Saturday, March 12, 2016

1 Kings 21

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 21. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Ahab, the king who we have already seen do so much evil, now decides he wants a man named Naboth's vineyard. Naboth knew the Israelites were supposed to keep ancestral land in the family, so he tells Ahab he can't sell it no matter the price (verses 1-3).
  • Despite the fact that he's already rich and has tons, Ahab pouts because he can't have Naboth's vineyard, so his wife Jezebel schemes to get it for him (verses 4-10). Jezebel, though not an Israelite, uses their laws. She knows that in Israel two witnesses were required to establish guilt, and that the penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning.
  • The prophet Elijah tells Ahab how God will punish him for what he has done (verses 19-23). We will see this promise fulfilled in 1 Kings 22:38 ad 2 Kings 9:10-10:28.
  • Ahab was Israel's most wicked king (see verse 25) but he repents of his actions (verse 27), and God reduces and postpones his punishment (verses 28 and 29). It's significant to note that God will show mercy to an incredibly evil person like Ahab, because He wants us to repent and He will show us that same mercy.
  • The new punishment for Ahab's sins will come against his sons, in a way that destroys his dynasty (verse 29). Ahab's sons wouldn't be punished for Ahab's sins. God says he deals with each person based on their own actions (see, for instance, Ezekiel 18:30 and Romans 2:6). God knows the future, and if Ahab's sons are going to be punished and lose the dynasty, they won't be innocent and only punished for Ahab's sins...

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Ahab has a lot, but he is greedy and wants more. When he can't get it, he pouts, and is willing to do wrong to get what he wants. Too often we can be the same way. We have so much, but still we want more. If we don't get what we want we might pout, or we might manipulate people to get it, or go into debt to get it.
  • Ahab wasn't a model of good character in the first place, but the influence of Jezebel definitely led him to do evil things that he wouldn't have thought of or done on his own. There's a saying, "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future." We tend to become like the people with whom we spend a lot of time.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Looking back, have you done anything you're embarrassed of to get something? What does that teach you about you? And what do you want now? Do you really need it? Would choosing to be content with what you already have be a better path for you?
  • Show me your friends and I'll show you your future...  Do you have any Jezebel-like friends who influence you to think about or do wrong things? Is there anyone you need to stop letting influence you?