What does it say?
1Kings 20 records a series of battles between king Ahab’s Israel and his Syrian neighbor. God will deliver Israel, but God sends a prophet to Ahab to make it clear that victory is by God’s grace and power to demonstrate to the nations his superiority to Baal. Following his victory, Ahab spares Ben-Hadad of Syria and enters into a treaty with him. God sends another prophet to Ahab to rebuke him for failure to finish the victory and announces his impending death as the consequence of his refusal to obey God’s instructions.
From a series of military victories, 1Kings 21 focuses on Ahab’s petty desire to buy or appropriate the property of a man named Naboth. Ahab’s weak character manifests itself in his pouting when Naboth refuses to give up his land inheritance. Ahab’s wicked wife Jezebel conspires to kill Naboth and deliver the land to Ahab. God sends Elijah to confront Ahab and announce judgment on both him and his wife.
What does it mean?
There are remarkable parallels to the battle for Jericho in Ahab’s victory over Syria as noted in 1Kings 20:29-30 with a victory on the seventh day and the city wall falling down. There are other strong parallels between the growing apostasy and disobedience of Ahab with that of Saul. This all reminds us that this is a continuing pattern of God’s dealing with his people in the on-going story of his movement toward redemption and restoration.
Having had many chances to trust God and be used to bring reform to Israel and reconciliation with God and his mission, Ahab continues to degenerate into a miserable shell of a man. God’s mission marches onward and will not stop until his purposes have been accomplished. We can choose to be a part of what God is doing, or we can refuse and suffer the consequences.
How will I respond?
In what direction is my life progressing? Am I growing deeper and stronger in my faith, or am I growing farther from God? What step can I take today to be certain that I am headed in the right direction? Do I need to renew my commitment to be consistently in God’s word and obedient to its instruction? Do I need to be more intentional in allowing God to speak to me through other believers, or do I refuse to listen to them as did Ahab to his peril?