Scripture reading for April 9th: 1st Kings 20-22
Ahab, a weak man, had become king of Israel. He was married to a wicked woman, Jezebel, who was an idolater. After the confrontation with Elijah on Mt. Carmel, one would think that Ahab would have learned the lesson that God is God and He should be honored and obeyed. He allowed Jezebel to pursue Elijah and threaten him for doing what God wanted done to the false prophets! Some people have short memories–or no backbone!
A short time later, Ahab’s faith was tested by an attack from Ben-Hadad, king of Aram who persuaded 32 other kings to join him. He demanded that Ahab give him his silver and gold and the best of his wives and children. Ahab agreed without a fight. He then sent another demand for all the silver and gold from all his officials and and their wives and children but they wouldn’t agree. The elders and people put a stop to giving in.
This situation reminds me of today where many of God’s people give in to the enemy and allow the enemy to take their gold and silver, their wives and children. They use drugs and alcohol and waste their money on gambling. They allow their children unlimited access to cell phones and internet and see them stolen by the enemy! They make idols of sports and neglect the spiritual education of their children, losing them to the enemy! How easily we give in like Ahab of old!
God did give advice to Ahab that helped him have victory over Ben-Hadad the first time. Ben-Hadad, however, escaped to fight again. Ahab was told a second time to fight and God would give victory. The second time, Ben-Hadad was surrounded and losing badly and he decided to surrender to Ahab. Ahab took him into the chariot and let him live! (1st Kings 20:31-34) God’s prophet came and told Ahab that he would forfeit his own life for the life of Ben-Hadad whom he had mercifully let off! (1st Kings 20:34-43)
It is easy to justify our lack of obedience with a desire to be merciful. Ahab should have repented but instead got sullen and angry. Check out your own heart and avoid God’s “divine retribution”. True repentance is the response God wants in every case of disobedience!