I'm just not sure why Elijah would use the word "if." Didn't he know he was called to be a prophet and didn't he trust God in this situation? It's confusing.
2 Kings 1:12
AMP - 12 And Elijah answered, If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
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I find that when I am reading something that I don't quite understand, I will reread not merely the sentence with the word that creates the questions, rather, I will read and read the section, sometimes the page, sometimes the whole chapter. In this case, Elijah's use of the word "IF" has nothing to do with him questioning his own relationship with God; instead, it is a challenge to the men who had been ordered by King Ahab to go and bring him in. Those men came and referred to him with the title, Man of God. Elijah used the word "IF" in his response as a way of proving that he was truly a Man of God. "IF" he wasn't a Man of God then nothing would have come of his next statement that fire would come down from heaven and burn up the soldiers. "IF" fire would come down from heaven, that would be more proof that Elijah was who the soldiers said he was, the, not a, Man of God. In more modern language, the story may have been told in this way. Some soldiers got back to King Ahab with their story and Ahab sent out fifty soldiers to bring Elijah back any which way they could. When they got to the hill upon which Elijah was sitting, they challenged him and ORDERED him in a very condescending tone with a sneer of derision on their faces, to come on down: "MAN OF GOD!" This order could have been given in a very pompous, egotistical, sarcastic tone of voice. "MAN of GOD! The King wants to see you IMMEDIATELY! Will you come peacefully or do we take you by force?" Elijah responded with a low, controlled voice with a hint of sarcasm based upon his knowledge and understanding of who he was as a true man of God, "IF I am a man of God like what you called me, then the proof will be your demise by fire from heaven, from out of the blue." and KABAM! Fire spewed out of thin air and totally obliterated the soldiers. This happened several times because Ahab wanted him badly. The captain of the last set of fifty soldiers Ahab sent wasn't as cocky, brash, belligerent, and disrespectful. He had much more wisdom and fear so he spoke to Elijah with respect. He was literally scared for his life. With that captain's respectful and fearful request, Elijah followed the captain to see King Ahab.
Ellijay had no doubt. In fact, God was speaking through him to the King of Israel, Ahaziah. In the previous chapter, we see the story of Azariah's father who refused to listen to God's prophet simply because he wouldn't tell him what he wanted to hear and was killed in battle because he refused to heed God's warning. God sent many prophets to the Kings of Israel during this period trying to get them to turn from wickedness and to return to Him. We can see that Jehosephat, King of Judah was spared in the same battle because he was loyal to God. (Remember at this time, the land of Israel was split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah) Ahaziah was next in line in the split Kingdom of Israel. He sent his men to a prophet of Baal because he refused to believe in God. God had Elijah meet them as another warning. His words were chosen by God and when He said "If", God was telling Ahaziah "You judge for yourself. Who is the real God of Israel?" "If" what I say comes to pass, then you should know who is speaking to you. I believe that even at this point, had Ahaziah repented, God would have healed him but Ahaziah stubbornly refused two warnings and forfeited the lives of 100 of his men in doing so, and was willing to sacrifice 50 more. His own death was the result as another judgment on Israel. In the New Testament, a similar "If" is used in the story of the Rich man and Lazurus. The Rich man was told "If they refuse to listen to the witness of Jonah and the prophets, they won't believe even 'if' someone is raised from the dead." And of course, Someone was. JESUS. Our warning that we can chose to believe and repent and be healed from our sins or perish as Ahaziah did.
You are right, the Bible can be confusing at times. My humble opinion is this. He had just watched and ridiculed the priests of Jezebel for many hours try to have their false God set the sacrifice on fire. Now he was telling them basically, if the God of my people the Jews is real and I am truely one of his Prophets.... Watch this. And boy did God show up.
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