God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Friday, June 28, 2013

June 28 - 1 Kings 20-21: God Punishes a Non-Chosen Person, Forgives an Evil King

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 20-21

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God doesn't protect Israel. God punishes Ben-Hadad. Israel benefits from God's punishment of Ben-Hadad.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Ben-Hadad wanted Ahab's wives, children, gold, and silver. Ahab refused. Ben-Hadad attacked. God protected Israel to show Ahab His Name.
Ben-Hadad's advisors suggested that God was the god of the mountains and not the plains.
God informed Ahab Ben-Hadad would be shown God's power. Over 127,000 of Ben-Hadad's soldiers died.
Ahab allowed Ben-Hadad to live. God told Ahab he would die instead.
Ahab wanted Naboth's vineyard. Naboth wouldn't sell. Jezebel had Naboth stoned to death unjustly. Ahab took Naboth's vineyard. Elijah told Ahab that his entire family's corpses would be torn by dogs. Ahab repented and God delayed the punishment.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God protected Israel because Ben-Hadad questioned His Power.

Wednesday and Thursday we read of the wickedness of Ahab and Jezebel. They did not repent and come back to God before these events happened. Instead, God punished Ben-Hadad for questioning God's power, "Because Aram said, 'God is a god of the mountains and not a god of the valleys,' I'll hand over this huge mob of an army to you. Then you'll know that I am God" (20:28, The Message). God will protect His Name even when His Chosen People are not willing to claim it.
What does this mean for us today? It doesn't matter how righteous God's Chosen People are. If someone doubts God, God will defend Himself. We should not feel beholden to come to God's defense anytime someone ignores/goes against/mocks God's Way. Instead, we should know that God is god and rely on Him to repay. We defend our hope, not our God.

Ahab did not consult God before allowing Ben-Hadad to escape.

The prophet came and notified Ahab that his life would be substituted for Ben-Hadad's. God had judged Ben-Hadad's heart and found it against Him and His Chosen People. Ahab instead listened to his advisors instead of consulting God. God's Chosen People should allow God to direct important decisions.

Ahab could have had a very different life had he found godly people to be around.

Ahab is not the monster I thought he was before reading this passage. He wanted Naboth's vineyard but was not willing to kill for it. Jezebel mocked him for being weak, took it upon herself to forge documents to have Naboth killed, and then told Ahab to take the vineyard. Had Ahab not married Jezebel he could—could, not would—have had a very different life. Remove those who do not want to set things right for God from your life.

God delayed Ahab's punishment because he repented.

Ahab infuriated God more than any other king. God came and told Ahab because of his sin in taking Naboth's vineyard not only would his son not be king, not only would they all be killed, their bodies would be desecrated by the most dirty of creatures (for them), dogs. For Ahab, this proved too much to bear. He could no longer deny God's Authority. So he repented. God delayed punishment for this evil, morally-weak, feckless king. God's punishment is great. God's willingness to forgive is even greater.

Do you believe God can forgive you?

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