Friday, October 04, 2019

Admonitions from Ahab: As if it had been a light thing to walk in sin

Note: Devotion comes from last Sunday's sermon on 1 Kings 16.

1 Kings 16:31: And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the ways of Jeroboam….

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world have come.

1 Kings 16 is repetitive. One evil king is followed by another evil king in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It describes a string of no less than five evil kings (Baahsa, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and, finally, Ahab).

Dale Ralph Davis asks why some parts of the Bible seem boring and answers: “They’re boring because they are the records of sinful men who simply repeat the sins and evil of those before them. Sin is never creative but merely imitative and repetitious” (1 Kings, 179). He later says, “godlessness is dull” (180). In the 1960s a famous political study introduced the term “the banality of evil.” We see that in 1 Kings 16.

Ahab is the apex (or nadir) of this line of evil kings. He is the epitome of all that was rotten in Israel. There’s a reason Melville named the villain of Moby Dick Captain Ahab!

Ahab was second in the dynasty of Omri, and he ruled for 22 years, the same length of rule as Jeroboam (v. 29; cf. 1 Kings 14:20). Outwardly speaking his rule might have been successful. God, however, does not judge success as do men.

From God’s perspective Ahab was a spiritual failure. The inspired historian says that Ahab “did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him” (v. 30; cf. v. 33). Ahab was an overachiever in wickedness.

His spiritual duplicity is described in an intriguing way in in v. 31: “And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam….” There follows a catalogue of his failures including taking as his wife the Baal worshipping Jezebel (v. 31). Ahab even built a temple for Baal in Samaria (v. 32). In this he was an anti-Solomon. Solomon built the house of the LORD (the temple) in Jerusalem; Ahab built the house of Baal in Samaria.

In 1 Corinthians 10:11 the apostle Paul reflected on all the events recorded in the Old Testament: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [types]: and they are written for our admonition….”

What are we meant to learn from Ahab and these other evil kings?

Perhaps we might consider these questions:

What does it mean to walk in the ways of Jeroboam [false worship]?

Who judges the success of a man’s life?

Has it ever been a light thing for you to walk in sin?

Have you unequally yoked yourself with unbelievers (cf. 2 Cor 6:14)?

Have you set up a house of Baal?

Reading 1 Kings 16 ought to remind the Christian that his only hope is the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 10:10 he declared: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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