1 Kings 20:23-22:9; 2 Chronicles 18:1-8
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Alas, even though King Ahab was given victories by God's grace in our readings, he goofs things up by letting King Ben-hadad of Aram go free. Then, as we get into First Kings chapter 21 today, things go from bad to worse for Ahab in terms of his relationship with God. Chapter 21 is a sad story of Naboth and his vineyard... Would it be safe to say that King Ahab was coveting Naboth's vineyard? Would Ahab be breaking a commandment in the Mosaic Law here in this image...?
I couldn't quite remember why Jezebel was cast in such a bad light in our readings a few days ago. Today I remember why... It is great to see Elijah show up on the scene and say to Ahab in verse 20 - "I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD's sight." How sad. Do you think people today can still sell themselves to what is evil in God's sight? Below is an image of Elijah denouncing Ahab for the evil that transpired over Naboth's vineyard in today's readings.
Ahab is not happy about the Arameans occupying Ramoth-gilead at the beginning of chapter 22. Ramoth-gilead was on a hilltop that could have looked something like this:
King Jehoshaphat of Judah wisely suggests that they should consult God before going into battle against the Arameans. At which time King Ahab of Israel trots out his 400 yes-men "prophets" who say they should definitely go to war and that they will be victorious. I love Jehoshaphat's reaction to these 400 yes-men in verse 7: "But Jehoshaphat asked, "Isn't there a prophet of the LORD around, too? I would like to ask him the same question."" Ahab's reaction in verse 8 is quite telling... "There is still one prophet of the LORD, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but bad news for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah." This verse really stands out for me in a big way in our world today. I wonder if sometimes we - you and me - look for supposed "prophets" of the Lord that are yes-people to our particular likings - instead of looking for Truth. Meaning... and I'm just putting this out there, so bear with me. Do we sometimes maybe even decide to attend a particular church because it tells us basically what we want to hear? It keeps us in our comfortable place... we get yes-messages... When, instead, should we be okay with attending a church that will give us some challenging and convicting messages on occasion? Biblical messages mind you - which surely can be challenging to our modern ears at times. I heard somewhere once before that church should be a place that "comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable." I like that... Now, don't get me wrong. I am not saying we need to be in super-strict churches per se. I just think we should really watch for churches that are giving a yes-message all the time to our particular likings verses churches that teach the Truth. I don't think church is the only area of where we might default to looking for yes-messages. I think this can happen in books we read, TV we watch, or even with friends or with work. Are we listening to 400 yes-people in our lives or are we okay with 1 Micaiah coming in and sharing a perceived "bad-news" message? (which may ultimately be very good news if we'll just listen to it... if Ahab had really listened to Micaiah's message in today's readings, think he still would have rushed out to battle?) Below is an image of Micaiah and the false prophets before Jehoshaphat and Ahab:
YouTube: Today's readings remind me of the Britt Nicole song "The Lost Get Found:"
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