Hazael the Syrian

John Calvin once wrote that "Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves" (Institutes 1.1.1). 

Hazael the Syrian is an example of someone who seems to have lacked both knowledge of God and of self. When Elisha described to him what he would do in the future, Hazael did not recognize himself in the horrific deeds outlined by the weeping prophet (2 Kings 8). Yet, Elisha's words were true. 

Andrew Flinn Dickson (1825-1879) has taken the life of Hazael for a lesson to us all in a volume titled Hazael the Syrian; or, Know Thyself (1857). We ought to know the God whom we serve, and we ought to know who we are in His service. Elijah warned the people of God, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that "No man can serve two masters" (Matt. 6:24). Dickson reminds us that there is no place for a "half-way Christian." 

It is a sobering read, but how important it is, Christian, to know thyself, and to God be true.