Daily Devotional

August 18, 2019

Daybreak: 1 Kings 21:1-29

“And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.” (1 Kings 21:4)

My two-year-old granddaughter is a typically happy, enthusiastic child — most of the time. Occasionally, however, when things are not going her way, she can become extremely pouty. At such times, jokes about watching out for her lower lip so she doesn’t trip over it, do not seem so far-fetched. At age two, this is not extremely unusual, and with a loving, Christ-centered upbringing, she will no doubt outgrow this particular phase in due time.

Childish pouting by an adult is not so funny. In King Ahab’s case, he behaved much like a child, climbing into bed without supper and facing toward the wall — all because Naboth would not sell him his vineyard. Ahab’s pout led to Jezebel’s plot, which in turn led to the staging of a vicious false trial by local political leaders and, ultimately, to the execution of an innocent man.

We must understand very clearly that pouting, and the selfish attitudes that promote it, have no part in a Christian’s life. If you are tempted to react in such a way, immediately pray for strength to reject such behavior, and do not allow it any place in your life. It can cause a separation between even the best of friends, and also between brothers and sisters in the Gospel. 

More dangerous yet, pouting can prevent us from hearing the still small Voice of our Savior. When situations do not seem to be going our way, we need to remind ourselves that God allows everything that comes into our lives, and He has some plan for how it will work for our good. This will help us be thankful no matter what the circumstances are around us.

Background

Naboth’s refusal to sell his inheritance was in obedience to the Law (Leviticus 25:23 and Numbers 27:8-11). God had told Israel that He owned the land and they were His tenants on it. 

Jezebel’s action revealed the depth of her wickedness. In her country of Phoenicia, kings were sovereign. According to the Law, a person who blasphemed was to be stoned (Leviticus 24:16), and two witnesses were required (Deuteronomy 17:6). Jezebel directed that “sons of Belial,” meaning “worthless men,” were to falsely witness against Naboth. 

It is terrible to be lied about publicly, especially to the extent that people believe the lie and turn against the one who is lied about. Naboth not only was lied about, but this was carried to the extreme when he was publicly executed! His sons were also killed, so there was no family to inherit the property (2 Kings 9:26). In some cases, God allows evil to triumph, as He did here. Today in some areas of the world innocent Christians are being severely persecuted for things of which they clearly are not guilty. 

Verse 17 says, “The word of the Lord came to Elijah.” The previous reference to Elijah was when he anointed Elisha. Here God used him to pronounce judgment on Ahab and Jezebel. 

Elijah prophesied that the dogs would lick up Ahab’s blood, just as they had licked up Naboth’s blood. This prophecy was fulfilled in 1 Kings 22:38. The prophecy regarding the death of Jezebel and also their sons was fulfilled by Jehu (2 Kings 9-10). 

Ahab took Elijah’s words to heart and humbled himself. As a result, God allowed him to die before the prophecy was fulfilled regarding his family.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel
      K.   The reign of Ahab of Israel
            4.   The desire for Naboth’s vineyard (21:1-29)
                  a.   Naboth’s refusal (21:1-4)
                  b.   Naboth’s murder (21:5-16)
                        (1)   Jezebel’s plot against Naboth (21:5-10)
                        (2)   Jezebel’s murder of Naboth (21:11-16)
                  c.   Elijah’s condemnation of Ahab and Jezebel (21:17-26)
                  d.   Ahab’s repentance (21:27-29)

A Closer Look

  1. Who was guilty in the mock trial and execution of Naboth? 
     
  2. Because Ahab humbled himself, God allowed him to die without seeing the judgment on his family. What does that indicate about God?
     
  3. How do you think a Christian should respond if false accusations are made against him?

Conclusion

In the early part of the twentieth century, Victor Herbert wrote a humorous song containing the words: “Oh, I want what I want when I want it! That’s all that makes life worth the while.” As Christians, let us live just the opposite of this, with a new song that goes something like: “Lord, I want what You want when You want it . . .” This truly will bring us the happiness that the first song promises but fails to deliver.

Reference Materials