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  • Gwen Diaz

140 - Ahab Won't Let God Finish the Job

May 20 - Nº 140 1 Kings 20

Benhadad, the king of Syria, kept raiding cities in Israel (see #136 - May 16). As he began marching toward the palace in Samaria, he sent this message to King Ahab: “To avoid destruction, give me your silver and gold and your wives and children.” The king of Israel quickly agreed. Then the king of Syria sent another message. “Tomorrow you must let my men raid your palace and the houses of your officials and take anything they want.” This time Ahab met with the leaders of Israel and told them what the Syrian king was demanding. The elders advised him not to give in to any of Benhadad’s demands. When King Ahab relayed this through the Syrian messengers, Benhadad became very angry. He said, “I will totally destroy Samaria! When I am finished, it will only be pile of dust.” Then he and his officials went off to get drunk! As Ahab prepared to fight the Syrians, a prophet of God came to him and said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Do you see this big army? I will give you victory over them so you will know that I am the Lord.’” Ahab was surprised. “But who will do this?” he wanted to know. “Your army will fight, and you will lead them,” the prophet replied. Benhadad was still hung over from the night before when he got word that Ahab and his army were marching toward him. The Israelites crushed the Syrian army and King Benhadad barely escaped back to his own country. The prophet returned to Ahab and said, “Get ready. They’ll be back to fight you next spring.” And that is exactly what happened. But this time, the Syrians decided to fight the Israelites in the valley. They figured that the Israelites had won because their God must be “the god of the mountains,” and the previous battle had taken place on the slopes. But once again the Syrian army was crushed! One hundred thousand of their troops died in the valley, and another 27,000 were killed in a city when a wall fell on them as they retreated. King Benhadad ran home and hid in a closet. Finally, his officials convinced him to humble himself and beg for mercy from the king of Israel. Later, the two kings met, but instead of destroying his enemy as God wanted him to, King Ahab made an agreement with him. God was not happy, so He gave another prophet a strange task. He told the prophet to ask one of his companions to hit him and injure him. Then the prophet was told to wrap the wound with bandages and stand beside the road. When Ahab came by, the prophet yelled, “Your Majesty, during the battle I was paid to guard a prisoner. I was told I would be killed if he got away. But I got distracted and he escaped. Look what happened to me!” “You, fool,” Ahab yelled back. “You got what you deserved.” The prophet quickly took off the bandages and revealed who he was. He said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘You let the king of Syria escape when I said he should die. Now you will die in his place! And your people will suffer instead of his.’

Do certain sins keep coming back to tempt you? God wants to give you complete victory over them no matter how big or small they are. Don’t be like King Ahab. God gave him miraculous victories, yet he never allowed God to completely annihilate his enemies! (Syria continues to harass Israel even today!)

140 - A Wounded Prophet
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