Summary: God came to Ahab through a prophet to give him a word of promise, a word of caution and a word of assurance.
In the last 3 chapters of 1 Kings, the author highlighted some incidents in Ahab’s reign.
• It shows the failures of King Ahab. He failed, not because God has given up on him; Ahab has chosen to ignore God.
• We see Ahab’s repeated rejection of God’s Word, given through the prophets. It is not that God did not speak; he chose to ignore His Word.
We are going to look at an incident in 1 Kings 20. It is a battle with the King of Aram (Syria), Ben-Hadad. We do not know when exactly this happened.
Read 1 Kings 20:1-12.
Ben-hadad, the King of Aram (Syria, NE), has infiltrated the land of Israel all the way to Samaria, the capital. King Ahab was under siege.
• Ben-Hadad had gathered a coalition of 32 kings, the tribal groups surrounding the region. He has a formidable force.
• 20:3 - He imposes his terms: “Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.”
Ahab was outnumbered and helpless. He submitted promptly: “Yes, they all belongs to you.”
• He thought that would make Israel a vassal state and himself a puppet king. That was quite acceptable.
• But it was too simple for Ben-Hadad. He wasn’t satisfied with a YES so quickly and taunt him a second time (20:5-6).
• “I am going to send my officials and they are going to empty your palace and you're your officials’ houses. I will seize everything.”
His first demand was tame. His second one was an invasion.
• Ahab refused to submit, and with that, Ben-Hadad declared war with Israel.
• 20:10 Ben-Hadad sent message to Ahab: "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful."
• Implied that he has so many men that to distribute the dust remains of Samaria to each one wouldn’t be enough. He threatened to level the city.
Ahab was clearly powerless. Yet into this helpless situation came a prophet of God.
• This nameless prophet appeared three times in the course of this battle and delivered God’s Word. I named them the three words from God.
Read 1 Kings 20:13-21. THE WORD OF PROMISE.
20:13 - Meanwhile (And behold! Suddenly!) a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, "This is what the LORD says: `Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the LORD.'"
• Out of the blue, a prophet appeared. He has a Word from God. God stepped in, for the sake of His people.
• The prophet came unsolicited. Ahab did not seek him out nor was he even seeking God’s help.
• The unnamed prophet took the initiative and came with a word of HOPE from God!
So far we have been hearing what Ben-Hadad says. Ahab has been hearing his words.
• 20:2 “This is what Ben-Hadad says…”
• 20:5 “The messengers came again and said, ‘This is what Ben-Hadad says…”
• And now the prophet said, “This is what the Lord says…” (20:13) and then again 20:14 “This is what the Lord says…”
Our common experience, right? This is what man says, and this is what God says.
• Whose word carries the day? At the end of the day, which one holds true?
• Would it be the arrogant words of Ben-Hadad or the sure Word of the Lord?
• God’s Word determines history. Never mind what man says.
The Lord says, “Do you see this vast army?” (20:13) Even the Lord agrees that the enemy’s army is great. Yet “I will give IT into your hand today!”
• The enemy is great but God is greater! Their strength is mighty but the power of God is even mightier.
A church was doing spring cleaning and volunteers come with their own vacuum cleaners. A brother came late and when he entered the sanctuary, he saw 7-8 pp already there with their cleaners doing the work. He found a corner and joined in.
He was happily vacuum cleaning the place for 15min before he realised that nothing was sucked in. It wasn’t working. The plug was faulty and he has no power.
Yet he was happily doing it for 15min because of the noise of the other cleaners. Lots of noise but no power. That’s the Arameans.
The Lord says, “I will give it into your hand today and then you will know that I am the Lord.”
• When the victory comes, no one needs to guess WHO did it. God did it!
• True to God’s promise, Israel had a smashing victory (20:19-21).
The prophet appeared a second time, this time giving a WORD OF CAUTION.