Summary: God's justice is sure. God's mercy is great.
We read last week in 1 Kings 21 of a great injustice and cruelty.
• An innocent man Naboth, who owns a vineyard, was framed and murdered. And according to 2 Kings 9:26 all his sons were killed too.
• Queen Jezebel wanted to prevent any future claimants for the land.
King Ahab coveted his neighbour’s property. He has no real NEED for the vineyard. It was just want he wanted.
• The owner of the vineyard refused to part with the inheritance passed down from his ancestors.
• He was determined to keep to the Mosaic Law (Lev 25:23-28 and Num 36:7-9) – not to simply release their land that was designated for the respective tribe/family.
• Not only was Naboth not guilty of any crime, he was a God-honouring man.
But then Jezebel, King Ahab’s wicked wife, entered the scene. Why should the King be sad? “Cheer up. I will get you the vineyard.” (21:7)
• To the wicked, the King IS the law. He gets what he wants, anyway he wants it.
Jezebel goes into action. Using the King’s name she sends letters to the ELDERS AND NOBLES in Naboth’s town (21:8) with clear instructions.
• They proclaimed a community fast, set up a kangaroo court and appointed two false witnesses. It looked religious and legit.
• The charge? “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” (21:13)
And very quickly (the author seems to indicate), they bashed the innocent man to death (21:13). The case was closed.
• Just the reading of it makes you angry. This is INJUSTICE at its peak.
Injustice thrives because of two things – man’s WICKEDNESS and man’s WEAKNESS.
• The wickedness of Jezebel and the weaknesses of the elders and nobles.
• Jezebel’s scheme went on like clockwork. We read nothing of any protest or any attempted defence of Naboth from the ELDERS AND NOBLES from his town.
• Everyone played right along. No one took a stand. They feared the consequence.
At the end of verse 16, everything was well wrapped up. The perfect crime has been carried out.
• Naboth was dead. The court has reached its twisted verdict. And Jezebel congratulating herself for a clean job.
• She informed Ahab and the King “got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.” (21:16)
The case file is closed, in the eyes of all these people. But not so with God.
• The case has just begun. God, the true Judge, appeared. Verse 17 becomes the most important verse in this passage.
• God pronounces His verdict – the only true and righteous judgement of the case.
Read 1 Kings 21:17-26. GOD’S JUSTICE IS SURE.
Someone has been watching. The Lord knows everything. Man covers up, God exposes.
• JESUS: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 3What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Luke 12:2-3)
God intervenes and He judges. He comes to His prophet and instructs him what to do. (It seems like Elijah didn’t know what has happened until God said it.)
• God knows where Ahab has gone to, He knows about the vineyard. He knows the name of its owner. He knows that his property has been seized and he has been murdered.
• God charges Ahab for the double crime – seizing someone’s property and killing him.
No one is exempt from the scrutiny of God and the judgement of God, not even the King (or the Queen). No one can get away with it.
• Prophet Elijah, being the bearer of the Word of God, stands above and over the King. He pronounces God’s judgement, not to discuss with him.
• No one, whatever his status or stature, can escape God’s jurisdiction. Wherever he is, God will find him. “I have found you”, Elijah said (21:20)
• ELIJAH: “Surprise, surprise! You didn’t expect me to find you here right, in Naboth’s vineyard!”
GOD’S JUSTICE IS SURE. That’s the truth and that’s our comfort today, especially so when we see the injustices around us.
• God is just and He judges. We can be sure of this. It is unjust of Him not to punish evil and wrongs.
• But there are lingering questions. We don't always see it happening.
Look here. Naboth has died. He was killed, and God did not “prevent” it.
• Why was God’s justice so late in coming? Why didn’t He judge Jezebel before she could kill Naboth and his sons?
• This is the mystery of God’s dealing with men that we see in the Bible. We don’t always understand the ways of God - the HOW things are done, WHEN it is done and even WHY. There are many WHYs in the Bible.