1 Kings 20

1 Kings 20 has Ben-hadad the king of Syria gathering all his army together to do battle with Israel. He sends a message to Ahab to give up his silver and gold and women and kids.  Ahab goes to his elders to see what to do, and they advise that he not give in but prepare for battle.  As Ben-hadad gets that messge, he calls his army to their battle stations.  A prophet comes along to see Ahab and tells him what to do to be successful.  “I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord”.

God instructs Ahab to strike first, which he does and has success.  Ahab had “listened to their voice and did so” and prepared for another round of fighting in the spring after Ben-hadad got his act together again.  After all, he didn’t have all that many people – just the 7000 that God had spared and the elders and leaders.  But God is faithful and leads their preparation for the battle that was coming.  Another prophet came and said “I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord”.

It was a big battle but the Israelites were extremely effective.  They killed many Syrians – “100,000 foot soldiers in one day”.  This was possible because of two things – preparation and obedience.  God blessed them on both fronts and they were effective in battle.  But there was more.  The enemy “fled into the city of Aphek, and the wall fell upon 27,000 men who were left”.  God took care of the rest of the battle and caused a wall to fall on a lot of those who were left.  He is faithful – always faithful – to those who walk with Him.

But partial obedience is just that, partial.  And God was not pleased nor satisfied with what Ahab had done.  He did not kill Ben-hadad as commanded.  And on the bad advice of some of those around him, he makes a bad choice.  The man of God comes to him and says “Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people”.  Ahab did what he thought was right, but it will cost him his life.

Scripture tells us ‘there is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death”.  Obedience is not about our interpretation of what God or His scripture says.  It is about doing what God says when He says it.  It also isn’t about doing most of what we are told, but being completely obedient to His commands.  Are you walking with God that way?  Anything less will not end well!

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