1 KINGS 21:1 – 22:53 and JOHN 7:53 – 8:30
1 Kings 21
The ferocity of the spirit governing Jezebel again comes to the forefront. In this instance Ahab seeks to obtain the field of Naboth who had a property near the palace. He offered Naboth a better vineyard but he refused primarily due to it being in the family for many years. Ahab was downcast as he returned to his place whereby Jezebel asked as to the reason why. He was acting like a child who did not get his way which is probably a picture of his upbringing. This is one of the reasons why you see similar situations in many political parties today. When leaders act this way it is often the result of children being used to getting whatever they want. In any case Jezebel swings into action by reminding Ahab that he is king of the land. Why do you allow a simple person like Naboth to dictate terms to you? She promised to get the vineyard from Naboth.
We must pause and look at this picture. Why is Jezebel so influential in the affairs of her husband and of the land? First, as noted before she is an idolater of the highest degree. She was the prominent ambassador for Baal worship. Secondly, she was empowered by the position of her husband as king. This is one of the secrets to the strength of a so called Jezebel spirit. She leverages her authority through the power and position of the king. She said to Ahab, “Do you not govern the kingdom of Israel?” The spirit working within Jezebel was able to exploit the weakness in her husband who had the authority as king. If we are in a leadership position, especially in a church we need to watch this very carefully. When men act as men it severely restricts the operation of this spirit. We now look at the methods that were employed to secure and obtain the property of Naboth. She utilizes the authority of her husband by writing letters in his name (vs 8-9). The purpose was to first bring attention to Naboth by lifting him up. Do you see how manipulation can take place? They then hired two evil men to make a false accusation against Naboth stating that he blasphemed God and the king. They then take him out and stone him to death. The plan was executed as planned resulting in the death of Naboth. Today, such plotting is by no means extinct rather it has become more sophisticated. The power of government to fashion a desired end is limitless. Today, you have laws put in place that can literally strip a man of his property for absolute trivial means. It is not the purpose of these commentaries to speculate on man-made crisis for the purpose of power and control but you can be assured it exists. Jezebel’s land grab is a window as to how property and rights of people are confiscated today. Ahab, upon hearing of the news of Naboth’s death rises up to take his vineyard for his possession.
Elijah was sent to Samaria to strongly rebuke Ahab for taking the life of Naboth. He does not mince his words concerning the judgement that God was about to bring upon him and Jezebel. Remarkably, Ahab responded to Elijah’s words by renting his clothes, fasting and seeking forgiveness (vs 27). It seems that Ahab would not have moved against Naboth if Jezebel was not there to assert against him. Ahab however is responsible because it was through his authority and position that this heinous crime took place. The words that Elijah delivered shook him to the core; so much so that the Lord decided that He would not bring evil in his days. He still was guilty but the Lord pronounced judgement for a future day. One of the primary lessons to glean from this chapter is that the power of Jezebel lies in her ability to exert influence through the office and position of her husband. This truth plays out in a home as well when a husband or father abandons his God designed role. It allows the wife to have a position of influence that could go beyond boundaries due to the weakness in her husband. This is the reason why Satan is so determined to attack homes and in particular the husbands and fathers. A house that can be divided will allow for breakdown in other areas. The fruits of such a breakdown is what we see here in Jezebel. Yes, she was a major Baal worshipper however her influence primarily came through the position and authority of her husband.
1 Kings 22
This is an instructive chapter on the dangers of making improper alliances. Our focus now shifts to King Jehoshaphat, who is on the throne of Judah. The king of the north (Ahab) comes to Jehoshaphat and asks his help in going up against the King of Syria. The reason being is that he is holding claim over Ramoth Gilead which belongs to Israel. Jehoshaphat makes a most remarkable and unfortunate remark that will result in a catastrophic alliance. We find his remark in verse 4.
“…I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.”
Do we understand the significance of what he is saying? We are like you and will align ourselves with you in this cause. This was a statement being made to a most wicked king. Jehoshaphat was a good king but he was making a tragic alliance. What could possibly serve as the basis for this arrangement? Did Jehoshaphat see potential good in Ahab in making such an alliance? Did he trust in his ability to help bring him around for good, believing that he could influence Ahab in a positive way? This is what happens today when we seek to delve deep into the things of the world with the objective of engaging people where they are and demonstrating a better way.
