My women's group is studying confronting evil and as part of the study we learned about the many battles between the Philistines and the Israelites. The study had us read some Scripture and I didn't get the connection until I looked into it further.
The study had us read 1 Kings 22:51-53; 2 Kings 1:1-3, 16; Matthew 12:22-28; and Luke 11:14-20.
We were asked, 'What do the following passages reveal about the Philistines and their culture?'
In the 1 Kings passage we learn that Ahaziah did evil in the sight of the LORD. Ahaziah was a bad king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. After king Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam, took over ruling Israel. He caused conflict and in 930 B.C. the nation of Israel split. Ten tribes became the Northern Kingdom called Israel. Two tribes became the Southern Kingdom of Judah. All prophesies said the coming Messiah would be from the nation of Judah. And Jesus was.
From the 2 Kings passage we learn that King Ahaziah sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron. But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah to ask the messengers 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?' (2 Kings 1:3, 16)
Then the study has us read the Matthew and Luke passages. In these passages Jesus heals a blind and mute man who is demon-possessed and the Pharisees accuse Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons. Jesus tells them "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you."
From reading these four passages, I just did not get the connection and was unable to answer the question. The next page of the study explained that Baal-Zebul was thought to be the son of the Philistine's main god, Dagon. I still didn't make the connection until I looked at the dictionary in the back of my Bible.
Baal-Zebul/ Baal-Zebub (variant spellings of Hebrew word OT) correlates to Beelzebul/ Beelzebub (variant spellings of Greek word NT), the ruler of the demons, i.e. Satan.
What we were supposed to understand from reading the four passages is that the Philistines worshipped Satan. And in 2 Kings, the king of Israel, Ahaziah, inquired of Satan - not God!
The Philistines worshipped Beelzebub. And the king of Israel joined them.
Source: Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps & Timelines, Rose Publishing, copyright 2005, page 66. (affiliate link - excellent resource to have)
All 20 kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were bad kings. All of them did evil in the sight of God. In His great mercy God sent them prophets to warn them that if they did not turn back to Him that He would judge them. They ignored the prophets and continued in their evil ways.
Is it any wonder that in 722 B.C. God judged the Northern Kingdom of Israel by invading them with the brutal Assyrians?
One of the things the women in my group have been discussing is:
Do you expect God to be on your side, or are you doing all you can to be on His side?
This part of the study had us read how in some of the battles with the Philistines, the Israelites were on God's side and they were victorious. But when the Israelites did what they wanted and weren't on God's side, they were defeated.
As it is with us.
We can go through this life on His side or not on His side.
Which do you choose?
Be on His side, fighting His enemies, with His means, for His ends.