1 Kings 21

1 Kings 21 has Ahab going to Naboth to try and secure his vineyard to turn it into a garden.  It was a great piece of land close to the palace, and Ahab wanted it to plant food for his table.  Naboth refused both money and a trade to a better vineyard because it was an inheritance and land of his father.  Ahab is frustrated and goes back pouting that he has been unable to secure the land.  His wife, evil as she was, Jezebel told him to get over it and be cheerful.  She was going to take matters into her own hands and secure the land.

Actually her plan was sinister.  She writes letters under the sign of the king and asks the leaders of the city Naboth was in to set him up and take him out.  A couple witnesses accuse him falsely, he is convicted and sentenced to stoning.  And soon he is out of the picture.  Word comes back to Jezebel that her evil plan has worked and now Ahab can go possess the land without resistance.  So he does – he takes possession and things seem good and according to his wishes.  But along comes Elijah with some strong words.  That seems to be what happens every time Elijah shows up to Ahab.

“Thus says the Lord: “In the place where dogs licked up the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick your own blood”.  No sugar coating of the message by Elijah.  Ahab has sinned and he is going to pay.  But beyond his demise, Elijah says “Anyone belonging to Ahab who dies in the city the dogs shall eat, and anyone of his who dies in the open country the birds of the heavens shall eat”.  His sin is going to spill all over everyone associated with him.  The impact of sin is wide and deep.  We cannot ignore it.  And Jezebel’s sin is also called out by Elijah.  It is a very direct message.

But Ahab hears Elijah’s rebuke and condemnation, and he “tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and fasted and lay in sackcloth and went about dejectedly”.  Ahab repents.  He knows he has sinned and he heard Elijah’s charges.  But he takes action to get right before God.  And God hears his plea, so much so, that God changes his action.  “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring the disaster in his days; but in his son’s days I will bring the disaster upon his house”.  Ahab doesn’t stop the punishment for sin completely, but delays it to the next generation.  Important to understand that there is a consequence to sin.  There is a price to pay.  That is why Jesus death on the Cross is so important and powerful. 

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