Jehoshaphat may have had good intentions but he opened a door to the enemy who already had a strong foot hold in the northern kingdom through Ahab and Jezebel. The king (Ahab) had prophets present themselves before him and Jehoshaphat to enquire as to whether they should go up. The first set of prophets were of the obligatory sort who spoke what they knew the king wanted to hear (vs 6). Jehoshaphat discerned this and yet asked if there were any other prophets. Ahab was aware of a certain prophet named Micaiah who he despised because he prophesied the truth. This is the case with a true prophet as they will speak against the sentiment of what most people want to hear.
There are too many prophets who speak a word that caters to what is in the hearts of people. A true prophet will also be despised by the others as seen in verse 13. They wanted Micaiah to speak unto the king(s) the same message. Micaiah ended up prophesying that they were to go up to Ramoth Gilead which prompted a sarcastic response from Ahab. Micaiah went on to describe what he was shown. It is an interesting insight in seeing a portion of how the administration of heaven functions. He is shown the Lord sitting on His throne asking the question as to who would go and convince Ahab to go to battle against Ramoth Gilead to fall and be killed there. Now why would God want this to happen?
It’s clear He is looking to judge Ahab for his transgressions in the land. He will seek to do it by answering Ahab according to what is in his heart. How will this be done? The cry goes out throughout heaven and one spirit comes forth and says that he will be a lying spirit in all of his prophets. Let us consider a few questions at this point. Did God lie to Ahab through the prophet? No, He allowed a lying spirit to answer Ahab’s heart. We must get this! Remember, God does not tempt man but He allows for it to see what is within our heart. Our heart is affected by the choices we make in life. How do you think the other prophets felt when they heard that they were instruments of a message that was considered a lie? Does this still happen today? Jeremiah refers to prophets who speak falsely and yet the people love to have it that way (Jer 5:31). We now have to consider the consequence of Jehoshaphat’s remark. He did not discern and the result was that he brought himself into an arena that God was allowing for Ahab’s judgement. We later find that Ahab did indeed fall at Ramoth Gilead with Jehoshaphat being narrowly spared. Still the damage was done. A door was opened between these family lines due to Jehoshaphat’s unfortunate alliance. We must be extremely discerning in the last days and recognize when the enemy seeks to join hands with the godly. The priest Joshua and Zerubbabel discerned the evil intent of the sons of Esarhaddon when they sought to help in the work of Restoration (Ezra 4). This is one of the primary tactics the enemy uses to infiltrate the ranks of the godly. He found early success through the kings of the north through Jeroboam and now is gaining an inroad through Jehoshaphat.
King Ahab was killed in this battle by way of an arrow that was shot forth from a bow at a venture; meaning the Lord’s hand of designation was upon it. As he was being brought back to Samaria he was bleeding to death out of his chariot. Later, while his chariot was being washed it is recorded that dogs licked up his blood which was a fulfilment of scripture (1 Kings 21:19). Ahab’s son Ahaziah came to the throne.
Jehoshaphat came to the throne during the 4th year of Ahab’s rule. He was 35 when he began his rule and was on the throne for 25 years. He is counted as a righteous king having walked in the ways of his father Asa. We see that the high places were not taken away as he made allowances for some issues that were not proper before God. The Bible says that he made peace with Israel but at what cost? Peace via compromise is not God’s way seeing that it allows for an open door for the enemy to work. It usually begins subtly and undetected. He did however remove the sodomites out of the land. Ahaziah’s reign from the north is again picked up in verse 51, which began in the 17th year of Jehoshaphat’s rule. Ahaziah, like the others did evil in the sight of the Lord and provoked people to the worship of Baal. Elijah did a major purge upon the prophets of Baal but that spirit continued on. One of the reasons was due to an unfortunate alliance. We are not to become like the world; yes we can and need to be relevant to a point, we must know how to connect but not at the expense of compromise. It opens a door that then becomes very difficult to shut. We will see this on full display as we progress in our study.
John 7 – Read day 123 commentary