Summary: A sermon that teaches that there are consequences to all our beliefs and behaviors.
"The High Price of Low Living"
1 Kings 21:20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found thee: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
INTRODUCTION: This makes the third message from 1 Kings that I have been led God to preach and it has some important life lessons that I believe He wants to teach us from these scriptures. The story of the life of Ahab can be summed up in one verse that we find in this chapter. In verse 25 is says of this man: 1 Kings 21:25 "But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. This is a case where the old clique holds true: "People get the leadership they deserve." The Bible makes it plain that Ahab was the wickedest king in all of the history of the people of Israel. He has no equal in terms of the evil that he did and the influence for bad that he had upon the national life of God's chosen people. We are also told that his wife Jezebel was a very negative influence on her husband. She was the daughter of a king who was also known for his evil deeds. In this case the old saying that, "The apple didn't fall far from the tree," is appropriate. The point from today's lesson is that all belief and behavior has consequences whether it is for good or for evil. In the case of Ahab and Jezebel, evil behavior brought negative consequences for them and their descendants. The first thing that we notice as we study the lives of this couple is their:
I. THE REBELLION FROM THE LORD
1 Kings 16:31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.
32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.
While we have no surviving Canaanite religious texts, the accounts of Baal worship in the Old Testament correspond closely to the existing versions of the Baal myth and what we know of religious practices in surrounding areas. The influence of this religious system on Israel can hardly be overestimated. This myth is more explicitly concerned with fertility, specifically cast in terms of human sexuality. Worship of Baal involved imitative magic, the performance of rituals, including sacred prostitution, which were understood to bring vitality to Baal.
Dr. R. G. Lee describes Ahab as a "toad" and Jezebel as a "viper" sitting upon the throne of Northern Israel. Nothing typifies this rotten couple any more than the murder of Naboth which takes place in 1 Kings 21:1-28. The tragedy of Naboth and his vineyard reveals how despicable a woman like Jezebel was. Life was cheap to this woman who had murder in her veins. He father before her had murdered his predecessor and it should not be surprising to us that this woman would involve herself in murder, mayhem and massacre! Later on her corrupting influence is displayed in the lives of her offspring.
II. THE REVELATION FROM THE LORD
a. The prophet
God calls Elijah to go and pronounce his judgment in 1 Kings 21:17-19a. By the way this is the same man that fled from the threats of Jezebel but God found His man and has brought him back out of retirement to a time of renewed usefulness.
b. The potentates
For Ahab... "Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine."
For Jezebel... "(1Ki 21:23) And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
c. The posterity
1 Kings 21:21 Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,
22 And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin.
III. THE RECKONING FROM THE LORD
a. The timing of God's judgment