’s new king, Ahaziah, fell through the latticework of an upper room at his palace in Samaria and was seriously injured. So he sent messengers to the temple of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether he would recover.
But the angel of the Lord told Elijah, who was from Tishbe, “Go and confront the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is there no God in Israel? Why are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether the king will recover? Now, therefore, this is what the Lord says: You will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’” So Elijah went to deliver the message.
(2 Kings 1:1-14)
When King Ahaziah heard that Elijah had prophesied against him, the king sent a contingent of soldiers to arrest him. The first captain approached Elijah and demanded that he obey the king’s orders. But Elijah was a “man of God,” and he obeyed a higher authority—God himself. The first captain’s disregard for God’s authority cost him and his men their lives. The second captain that King Ahaziah sent made the same mistake. By contrast, the third captain, knowing what had happened to the first two, approached Elijah with reverence for God, begging for mercy. His humble respect saved his and his men’s lives.
Pride generally leads us to make demands of others, expecting that they will honor us with obedience. But more often, our pride ignores the value of the other person. We turn them into a project, an obstacle, or a means to an end. We ignore the image of God that each person has.
Humility, on the other hand, honors others as people created and loved by God. Clearly, from this story, God honors those who are humble (Isaiah 57:15). When we humbly respect others, we honor God too by honoring those he loves.