Summary: This sermon looks at the spoiled nature of Ahab and contrast that with Naboth who was a man of integrity and priciples.
In a 2001 Times Magizine cover article entilted, “Power Struggle-whose in charge” and in this article, a vivid example of a somewhat epidemic was given. It reads: Here is a parenting parable for our age. Carla Wagner, 17, of Coral Gables, Fla., spent the afternoon drinking the tequila she charged on her American Express Gold Card before speeding off in her high-performance Audi A4. She was dialing her cell phone when she ran over Helen Marie Witty, a 16-year-old honor student who was out Rollerblading. Charged with drunken driving and manslaughter, Carla was given a trial date — at which point her parents asked the judge whether it would be O.K. if Carla went ahead and spent the summer in Paris, as she usually does.”
Spoiled rotten! We see it all the time. Whether it’s the temper tantrum thrown at Wal-Mart, the teenager on TV yelling at his parents, we seem to have a million Nelly Olsons out there, and each of them demanding they get what they want when they want it. Now as bad as a spoiled kid may be, there’s something far worse, and that is a spoiled adult, especially a spoiled adult in a position of power. Ahab was one such person, he was spoiled through and through, and what he saw he wanted, and Lord have mercy on anyone who stood in his way.
Now as we start this text, we’re going to find that Ahab is like many of us in that he wanted something he couldn’t have. Look at vs. 1-2, “1 Some time later there was an incident involving a vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 Ahab said to Naboth, "Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth."
Now this must have been a beautiful vineyard, and it was right next to the summer home of Ahab, only problem was is that it wasn’t his. But hey, that’s really no problem, because Ahab was a powerful man, and Ahab always got what Ahab wanted. Ahab was used to just snapping his fingers, and people running to answer his request. Much in the same way as a celebrity might make some crazy request yet they always seem to get answered. I found out this week that in her contracts, Christina Aguilerra demands that she has a police escort to and from each event, because she doesn’t like to wait in traffic. Pop star Jennifer Lopez, better known as J-Lo, I think I’m going to shorten my name to B-Ro, was going to do a charity event for the victims of 9/11, but in her contract she demanded that prior to the diva’s arrival, there will be in place a white Room, with white flowers, white tablecloth, white candles, white couches, and then she had to have certain music cd’s available, I’m not sure what they were but I’m guessing Barry White was somewhere on there. No matter how crazy the request, if you’re used to every person doing exactly what you told them to do, then you become used to getting what you want, no matter what it is.
So imagine the horror on Ahab’s face when Naboth says…”No, you can’t have it!” In fact, Naboth goes further, look at vs. 3, “But Naboth replied, "The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers." Naboth’s actions were not prompted by monetary considerations, but by biblical principles. When God gave the land of Canaan to Israel, He divided it among the tribes of Israel. Given the nature of men, the land (like money) would have tended to accumulate into the hands of the few. And so the rich would get richer, and the poor would get poorer. God set down some very specific laws in Leviticus 25:8-17, 23-34 and Deuteronomy 25:5-10. These laws prevented the land from permanently changing hands, outside the family or tribe to which it was allotted. Because of these laws, Naboth knew that he could not sell or trade his land. It was not just that Naboth was being unreasonable; this was something he could not do, according to the law, and thus it was something he would not do, even if the king made him a deal that was tempting.
Let’s give Naboth a lot of credit here, no only is here refusing a tempting offer, but remember this is an offer from a ruthless tyrannical dictator. Yet Naboth wasn’t about to budge because Naboth was a man driven by Principles. You see, no matter how tempting the offer was, Naboth had to refuse because God said so. And Naboth had made up in his mind that he would be obedient to God’s law, and everything else would come 2nd.