“Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.”
II Kings 1:9
The king of Israel sent these men with a message for the preacher, Elijah the Tishbite. When the captain met Elijah, he addressed the prophet with these words, “Thou man of God.” This was not the greeting of a fellow preacher or servant of God. They were the words of a military man, commissioned by an idolatrous king. These words were not used to show honor for Elijah, but were spoken in a scornful way. Ahaziah, the wicked king of Israel, did not respect God nor His servants.
This passage reminds us of the diminishing respect in our society for the men of God. There was a time when preachers were among the most respected of all occupations. That is no longer the case. There are reasons for this. First of all, many preachers and religious leaders have behaved in such a way as to contribute to this problem. Churches, as well as numerous religious organizations, have been plagued with scandals and improprieties. Because some men have failed to represent the Lord and His work in a way befitting the position of spiritual leadership, it has had a negative effect on the overall view of those in the Gospel ministry.
There is another reason, however, for the decline in honor given to the Lord’s servants. Our society as a whole has a decreasing respect for the things of God in general. When the Bible is ignored, and God’s name and His day are profaned, it should not come as a surprise that His men are not held in high regard.
May we be reminded that Israel was supposed to be a godly nation, but they had turned to idols and no longer consulted the “man of God.” This should be a real lesson for all of us. When the “man of God” is not properly regarded, it is probably an indication that more serious spiritual problems exist. Be that as it may, let there be no doubt that there was a “man of God” in Israel. The king may not have respected him, but he remained faithful to his God. After all, that is what a “man of God” should be.
The phrase “Thou man of God” is a descriptive one. It speaks of a man who belongs to God, one who is loyal to his Master, and speaks on behalf of his Lord. He is not a politician or a puppet, he is a “man of God.”