The Third Captain
“Again, he sent a third captain of fifty with his fifty men. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and pleaded with him, and said to him: “Man of God, please let my life and the life of these fifty servants of yours be precious in your sight” (2 Kings 1.13 NKJV).
God sent his most powerful prophets when the moral decay of Israel was at its greatest. One of these prophets was Elijah. Elijah was a notorious man of God. A single description of him, “A hairy man wearing a leather belt,” was all Israel’s evil king, Ahaziah, needed to identify him (2 Kings 1.8). King Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his home and injured himself, so he sent his servants to inquire of a demonic god if he would recover from his injury. Therefore, God sent Elijah to intercept the servants to reprimand the king for seeking counsel from a source other than God Himself and to let the king know that he would die from his fall. Obviously, King Ahaziah didn’t like the godly discipline, so he sent a captain with fifty men to confront Elijah. If the king had valued the lives of his men, he would never had sent them on this suicide mission; and if the captain had valued the lives of the men, he would have never had confronted Elijah, God’s representative, with such disrespect and disdain. All fifty men and the captain were consumed by fire. King Ahaziah continued sending men to Elijah, knowing very well what the outcome would be. Finally, however, the third captain stopped the bloodshed. He fell on his knees before Elijah and pleaded with him to see his life and the lives of his men as “precious.” Because this captain feared God and valued the lives of his men, they were all saved. The ultimate sign that a society has lost it’s moral plumb line is when human life is no longer precious in the eyes of its citizens. The only way to combat the moral decay and prevent our society from being swept away is to humble ourselves and base our lives on the precious cornerstone of all life, Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.I will test you with the measuring line of justice and the plumb line of righteousness. Since your refuge is made of lies, a hailstorm will knock it down. Since it is made of deception, a flood will sweep it away” (emphasis added) (Isaiah 28.16-17 NLT).