Wicked King Ahab Finds Mercy
May 21 - Nº 141 1 Kings 21
A man named Naboth owned a vineyard in Jezreel close to the palace of Ahab the king. Ahab decided he wanted to buy the vineyard and plant a vegetable garden for himself. He offered to pay full value for it in silver or buy Naboth a better vineyard somewhere else. But Naboth refused his offers. He said, “No, I can’t sell my vineyard. It is an inheritance that has been in my family for generations.” This made the king angry. He went home and sulked and refused to eat anything. He became so depressed that he wouldn’t get out of bed. Queen Jezebel approached him and asked what was wrong. He told her that Naboth had refused to sell him the property that he wanted so badly. “Is this how the King of Israel should act?”, she challenged him. “Get up! Cheer up! And eat something! I will get you the vineyard you want!” Jezebel immediately wrote letters, signing them with Ahab’s name and using his official seal. Then she sent them to the elders and officers of the city. The letters said: “Proclaim a special day and seat Naboth in a place of honor. Then seat two dishonest people opposite him. Have them swear that they heard him curse both God and the king. Then remove Naboth and have him stoned to death.” The city leaders did exactly what the official letters demanded. Two scoundrels accused Naboth of treason in front of all the people. As soon as they heard the accusations, the townspeople took him outside the city and stoned him to death. Then the officials sent word to Jezebel, “Naboth is dead!” Jezebel went to the king and declared, “Get up and take possession of the vineyard you wanted. Naboth is dead, so it is yours.” Ahab left immediately. He was excited to visit his new property. God came to Elijah and said, “King Ahab just stole Naboth’s property. Go immediately and meet him at the vineyard.” Elijah was to tell the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You murdered a man and seized his property. In the same place where dogs are now licking his blood, they will soon lick yours!’” Elijah went and found Ahab at Naboth’s vineyard. When the king saw Elijah coming, he said, “So you found me, my enemy!” “Yes, I found you,” Elijah responded. “I found you because you did an evil thing, and God sent me to inform you of your punishment. He is going to bring disaster on you! First, dogs will eat the body of your wife Jezebel. Then your entire family will be eliminated from the earth. Your punishment will be just like the one Jeroboam received” (see #134 - May 14). When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth, and began to fast. He became very humble. Even though Ahab was a selfish, evil king who led the Israelites deep into sin, God had mercy on him. He saw how repentant Ahab had become, so He sent word to Elijah: “Ahab is truly sorry for what he has done. Therefore, I won’t destroy his family until after he is dead. The punishment will take place when his son is king.”
God always leans toward mercy instead of punishment! There is nothing we can do that is too stupid or sinful for God to forgive—if we are willing to repent! It is only because of His mercy that we can have a relationship with God.