Ahab–slow to learn!
Scripture reading for April 9th: 1st Kings 20-22
God used prophets to speak to the Kings of Israel and Judah. They were sent to give warning, direction, and advice for governing God’s people and providing protection from enemies. Heeding their word resulted in a victory and blessing; rejecting their word brought trouble and defeat.
God had already spoken to King Ahab and Jezebel through Elijah when he pronounced the drought of three years. (1st Kings 17:1) The cause of the drought was Jezebel killing the Lord’s prophets and feeding 950 prophets of Baal at the king’s table. Elijah confronted them with this truth and demonstrated God’s power in the contest on Mt. Carmel. (1st Kings 18:18-19) He then killed the false prophets and prayed for rain again on the land and God sent a storm! It should have been abundantly clear that listening to God’s word was important and that God’s prophets should be given respect.
God again sent a prophet to Ahab with instructions on how to defeat his enemy, Ben-Hadad king of Aram. (1st Kings 20:13) Ben-Hadad had a coalition of 32 kings and was using intimidation to steal from Israel and conquer. As Ahab obeyed the prophet, God worked a miracle and Ben-Hadad was soundly defeated. But Ben Hadad appealed to Ahab for mercy, and Ahab made a treaty with him and let him live without consulting the Lord! God then sent another prophet to speak a word of judgment. (1st Kings 20:41-43) Ahab would die for letting Ben-Hadad live when God wanted him dead!
Ahab next turned to coveting a neighbor’s vineyard to build a garden for himself. The neighbor, Naboth, refused to sell or trade the family property to Ahab. Ahab complained to his wife, who promptly set in motion a plan to get the vineyard through lies and manipulation. She had Naboth killed and took the property. God sent Elijah to speak word of judgment again. Some people are slow to learn and Ahab went about sulking.
Ahab is like many leaders in the church today. They have clear instructions in the Word of God about what God wants done, but decide to do things their way. God always gives each person time to repent. We can humble ourselves and learn from our mistakes or harden ourselves and end up in judgment. Would that we all would be quicker to learn!